Brookdale facing great expectations

first_img Jersey Blues reached national finals for first time BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer FARRAH MAFFAI staff Kelvin DeLosAngeles is among the players returning to Brookdale’s men’s basketball team as the Jersey Blues enter the season looking to build on last season’s success. It’s a new year at Brookdale, but the effects of last year’s trip to the national championships are still having an impact. Head coach Paul Cisek has five players returning from the 29-5 squad that made the school’s first trip to Division III National Junior College Athletic Association national championships, where the Blues finished fourth in the nation. That success made for a very good recruiting season. Cisek has a number of talented freshmen who are ready to make an impact now. “We should be OK,” said Cisek. “We’re real young. The negative about young teams is that you want to see who will be the leaders. “Last year, we had a core group that had been together for two years,” he added. “We have to be cautious not to expect too much. We had an experienced team last year. ” Another direct result of last year’s national tournament appearance is the national recognition that came with it. In the pre-season national rankings, the Jersey Blues were No. 4. “We’re very optimistic,” noted Cisek. “Are we the No. 4 team in the country? No. We have to earn that spot.” All-Region center Miguel Rodriquez is the centerpiece of the 2003-04 Jersey Blues. The 6-foot-6 pivotman from Passaic is unlike any player the Blues have had under Cisek. He’s an athletic big-man who has an impact on both ends of the floor. He led the nation in rebounding last year, averaging 15.5 per game. Add to that his shot-blocking ability, and the Blues have control of the paint. That control carries over to the offense, where he scores in double figures. With the addition of more big men to take the rebounding load off him this year, Cisek said, teams will see a more complete player. “Miguel is bigger and stronger this year,” said Cisek. “He’s our backbone. What he brings to the table is, number one, rebounding, and number two, because we are a bigger team this year, you’ll see the finesse part of his game. He’s added a 10- to 14-foot jumper.” Rodriquez is one of the five veterans returning from last year’s national championship tournament team. Kelvin DeLosAngeles, Joe Leone, Nick Aldiero and Andrew Sigrist are the other returning sophomores who each made contributions during 2002-03. “They are a pretty nice nucleus to build around,” said Cisek. DeLosAngeles, out of Perth Amboy, was the team’s sixth man last year. He could easily have been a starter, and this year, the 6-foot-3 guard will do just that. Leone, from Middletown North, is a 6-foot-4 forward who was the second player off the bench and figured prominently in the team’s rotation. Howell grad Aldiero was the backup point guard and knows the system, while Sigrist, out of Manasquan, came on strong at the end of the season. By themselves, this quintet would be solid, but when the newcomers are added, the Blues become a very strong team. Among the large freshman glass, Red Bank Regional grad Devin Davis, New Brunswick’s Jamal Jenkins and Neptune’s Jerome Hubbard are the top recruits. Hubbard is a 6-foot-2 point guard who can shoot the three, pass and penetrate. He’s an outstanding ball handler as well. He has the complete game, according to Cisek, and will be in the starting lineup. Jenkins will be starting as well. The 6-foot-4 forward runs the floor well and is one of the reasons Brookdale’s top strength this year will be rebounding. Other key freshmen are Dennys Gomez, a guard out of Perth Amboy; Paul Butler, an athletic guard/forward out of Passaic; and Troy Robin, a versatile, 6-foot-4 center/forward, who adds to the team’s rebounding. Rounding out the Blues are Anthony Liguori (Bloomfield Tech), Kevin Schuster (Neptune) and Jamal Slappy (Paterson Catholic). There’s a lot for Cisek and assistant coach Charlie Hawthorne to like about this year’s Jersey Blues. “Our strengths are: number one, rebounding,” Cisek explained. “Number two, we’re an athletic team. We have speed, and our big players are quick and agile. We’ll be pressing and trapping teams. Number three, they pick up things very quickly.” There’s one other important plus — depth. Cisek has more overall talent than ever. “I will go 10 or 11 deep,” said Cisek. “I used to go seven or eight deep. We can have a big line-up of [tall players]. I can also go small and pressure teams.” The Jersey Blues got their campaign off impressively on Dec. 2, when they beat Atlantic Cape, 93-76. Cisek played everyone on his roster in the romp. Rodriquez showed off his new offensive repertoire, leading the way with 24 points. Hubbard’s debut saw him netting 21 and sinking six threes. Brookdale will be hosting the Brookdale Tournament this weekend. On Saturday, the Jersey Blues will take on Hostos (Bronxville, N.Y.) at 1 p.m., followed at 3 p.m. with the TCI-Essex tilt. On Sunday, the losers will play the consolation game at 1 p.m., followed by the championship game at 3 p.m. On Tuesday, the Blues will host Burlington in a Garden State Athletic Conference and Region XIX game. Like last season, BCC will travel to Florida over the holidays to test themselves against junior college powers from the Sunshine State. The Jersey Blues did it last year, and playing against high-caliber competition helped set them up for their championship run later in the season. Jersey Bluesreached national finalsfor first time BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer last_img read more

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Matawan/Aberdeen 12s are on a roll this season

first_imgThe Matawan/Aberdeen Babe Ruth League’s 12-year-old all-star team used strong pitching and defense to win a pair of tournaments in July. Manager Patrick Egan’s squad won tournaments in both Hazlet and Matawan, going 9-3 overall in three tournaments. The Matawan/Aberdeen squad also competed in an 80-team tourney in Cooperstown, N.Y., this past week, where they went 4-6. After going 2-5 in the seeding portion of the even, Egan’s team then won the first two rounds of the playoffs before bowing out. “Winning two out of three of our local tournaments isn’t too bad,” Egan said. “The team played well and I think everyone had a lot of fun, particularly up in Cooperstown.” The team’s top pitchers include Pat Egan, Robert Fisher, Christian Knox and Kyle Rean. Ben Sawyer and the younger Egan are the big guns at the plate, while the steady glove work of Knox, Vincent Ladorraca and Curtis Hopkins solidified the defense. Other members of the team included Stephen Buccellatto, Andrew Lazar, Connor McNamara, Patrick O’Donnell and David Costello. Jared Allison, Vincent Manzella and Ken Santimauro joined the team for the Cooperstown trip. The coaching staff includes Marvin Hopkins, Tom Knox, Rick Rean and John Santimauro.last_img read more

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CBA’s Werner is Shore Coaches Player of the Year

first_imgHost of local stars recognized for their exploits BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer CBA’s Dan Werner is among the top players in Shore Conference history, making him the easy choice for the Shore’s Player of the Year. Christian Brothers Academy’s all-everything Dan Werner was the boys Player of the Year. Rumson-Fair Haven’s Caitlin Hyduke, who led the Bulldogs to the NJSIAA State Group II championship this winter, was named by the Shore Basketball Coaches as Player of the Year for the girls. Hyduke topped the All-Shore First Team, joined by Red Bank Catholic’s Kristina Danella, Pinelands’ Jackie Berry, Monmouth’s Kristen Dalton and Manasquan’s Nichole Hawkins. Second Team honors went to Colts Neck’s Cat Cristino, Howell’s Ali Goldsmith, Jackson’s Justine Stevenson and St. John Vianney’s Alisa Apo. Joining Werner on the boys First Team were: Matt Mullery, St. John Vianney; Randall Stallworth, Monsignor Donovan; Jason Westrol, Manasquan; and Jay Frank, Brick Memorial. Freehold Borough’s Tom Weldon heads up the Second Team with Wall’s John Reed, CBA’s Tim Andree, Monsignor Donovan’s James Shinn and Freehold Township’s T.J. LaFalce. Monsignor Donovan’s Mike Kearney was the boys Coach of the Year, while the girls Coach of the Year was split between George Sourlis, of Rumson, Dawn Karpell of Holmdel and Joe Montano of RBC. The Shore Coaches also announced their all-division teams for 2005-06. In A North, Goldsmith, Anat Sibony of Marlboro, and Middletown South’s Sheal Taggat, Brittany Hoffman and Michele Whalen made up the First Team. Second Team recognition went to Howell’s Colleen Thomas and Brianne Lavin, Freehold Township’s Emily Fixter, Ocean’s Victoria Webber and Middletown South’s Shawna Hagen. Hyduke tops the A Central First Team with Hawkins, Apo, Danella and Manasquan’s Ryan McGrath, rounding out the First Team. Second Team players were: Dawn Martorelli, Holmdel; Kristin Coppolina, RBC; Jenna Strich, RBC; Kate Miller, Rumson; Mary Kate Duggan, Manasquan; Kim Fiorrentino, Holmdel; and Paige Armstrong, Rumson. A South First Team was led by Jackson’s Stevenson who was joined by teammate Danielle Mickiewicz; Lori Lidlow, Toms River North; and Olivia Tromm and April Smith, Southern. Second Team recognition went to Michelle Harder and Alexandra Detata, Brick; Leslie Macchiaverna and Jazmine Fair, Toms River East; and Tara Hansen, Toms River South. Dalton and Cristino topped the B North First Team joined by Christine Kilmurray, Wall; Sharees Richardson, Neptune; and Brittney Powell, Monmouth Regional. Holly Jones, Colts Neck; Alyssa Mayrose and Shannon Mayrose, Freehold Borough; Tia Curtis, Monmouth; Brie Moran, Red Bank Regional; and Cyialece Davis, Neptune, were the Second Team selections. Ryan Killeen, Mater Dei; Olivia Triano, Keyport; Faith Flannery, Keansburg; Katie Brunck, Pt. Pleasant Beach; and Chrissy Zrowka, St. Rose, were the B Central First Team selections. Earning Second Team honors were: Lauen Florio, Mater Dei; Lauren Crehan and Kelly Clark, St. Rose; Kelly Draper, Shore; Pauline Robinson, Pt. Pleasant Beach; and Sabrina Kemp, Keyport. Pinelands All-Shore First Team pick Berry tops the B South First Team. Kristen Haycock, Pt. Pleasant Boro; Alexis Valmon, Manchester; Meagan Lambros, Central; and Natalie Garbie, Monsignor Donovan round out the First Team. Amanda Malkiewicz, Lacey; Stephanie Campbell, Lakewood; Orriana Smith, Central; Cherrika Minnigan and Camille Valmon, Manchester; and Lisa Stanek, Monsignor Donovan, were Second Team selections. Werner and LaFalce headline the boys A North First Team. CBA’s Tim Andree, Middletown North’s Chris Misiaszek and Freehold Township’s Marcus Roberson were the other First Team selections. The Second Team consists of Ed Fischer and Damian Csakai, Freehold Township; Jason Goldheimmer, Manalapan; and Derek Becker, CBA. Westrol and Mullery head the A Central First Team with Manasquan’s Derrick Fetzer, Rumson’s Phil Conover and Raritan’s Dave Lonay. Will Martell, Rumson; Andrew Stein, Holmdel; Will Atkinson, Raritan; and Matt Genevieve and Eric Johannesen, SJV, make up the Second Team. In A South, Brick Memorial’s tandem of Jay Frank and James Cherrick lead the First Team, which includes Tyler Fox, Toms River East; Mike Gawronski, Brick; and Brett Behrnes, Southern. Second Team honors went to Kimani Brown and Charles Kelly, Toms River North; Rob Urie and Anthony Hudak, Toms River East; Mike Lepore, Brick Memorial; and F.J. Luchetti, Brick. Freehold Borough’s Weldon tops the B North First Team along with Brian Baker, Colts Neck; Gary Foster, Neptune; John Reed, Wall; and Kyle Fitzgerald, Red Bank Regional. Freehold’s Craig Schultz and James Whal, Colts Neck’s Sal Salvati, Neptune’s Mike Ogelsby and Red Bank’s Casey Peters were the Second Team picks. In B Central, Anthony Ranaudo, St. Rose; Eric Lenahan, Pt. Pleasant Beach; Marquis Drayton, Asbury Park; Gary Knoeppel, Shore; and Rob Oftedal, Keansburg were the First Team selections. Making up the Second Team were: Nyran Smith, Asbury Park; Bill Walsh, Mater Dei; Chris Lehman, Shore; Andrew Carusutto, Keansburg; and Tyler Reinhard, Henry Hudson. Monsignor Donovan teammates Stallworth and Shinn top the B South First Team that includes Sean Hughes and Trevor Tonkovch, Pt. Pleasant Boro, and Central’s Brian Melanson. Second Team members are: Sean McAndrew, Lacey; Rondell Proctor, Lakewood; Terrell Lee, Manchester; Kyle Miliana, Monsignor Donovan; and Ibn Moye, Central. The girls Division Coaches of the Year were: Tom Brennan, Middletown South, A North; Rachel Goodale, Jackson, A South; Sourlis, A Central; Alison MacFarland, Freehold Borough, B North; Darren Ault, Mater Dei, B Central; and Vinnie Tralka, Pinelands, B South. The boys Division Coach of the Year winners were: Wil Mayer, Middletown North, A North; Ron Gerlufsen, Brick Memorial, A South; Dave Emery, St. John Vianney, A Central; Brian Donahue, Freehold Borough, B North; Bob Klatt, Mater Dei, B Central; and Kearney, B South.last_img read more

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Hawk softball team has bright future

first_img BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent When Louie Berndt took over as head coach of the Monmouth University (MU) women’s softball team prior to the season, there was certain buzz surrounding the future of the program. Apparently, the future is now. Following a 30-18 season that included a trip to the Northeast Conference Tournament (NEC) finals, the Hawks have emerged as one of the conference’s stronger teams. And with just two players graduating, there’s reason to believe MU will be back in the title hunt next season. Granted, the graduating seniors — catcher Jessica Nicola (of Sayreville) and second baseman Alexa Ferrara (of West Caldwell) — will be sorely missed. In addition to serving as the team leaders for a relatively young squad, Nicola and Ferrara 62 RBIs combined (31 each) and 56 runs scored. Ferrara was also one of two Hawks to earn First Team All-NEC honors, along with junior outfielder Emily de- Long. Both players were also all-conference picks in 2009. While the Hawks will return plenty of firepower next season, Berndt knows that the leadership provided by her two departing seniors will be difficult to replace. “Jess was our general on the field and controlled a very young infield and the pitching staff,” the coach said. “She [came] up with key hits and [did] a great job calling the game. Lex is a workhorse who is a solid infielder. “Between the two of them and their leadership and hard work, they have raised the bar for the young kids to come out and play hard,” added Berndt. “It is going to be hard to replace those two.” While deLong was certainly the Hawks’ premier offensive player, hitting .348 with eight home runs, Monmouth had a quartet of newcomers who proved to be ready for the collegiate level. Freshman first baseman Kayle Weiser (of Vandergrift, Pa.) ranked third on the team with a .325 batting average and led the way with 34 RBIs. Colts Neck High School’s Kate Kuzma came up big in some key spots, driving home 19 runs on the year while playing a solid third base, while another freshman, shortstop Tish Derer (of Philadelphia), came on particularly strong in postseason play, hitting .444 in tournament play. Freshman left-fielder Christine Scherr (of Nazareth, Pa.) was also key in the Hawks’ emergence, scoring 38 runs out of the leadoff spot. Both Scherr and Kuzma earned Akadema/NEC Rookie of the Week honors this season. The Hawks’ pitching staff got stronger as the year went on as well, with junior Melissa Mehrer (of Florence) winning 16 games this year (good enough for Second Team All-NEC honors) and sophomore Lauren Sulick (of Canfield, Ohio) winning 14 and proving to be a big-game pitcher down the stretch, earning her a NEC All- Tournament Team selection. With both hurlers returning next season, MU will be among the better pitching teams in the conference once again. A closer look at the Hawks’ 2010 campaign illustrates just how much the team progressed under Berndt’s tutelage. The season began rather inauspiciously, with the Hawks losing seven of eight games in a Texas trip that saw them get outscored 62-20. However, whatever lessons they learned during that trip certainly paid dividends, as MU returned to New Jersey a vastly better team. “Texas was a huge learning process for all,” said Nicola. “We were learning how to play with each other; some of us were learning how to play other positions and others were just getting a feel for how the person next to them played.” The results spoke for themselves. Monmouth went on to post a 27-9 mark, including a gaudy 14-3 record on the road. In addition, their 15-4 mark in conference play was the third highest single-season league win total in program history. One of the more balanced teams in the NEC (Monmouth hit .291 as a team and pitched to a 2.35 ERA with seven shutouts), MU simply got better as the season wore on, making them a serious threat to win the NEC Tournament crown. This year’s run at a conference title ended in the tournament final. After beating third-seeded Quinnipiac, 6-0, in their opener, the Hawks then lost to top-seeded Long Island University (LIU), 7-2. They bounced back with a 5-4 win over Robert Morris, as deLong led the way with a three-run home run (her second roundtripper of the tournament) that put the Hawks on top for good. Sulick got the win for MU, improving to 14-6 on the year. That earned Monmouth a spot in the final game for the first time since 2001. But once again, they faced an LIU team that simply had their number, losing a 6-2 affair, despite playing the host team even through six innings. With the score tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, LIU’s Brynn Lewis launched a three-run home run, only to be followed by another dinger from Raylene Asman. Those home runs proved to be the difference, and the end to Monmouth’s season. Despite falling a win short of a championship, the Hawks had every reason to be excited about their 2010 season. When MU takes the field next spring, they will be anxious to pick up where they left off, and chase down that elusive NEC crown. Berndt came to Monmouth with the expectation of building a championshiplevel team that would challenge for the conference title on a yearly basis. There were plenty of people that believed she would be successful in that regard. But there couldn’t have been too many that expected it to happen so soon. MU reached NEC finals last_img read more

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Hawks’ Kinne is repeat First Team All-American

first_img Monmouth University men’s soccer standout Ryan Kinne (Naugatuck, Conn./Naugatuck High School) has been named to the 2010 NSCAA/Performance Subaru Men’s NCAA Division I All- America First Team, while teammate R.J. Allen (Old Bridge/St. Joseph High School) was named to the third team. This marks the second straight season that Kinne, who was the Hawks’ first All-American First Team selection in Monmouth history last year, has been named to the First Team, while Allen claims his first All-American honor. This season also marks the second straight year that the Monmouth men’s soccer team has placed two members on the NSCAAAll- American squad, as Kinne (First Team) and Daniel Bostock (Second Team) were honored in 2009. “I am really proud of these young men. This is a tremendous achievement for them both and also for our program,” said Monmouth head coach Robert McCourt in a press release from the university. “Their commitment, dedication and hard work have paid off and they are well-deserving of these awards.” Kinne, a Hermann Trophy semifinalist for the second straight season, was also named a 2010 College Soccer News First Team All- American pick. The Hawk midfield was also named to the NSCAA North Atlantic Region First Team for the third straight year. “This is such a special honor for Ryan, who has had a tremendous college career,” said McCourt. “To be recognized as a First Team All-American again is an amazing honor. I look forward to following Ryan’s career after Monmouth. He is one of the most decorated athletes I have ever coached.” Along with his All-America selections, Kinne earned his second straight Northeast Conference Player of the Year award. Kinne was the Hawks’ most consistent and dynamic offensive force this season, leading the team in goals (12), points (29) and game-winning goals (four), while tying for the team lead with five assists. The senior captain, who was ranked in the top 10 nationally in most major offensive categories all season, was also a three-time first-team all-league member. Allen, who claims his first All-American honor, earned his second consecutive NSCAA North Atlantic Region First Team accolade as well. He also earned All-NEC First Team accolades this season. An attacking defender, Allen scored two goals and added four assists this season. Allen, one of the team’s top allaround players, also helped lead a defense that ranked atop the league and among the best in the nation, allowing 0.70 goals per game. Monmouth is one of 10 schools to have more than one student-athlete on the All- American teams, joining North Carolina, California, Maryland, Akron, Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Louisville and Penn State. The players will be honored at the annual All-America Luncheon, to be held at the Hilton Baltimore Hotel on Saturday, Jan. 15, as part of the 2011 NSCAA Convention. Monmouth University’s Allen is Third Team pick last_img read more

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Eagles close football season at .500 with win over Lions

first_imgBy WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Beating Middletown High School North in the annual Thanksgiving game is incentive enough for Middletown High School South’s football team. However, the Eagles had even bigger motivation this season — avoiding the team’s first losing season in 29 years.They wasted no time pursuing the victory, defeating the Lions, 43-6, to finish the season with a 5-5 record. Senior running back Jeremy Concepcion led the offensive charge by scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 162 yards in the win.The Eagles, who ended a three-game losing streak, came off a 52-45 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV loss to Burlington Township High School, which scored the deciding touchdown on a passing play in the final minute.Senior quarterback Kyle Brey, whose mobility and throwing ability were major concerns for Middletown North’s first-year coach Steve Bush coming into the game, ran 15 yards for one touchdown and threw 62 yards to senior wide receiver Andrew Wisialko, whom Middletown South coach Steve Antonucci hailed as playing consistently well throughout the season because of his three years of experience as a starter.“[Brey] is like Ben Roethlisberger,” Antonucci said, comparing Brey to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback. “He extends plays all the time. He showed the ability to create something when it was not there, and [he] plays with confidence.”Pat Crowe, a junior defensive end, returned an interception at midfield for a touchdown for the Eagles’ defense.The Lions’ only score came on a long pass that was tipped and pulled in 10 yards downfield after Middletown South had put 30 points on the board.“With their running back coming back from an injury, they couldn’t run the ball the way they’re capable of and became one-dimensional,” Antonucci said.“Ending with the win was good for two things — for the senior class that had worked so hard, and for the younger guys for what we need to have success so they can win championships again and be competitive in the state tournament,” the coach added.Antonucci said he will miss the seniors, led by the superb play all season from Tayler Hendrickson, as well as linemen Connor Spreen and Jon Low, and running back Drew O’Connell.He has a bright crop of underclassmen returning to sharpen the Eagles’ bid in the Shore Conference A North Division, led by sophomore Matt Mosquero, the kicker who is expected to take over at quarterback for Brey after playing as his backup this season.Another returning player who highly impressed Antonucci is linebacker Dylan Rogers.“His upside is phenomenal. If he’s not all-conference this year, he will be in the future,” Antonucci said.Cole Rogers, Dylan’s twin brother, did well in his opportunities carrying the ball late in the season.Junior safety Nolan Peerless intercepted two Middletown North passes. End Joe Rutkowski and tackle Tim Wilson, both juniors, will also be part of the nucleus for next season.Bush also has a solid nucleus for next season at Middletown North. Sophomore running back Chad Freshnock, freshman quarterback Don Glenn, junior kicker Nick Banta, tight end/safety Troy Thompson, wide receiver/defensive back Jordan Pitts, defensive end Vin Doerhoeft, wide receiver Keshawn Williams and inside linebacker Dylan Hallard will be counted on to contribute. Freshman Dwight Williamson is also a bright prospect at cornerbackThe coach will need to replace four starters on the offensive line graduating this spring, including center John Quinn, tackles Jake Vini and Anthony Fabiano, and guard Angel Moran.Other seniors who stood out were wide receiver Jake Betkowski, linebacker Dan Napolitano and defensive back Brandon Piccini. Matt Casciano also saw ample action at wide receiver, while Felix Santana filled in when Freshnock was injured late in the season.last_img read more

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Ukraine moves US friendly to Cyprus

first_imgUkraine’s soccer friendly against the United States next month, scheduled to take place in Kharkiv, has been moved to Cyprus due to the unstable political situation, Ukraine’s football federation said on Tuesday.Soccer officials took into consideration the request of the US for the game on March 5 to be played outside Ukraine, a statement on the federation’s website said.Scores of people were killed in anti-government protests last week which led to the ousting of Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovich. The eastern city of Kharkiv is also experiencing political turbulence.The host city and kick-off time of the rescheduled game will be decided later.Ukraine’s Premier League is also considering whether to postpone the restart of the domestic championship after the winter break due to the political situation.last_img read more

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Moyes can restore tarnished reputation at Real Sociedad

first_imgBy Iain RogersNew Real Sociedad coach David Moyes faces a tough challenge to get the Basque club back on La Liga track but it is also a chance for the Scot to restore his reputation after a failed stint at Manchester United.Sociedad announced late on Monday Moyes, who has been without a club since he left United in April after less than a season in charge, had agreed to take over from the sacked Jagoba Arrasate on a contract until June 2016.He inherits a Sociedad side languishing in 15th place in La Liga after 11 matches and Sunday’s 2-1 win at home to champions Atletico Madrid, their first outing since Arrasate’s exit, was only their second victory of the campaign.Based in the seaside city of San Sebastian, Sociedad finished fourth in 2012-13 and qualified for the Champions League group stage, where they finished bottom of their pool.Last term they were seventh and secured a place in Europa League qualifying but were eliminated by Russian side FK Krasnodar.Sociedad, whose glory period came in the early 1980s, are typical of the group of second-rank Spanish top-flight sides attempting to compete with wealthy Real Madrid and Barcelona.Like many of their peers, they struggle to prevent their top players being lured away and the latest to depart wereFrance forward Antoine Griezmann to Atletico Madrid and Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to Barca.However, Sociedad retain a squad that is a mixture of experience and youthful promise and it would be little surprise if they secure a European berth again this term.Forward Carlos Vela is their standout performer and the Mexico international netted the equaliser in Sunday’s game against Atletico.The likes of captain Xabi Prieto, Markel Bergara and Esteban Granero are solid performers in midfield, while Sergio Canales and Ruben Pardo, also midfielders and in their early 20s, provide a creative spark.Up front is where Sociedad struggle, with only 12 La Liga goals scored this season, and the lack of a reliable goal scorer may prompt Moyes to dip into the January transfer window.The 51-year-old made his name during a successful spell at Everton before it was tarnished at United but if he can get Sociedad back into Europe it could be a springboard to bigger and better things.last_img read more

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Figo and Van Praag pull out of FIFA presidential race

first_imgBy Brian HomewoodFormer Portugal forward Luis Figo pulled out of the FIFA presidential election race on Thursday, hours after Dutchman Michael van Praag had also withdrawn.“My decision is made, I will not stand in what is being called an election for the FIFA presidency,” he said on his Facebook page.“After a personal reflection and sharing views with two other candidates in this process, I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in Zurich is not a normal electoral act. And because it is not, don’t count on me.”His decision left Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein as the only challenger to incumbent Sepp Blatter for the FIFA election.“There has not been a single public debate about each candidate’s proposals,” said the 42-year-old Figo in announcing his decision.“Does anyone think it’s normal that an election for one of the most relevant organisations on the planet can go ahead without a public debate?”“Does anyone think it’s normal that one of the candidates doesn’t even bother to present an election manifesto that can be voted on May 29,” he said referring to Blatter.“Shouldn’t it be mandatory to present such a manifesto so that federation presidents know what they’re voting for?“This electoral process is anything but an election.“This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man – something I refuse to go along with.“I do not fear the ballot box, but I will not go along with nor will I give my consent to a process which will end on May 29 and from which football will not emerge the winner.”He added: “I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires football to be free, clean and democratic.“I have seen with my own eyes federation presidents who, after one day comparing FIFA leaders to the devil, then go on stage and compare those same people with Jesus Christ.“Nobody told me about this. I saw it with my own eyes.”last_img read more

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