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SPORTS
July 6, 2014 | By Max Cohen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia Freedoms rookie Marcelo Melo is in the midst of a hectic few weeks. He played in four high-pressure men's doubles matches at Wimbledon this week, advancing to the quarterfinals of one of the most important tournaments in the sport. Just days later, the 30-year-old is preparing to play for the first time in World TeamTennis in a city that he has never been to. But neither of those challenges fazed him. Instead, the thing that has nearly made Melo crack has been watching his native Brazil compete in the World Cup. Melo followed Brazil's matches closely during Wimbledon.
NEWS
July 4, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
As Mitchell Torh dipped his hand into the cool waters of the river that separates Liberia from Ivory Coast, the young boy didn't understand the stakes: His family was escaping from a civil war raging in his native Liberia. In Torh's memory, the cost of the canoe trip across the Cavalla River was two bags of rice. That started a journey that included a decade in a refugee camp in Ghana - where he was separated from his family - and finally ended at a soccer field in Southwest Philadelphia.
NEWS
July 4, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Vlendy "Eric" Slueue does a lot of his work in a crowd. If he's free from the masses, and a soccer ball is at the Junior Lone Star midfielder's feet, his opponent may be in trouble. "People can't stop me one-on-one," Slueue said. "They can't. " In practice or in a game, the anticipation level rises when the ball finds Slueue. His turns and feints keep defenders off balance, setting up the next move. His best attribute? "I'm good with my left foot," Slueue said. A recent graduate of Bartram High, the 18-year-old native of Liberia drew a lot of Division I college interest but recently decided to play professional soccer.
SPORTS
July 3, 2014 | BY TOM MAHON, Daily News Staff Writer mahont@phillynews.com
AMERICA'S MOST popular athlete - for the time being, anyway - is Tim Howard, soccer goalie extraordinaire. Howard had 16 saves, many of them miraculous, in the United States' 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium on Tuesday. And fans reacted in a big way. There were tweets comparing Howard to Jesus: * "Jesus puts on 'Tim Howard saves' T-shirt. " * "Have you ever seen Tim Howard and Jesus in the same room? Just saying. " * "Difference between Tim Howard and Jesus - Jesus had 11 guys he could trust.
NEWS
July 3, 2014 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
IN SAM FARINA'S eyes, the hundreds of fans who packed the Piazza at Schmidts courtyard in Northern Liberties last night to watch the end of the U.S. team's World Cup run had two options after the nail-biting loss to Belgium. "We can either go home or go to the bars and drink the depression off," joked Farina, 23, as hordes of disappointed fans vacated the plaza, leaving a layer of crushed Pabst and Budweiser cans in their wake. For Farina, a classroom aide from Chester Springs, and her group of friends, the latter was the better option.
SPORTS
July 2, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
Asking whether the United States is now a "soccer nation," which has become a timely if peculiar fascination during the excitement of the World Cup, is like asking if the U.S. is a "broccoli nation. " Soccer is consumed here regularly; fervidly by some, occasionally by others, and not at all by those who simply don't care for it. For the most part in this country - with the notable exception of the NFL - that's no different than any other sport. The United States has many basketball fans and hockey fans, but none of them feel it necessary to hear that this is a "basketball nation" or "hockey nation.
SPORTS
June 30, 2014 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Columnist
Baseball's been a lifelong companion. But the old game is looking a little frail, and I worry about its future. I can't easily express any specific concerns. The worries my gut sense haven't yet reached my head. Something doesn't feel right. It's like that moment we first noticed our parents' mortality. Maybe it was nothing more than an incongruous comment, a faraway look in their eyes, or an uncertain step, but whatever it was, we instinctively knew nothing would ever be the same again.
NEWS
June 27, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
Like others who share his heritage, Ralf Wiedemann agonizes over what for German Americans is the pressing question of the day: Whom to root for during Thursday's critical World Cup game between the United States and Germany? The winner advances, the loser could be out, and a tie benefits both. That set of circumstances, enhanced by the unusual connections between the teams - beginning with the Americans' German coach - provokes a sense of anxious ambiguity among fans who would surely cheer for one team if they weren't cheering for the other.
NEWS
June 24, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Their pain poured for blocks down Broad Street. Their elation echoed north toward City Hall. As the United States men's soccer team battled Portugal to a 2-2 draw at the World Cup in Brazil on Sunday, Philadelphia soccer enthusiasts proved that at least for one night, on one Center City block, they could rival the world's most fervent sports fans. Neither rain nor a sluggish start for the Americans dampened the enthusiasm of the hundreds crowded in front of a big screen set up at the intersection 15th and Locust Streets, outside Fadó Irish Pub. Draped in red, white, and blue, they cheered, groaned, and drank in equal measure.
SPORTS
June 18, 2014 | By Max Cohen, Inquirer Staff Writer
When John Brooks headed in the winning goal in the 86th minute of the U.S. team's 2-1 win over Ghana at the World Cup, Fadó Irish Pub on the corner of 15th and Locust Streets became a blur of red, white, and blue. The bar was packed to its fire-code limit, yet people still found room to leap into the air, high-fiving and hugging. Three years ago, Greg Hutelmyer, Julian Brown, and Sean Figgins wouldn't have believed the scene at the bar. Then, the Philadelphia chapter of the American Outlaws - the support group for United States soccer - was dormant.
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