TweetPinShare0 Shares HAVANA — The New York Cosmos have made history before, just not in this manner.The Cosmos defeated Cuba’s national team 4-1 on June 2 in a friendly that was the first visit to the island by a U.S. professional team since the two countries began their detente effort in December.A franchise that brought Brazilian superstar Pele to America in the 1970s was greeted warmly before the match as both national anthems were played. And even as the Cosmos dominated the action, the locals were, well, friendly.“I felt like the atmosphere from the fans was phenomenal,” said forward Lucky Mksona, who scored twice. “Everyone was just trying to support us wherever we went and I think that was big for us today.”The game was played in a persistent rain that prevented the 74-year-old Brazilian soccer legend from making the symbolic opening kick. But thousands filled the stands at Pedro Marrero stadium, cheering on the game with a series of soccer songs and chants.After the final whistle, Cosmos players saluted the audience, which responded with applause and cheers.Soccer’s popularity is growing on this baseball-crazy island, and officials held up the game as another important step in the moves by the U.S. and Cuba to normalize relations after decades of Cold War antagonism.The New York team was the first professional U.S. soccer team to play in Cuba since the now-defunct Chicago Sting visited in 1978.President Jimmy Carter made an attempt then to improve relations with Cuba and opened the U.S. interests section in Havana that both countries want to soon convert into a full embassy.Mksona scored in the seventh minute and again in the 41st, sandwiched around goals by teammates Sebastian Guenzatti in the 31st and Hagop Chirishian three minutes after that.“We were able to find good spaces wide, get good crosses in, and the guys were able to make runs inside the box and finish with quality,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We had a lot of patience. Sometimes the headers didn’t go to goal, and we pulled it back and found more open players to score.”Andy Vaquero scored for Cuba in the 50th minute.(ANNE-MARIE GARCIA)
Bournemouth boss Howe warns Fulham: Mousset going nowhereby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFulham will not be getting their hands on Lys Mousset anytime soon.The struggling Premier league club had hoped they would be able to sign the youngster, but Bournemouth see him as a key part of their plans.He started the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea in midweek and was impressive.After the game, Howe spoke about the possibility of Mousset leaving: “It sounds like we’re going to be left with no strikers at this rate!”Lys [Mousset] did very well. That was probably his best performance for the club.”His fitness levels were much improved and technically, he produced a really high-level game and he’s a big part of our future.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
West Ham boss Pellegrini: Enough chances for at least Watford pointby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini felt they created enough chances to earn something from defeat to Watford.Gerard Deulofeu sealed a 2-0 Watford victory after Troy Deeney had scored a first half penalty.“I think we deserved a little bit more, at least to draw the game, as we had too many options,” Pellegrini observed. “We played most of the game one goal behind and it is always more difficult for the team to play under pressure and it’s easier for Watford [once they are in front].“They are a very good team and they played a good game and when you are winning 1-0 you have more time to prepare the actions in the last third. We hit the post twice and had two or three clear options to draw this game.“Maybe we felt the pressure losing 1-0 at the beginning of the game, but there are so many things in football that can happen and be why you don’t score. In the last game [at Fulham] we had two chances and we scored two but today we couldn’t score one.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
andrew harrison racial slur frank kaminsky final four kentucky wisconsinKentucky sophomore guard Andrew Harrison took to Twitter early Sunday morning to apologize for an offhand comment he made regarding Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky at his team’s post-game press conference after the Wildcats’ Final Four loss. As his teammate, Karl-Anthony Towns, was being asked a question about Kaminsky, Harrison appeared to mutter the words “f*** that n****” to himself. Unfortunately, his microphone was turned on, and his words were far more audible than he’d likely have hoped. Harrison told his followers that the phrase was “used in jest.” He also claims that he called Kaminsky himself to wish him good luck in Monday’s title game.First i want to apologize for my poor choice of words used in jest towards a player I respect and know.— Andrew Harrison (@DrewRoc5) April 5, 2015When I realized how this could be perceived I immediately called big frank to apologize and let him know I didn’t mean any disrespect— Andrew Harrison (@DrewRoc5) April 5, 2015We had a good conversation and I wished him good luck in the championship game Monday.— Andrew Harrison (@DrewRoc5) April 5, 2015Here’s a Vine of the incident, if you somehow haven’t seen footage yet. Harrison is most likely headed to the NBA, so we’re not sure if there will be any repercussions here. Regardless, it’s good that he addressed the situation immediately and took ownership for the mistake.
Twitter/@OU_AthleticsCollege football week five features a very deep slate of games from noon through past midnight. For Oklahoma fans, things are kicking off at 11 am central time, with a huge game against an impressive West Virginia team. To celebrate the morning Big 12 battle, OU put out a unique hype video, featuring the song “Good Morning,” made famous by the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain. Fry up some eggs, pour yourself a glass of orange juice, or maybe a screwdriver if you’re so inclined, and get ready for some early Sooners football.No matter the time, it’s always a great day for Sooner football! Get ready for tomorrow with a little twist! https://t.co/lOz473epYX— Oklahoma Sooners (@OU_Athletics) October 2, 2015
Alabama head coach Nick Saban got a little heated during somewhat of a rant about satellite football camps and the need for a college football commissioner. Simply against the idea of satellite football camps, and with little belief in the positive narrative surrounding them, Saban let loose Tuesday afternoon in front of the media at the SEC Spring Meetings. As usual, AL.com was on the scene and posted the video to YouTube. AL.com did a terrific job describing the scene as Saban went off, and you can watch their video in its entirety here.
Mr. Green, who was addressing Thursday’s (July 20) staging of a workshop held at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, lamented that the document has been in the planning stage for the past 15 years, and stressed that it is time to have it completed and presented to Cabinet for approval. State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence (NPACV) is to be finalised within six months.This will follow a revision of the document which will incorporate recommendations to come out of a workshop focusing on the plan’s continued development.The goal of the NPACV is to create and maintain a protective environment, supportive of and responsive to the issues of violence, child abuse and maltreatment of children in Jamaica.Mr. Green, who was addressing Thursday’s (July 20) staging of a workshop held at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, lamented that the document has been in the planning stage for the past 15 years, and stressed that it is time to have it completed and presented to Cabinet for approval.He noted that the plan is not to “reinvent the wheel,” but for all stakeholders to work together one final time to “review what we have done so far, update as much as possible and come out of this with a clear direction to ensure that we can have a national plan to treat with the issue of violence against our children.”The plan, which is to be implemented over a five-year period, involves collaboration among several Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, civil society groups and other stakeholders.In his remarks, State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said the problems cannot be solved in isolation, noting that he is pleased to see all the stakeholders working together to enhance mechanisms to protect the nation’s children.“It is the only approach for us to be successful and to have a sustainable solution to the problems that face our children,” he said.Senator Charles Jr. called for all involved to “continue to challenge the system, and where there are gaps, where there are deficiencies continue to work together to see how we can solve those issues (regarding violence against children),” he urged.The core objective of the NPACV is to reduce the impact of violence against children through an integrated approach to prevention, control, intervention responses, monitoring and evaluation.This is to ensure that the rights of children are preserved, and that an environment is created to stimulate their positive growth and development into productive citizens of Jamaica.The workshop was staged by the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Youth Ministry, and sought to address the key issues and challenges pertaining to children as victims, perpetrators and witnesses of acts of abuse.Additionally, it was also a demonstration to stakeholders and the country of the Government’s willingness and commitment to take on the issue of violence against the nation’s children and show joint Government and private/public partnerships in tackling the issue.Participants included representatives from the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Health, CDA, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Youth Ministry, Office of the Children’s Registry, Office of the Children’s Advocate, Ministry of Justice, Hear the Children’s Cry, and civil society organisations. Story Highlights State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence (NPACV) is to be finalised within six months. The plan, which is to be implemented over a five-year period, involves collaboration among several Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, civil society groups and other stakeholders.
Brandi Morin APTN National NewsThe United Nations is paying for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to attend one of the most anticipated environmental conferences in history.Through the UN Development Programme, National Chief Perry Bellegarde and AFN NWT Regional Chief Bill Erasmus are confirmed to attend the COP 21 gathering in Paris.For months the AFN has been preparing to contribute to international talks on climate change.According to a statement from the AFN, the organization has been involved in a number of activities leading up to COP21,“And we will be there (in Paris) to raise our voices to ensure there is a real commitment to action and an approach that protects our lands and respects our rights.”There are just 34 days left until the start of the gathering in Paris where world leaders will come together to develop a strategy to combat the threat of climate change.According to COP21 officials, “for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate.”Last July the AFN adopted a resolution specifically referencing COP21 that called on Canada and Member States along with UN agencies, funds and programmes to support Indigenous representation in Paris.According to the Liberal party, Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau plans to invite Indigenous leaders to join the Canadian delegation to Paris, however it’s not clear when the invitation will be sent out or who will be invited.Canada is scrambling to develop a strategy of its own to participate in the event.Green Party Leader Elizabeth May told APTN National News that Canada is not ready.She said the former Harper Conservative government allowed the issue to fall on the back burner.May said the last draft she saw of Canada’s negotiations for Paris were “awful, weak and not nearly enough of anything to deliver what the world needs.”May flew to Ottawa last week for a meeting with Trudeau.He has since invited Canada’s premiers and environmental leaders to join the Canadian delegation going to Paris as well as committing to a meeting with provincial leaders within 90 days of the UN event to follow up.The new Liberal government has said it plans to begin working on building a nation to nation relationship with Canada’s First Nations as well as adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).According to UNDRIP, industrial development activities that threaten the livelihood of Indigenous Peoples is a violation of Aboriginal and Treaty rights.Bellegarde said First Nations must be taken seriously on the issue of climate change.“First Nations must be part of dialogue and decision-making on climate change at all levels. Indigenous peoples are often the first to feel the effects of climate change and we have traditional knowledge that should inform the discussions and Indigenous rights must be respected in any plans and agreements.”email@example.com
Dirk Nowitzki is putting up a valiant fight against Father Time, but the seventh-leading scorer in NBA history is now a complementary piece on offense, and a guy you have to try to hide on defense. Zaza Pachulia is big, smart, tough, dependable and reliable and has a surprisingly soft mid-range jumper, all qualities that make Pachulia a good backup center. He isn’t exactly athletic, which makes him a major downgrade from Tyson Chandler and the DeAndre Jordan dream. Here’s what CARMELO thinks of the Mavs’ main pieces (check out every NBA player here): As Chandler Parsons transitions into being the pretty face of the franchise, the Mavs need him to back up his belief that he can be one of the NBA’s premier point-forwards. If you ask him, all he needs is the ball in his hands more, now that he’s surrounded by shooters. Wesley Matthews, 29 and coming off a torn left Achilles tendon, has been a terrific role player and parlayed that success into a max contract. As a dude who thrives on disrespect, “Iron Man” will be intrigued that CARMELO considers him a mediocre defender. The Dallas Mavericks failed to make it past the first round for the fourth consecutive time last season, and now they’re sprinting on the mediocrity treadmill that owner Mark Cuban was so determined to avoid. If anything, they took steps backward after scrambling to fill the roster spot they thought would go to big fish DeAndre Jordan. The Las Vegas over-under for Mavs wins this season is 38.5. FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection system is a bit more optimistic, 41-41, but even that would match the worst record in Cuban’s tenure, now entering its 16th season. We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here. As Deron Williams has said, he was “kind of a consolation prize” after the disappointment of the Jordan debacle. He was a huge bust in Brooklyn after signing a max contract, prompting the Nets to pay $27 million to buy out his final two seasons, but the Mavs hope he’ll be a $5.4 million bargain in Dallas. Dallas certainly believes he’ll be an upgrade over the post-Jason Kidd point guard carousel, so they can’t be happy to see 2014 Jameer Nelson (whom they dumped as quickly as possible) come up in Williams’s player comps. Devin Harris’s top comp is Brad Davis, so Harris is clearly a candidate to have his number hanging from the American Airlines Center rafters after he retires.
2France 1England, Germany, Italy, Spain Top divisions only. Countries are listed alphabetically within each tier. 6Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Cyprus, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Wales European countries’ soccer leagues, sorted into six tiers by strength This methodology article is for an old version of our club soccer forecasts. See how our latest club soccer predictions work.Today we’re publishing FiveThirtyEight’s club soccer predictions interactive, which includes team ratings, odds for upcoming matches and forecasts for the top five European domestic soccer leagues — the Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France) — along with the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition. Our forecasts are available in both English and Spanish, and we‘ll be adding more leagues in the future, likely starting in a few months with Liga MX, MLS and NWSL.The forecasts are based on a substantially revised version of ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), a rating system originally devised by FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver in 2009 for rating international soccer teams and last revised for the 2014 World Cup. For the interactive, we have updated and adapted SPI to incorporate club soccer scores going back to 1888 (from more than 550,000 matches in all),1Including matches from the six leagues we’re forecasting. The data comes from ESPN’s database and James Curley’s GitHub. The model doesn’t take into account matches in lower domestic divisions or in other competitions such as league cups or Europa League. as well as newer play-by-play data from Opta that has been available since summer 2010.In SPI, each team is assigned an offensive and defensive rating, expressed in terms of number of goals it would expect to score and yield against a middling team — so a high offensive rating is good, and a high defensive rating is bad.2Think of a team’s ratings as roughly how it would do against Swansea, Bordeaux or Leganes, based on those teams’ current strength. Unlike with national-team SPI, our club-soccer SPI doesn’t include an overall rating, in part because we plan to add other leagues, and as the pool of teams changes, the overall ratings would shift, too. Given the ratings for any two teams, we can project the result of a match between them in a variety of formats — such as a league match, a home-and-away tie or a cup final — as well as simulate whole seasons to arrive at the probability each team will win the league, qualify for the Champions League or be relegated to a lower division. After every match, a team’s ratings are adjusted based on its performance in that match and the strength of its opponent. Unlike with the Elo rating system we use in several other sports, when a soccer team wins a match but performs worse than expected, its ratings decline.Underlying quality of playSoccer can be tricky to model because there are so few goals scored in each match. The final scoreline fairly often will disagree with most people’s impressions of the quality of each team’s play, and the low-scoring nature of the sport sometimes will lead to prolonged periods of luck, where a team may be getting good results despite playing poorly (or vice versa).To mitigate this randomness, and better estimate each team’s underlying quality of play, we’re using four metrics to evaluate a team’s performance after each match: goals, adjusted goals, shot-based expected goals and non-shot expected goals.The first is simply how many goals a team scored in the match. The second, adjusted goals, accounts for the conditions under which each goal was scored. For adjusted goals, we reduce the value of goals scored when a team has more players on the field,3These are worth about 0.8 goals. This and all other weights were chosen in order to optimize the model for predicting match outcomes. as well as goals scored late in a match when a team is already leading.4Specifically, after the 70th minute, the value of a goal when a team is leading decreases linearly to the end of the game, when a goal is worth half a goal. So a 70th minute goal when leading is worth a full goal, an 80th minute goal is worth 0.75 goals, and a goal in the 90th minute or later is worth 0.5 goals. We increased the value of all other goals to make the total number of adjusted goals add up to the total number of goals scored.Shot-based expected goals are an estimate of how many goals a team “should” have scored given the shots they took in that match. Each shot is assigned a probability of scoring based on the distance and angle from the goal, as well as the part of the body the shot was taken with, with an adjustment for the player who took the shot.5All players who have enough shots in our database are given a modifier based on their historical conversion rates (the number of goals they’ve scored given the shots they’ve had). For example, Lionel Messi has historically converted a shot into a goal about 1.4 times as often as expected, so the probability of any shot he takes is multiplied by 1.4. These individual shot probabilities are added together to produce a team’s shot-based expected goals for that match, which may be bigger or smaller than the number of goals it actually scored.Non-shot expected goals are an estimate of how many goals a team “should” have scored based on non-shooting actions they took around the opposing team’s goal:6That is, within an area slightly larger than the 18-yard box. passes, interceptions, take-ons and tackles. For example, we know that intercepting the ball at the opposing team’s penalty spot results in a goal about 9 percent of the time, and a completed pass that is received six yards directly in front of the goal leads to a score about 14 percent of the time. We add these individual actions up across an entire match to arrive at a team’s non-shot expected goals. Just as for shot-based expected goals, there is an adjustment for each action based on the success rates of the player or players taking the action (both the passer and the receiver in the case of a pass). 4Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine 5Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Norway, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey TIERLEAGUES Take Sunday’s match between Everton and Manchester City, for example. Although Everton won 4-0, our model didn’t see the match as nearly so lopsided. Two of Everton’s goals came with the lead after the 70th minute. Furthermore, Everton took only six shots. Our shot-based expected goals model would expect only about 0.4 of those shots to go in the net, not the four that did. Man City also was the better team according to our non-shot based expected goals model. In all, our composite scores saw the final result as a 2.16-0.84 win for Everton — much narrower than 4-0.Since all four metrics represent the number of goals a team scored or could have been expected to score during the match, they’re directly comparable, and a team’s composite offensive score is an average of the four metrics; its composite defensive score is an average of the four metrics for its opponent. “An average doesn’t sound very empirical,” you might say, but our testing indicates it does about as well as any other way of combining the metrics. If anything, the expected goals components should count a bit more toward the overall match rating than the goals-based measures, but we have only a little more than six seasons’ worth of data for those components, while we have goals data back to 1888. Therefore, we’re being a little cautious about incorporating this new data. A team is assigned an offensive and defensive rating for a match based on its composite score and the pre-match ratings of its opponent, and these game ratings are combined with the team’s pre-match ratings to produce its updated ratings.As with our Elo-based rating systems, each team’s ratings change in the offseason. Rather than reverting each team toward the same mean, we revert it toward a time-weighted average of its final rating over the past five seasons. In addition, we adjust each team’s preseason rating based on players it acquires or sells in the offseason.7Specifically, these adjustments are based on subtracting transfer fees a team got in the offseason from how much it spent on acquiring players, relative to league average. For every standard deviation of net spend above league average, a team’s rating is boosted by about 0.09 points, split evenly between the team’s offensive and defensive ratings.ForecastingOnce we’ve established ratings for every team in the leagues we cover, we forecast the outcomes of upcoming matches with a Poisson model that forecasts the estimated number of goals we expect each team to score. The parameters in the model are the offensive and defensive ratings of the two teams, home-field advantage,8This varies based on the year of the match and the league the game is being played in. As Oliver Roeder and James Curley documented in 2014 on FiveThirtyEight about English soccer, home-field advantage has decreased over time. and the number of days of rest for each team. We can use these goal forecasts to estimate the probability of each team winning, as well as the chance the match will end in any given score.We then run Monte Carlo simulations to play out each league’s season 10,000 times using our individual match forecasts. As with our other forecasts, we run our Monte Carlo simulations “hot,” meaning that instead of a team’s ratings remaining static within each simulated season, the ratings can rise or fall based on the simulated matches the team plays. In effect, this widens the distribution of possible outcomes by allowing a weak team to go on a winning streak and increase its ratings substantially, or providing for the possibility that a strong team loses its first few games of a simulated season and is penalized accordingly.Leagues and tiersOne challenge when building such a system is the large number of leagues around the world: we have over 400 in our database. Determining a team’s strength within its league is relatively straightforward, but figuring out its strength relative to teams in other leagues is a second challenge. There are often few matches between teams in different leagues or regions. For example, clubs in the Americas rarely play European clubs aside from the Club World Cup or summer warmup matches, for which European sides often don’t field their best teams. 3Portugal To compare different leagues, we’ve come up with a tiered system. Each league belongs to a tier, and each successive tier is a bit weaker9By a margin equivalent to 0.2 goals per game, spread between offensive and defensive ratings. than the one above it. We calculated these tiers using both an analysis of interleague matches (e.g. Champions League or Europa League) and UEFA’s league-strength coefficients.Right now we’re about halfway through the European club season, and several leagues have good races brewing for the last few months. You can follow along at our interactive.