Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 1:00 pm
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U.S. Soccer names Klinsmann new USMNT coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not an exaggeration: the dreams of thousands of U.S. Soccer fans have finally come true.

After years of flirtation on both sides, the U.S. Soccer Federation has named Jurgen Klinsmann head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Klinsmann replaces the largely-unpopular Bob Bradley, fired yesterday after five up-and-down years at the helm.

Ask most fans of the USMNT and they'll tell you going from Bradley to "Klinsi" represents the biggest coaching upgrade since Lou Holtz replaced Gerry Faust at Notre Dame. That might seem like an overreaction for a coach with only two meaningful stints on his resume, one as the manager of his native Germany's national team for the 2006 World Cup cycle and another at the helm of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. 

But Klinsmann's relative inexperience does nothing to outweigh the perfect combination of credibility and familiarity his hire represents for the USA. Many internationally-recognized managers might have listened to the USSF's offers, but thanks to Klinsmann having moved with his family to the Los Angeles area more than a decade ago, none of them have anything resembling his knowledge of the U.S. player pool and American mindset. 

The prospect of hiring any coach with the immediate credibility that comes with being a national hero for one of the globe's great soccer nations -- not to mention guiding that nation to a stirring, surprising World Cup semifinal berth in 2006 -- would be enough to get U.S. fans salivating. Combine that with Klinsmann's understanding of the position and the U.S. roster, and it's not possible to draw up a more appealing candidate.

Which is why USSF head honcho Sunil Gulati and Klinsmann have had on-and-off back-table discussions regarding the USMNT job for years. Klinsmann has reportedly had serious reservations in the past about his level of control regarding U.S. player development and roster construction, with Gulati allegedly balking about some of Klinsmann's demands.

But with Bradley looking more and more unfit to coach another four-year World Cup cycle following the recent 4-2 capitulation to Mexico in the Gold Cup final (not to mention the inexplicabe 2-1 defeat to Panama in the tournament's group stage), Gulati and the USSF may have felt the time had come to meet Klinsmann's conditions.

Given Bradley's documented flaws and the rarity of national team coaches anywhere lasting through two World Cups, it's worth asking what took the USSF so long. But it's also worth applauding them for making the neccessary move now. For U.S. Soccer, it's hard to imagine that Klinnsmann's arrival won't be the very definition of "better late than never."

Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:15 pm
 

Bob Bradley out as U.S. Men's National Team coach

Posted by Tom Fornelli

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Galati made a rather unexpected announcement on Thursday that Bob Bradley has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the United States Men's National team.

“We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years,” said Gulati in a statement. “During his time as the head coach of our Men’s National Team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change. It is always hard to make these decisions, especially when it involves someone we respect as much as Bob. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.” 

Bradley took the job after the United States' poor showing in the 2006 World Cup, and while he had some success with the team, his tenure was most memorable for the near-misses and for coming up just short. While Bradley was able to lead the men's team out of group play in the 2010 World Cup, a 2-1 loss to Ghana in the elimination round. Which served as a harsh reminder of when the U.S. team lost 2-1 to Ghana in the 2006 World Cup, a loss that kept the team from advancing to the knockout stage.

A loss that led to Bradley getting the job in the first place.

Bradley's latest teams struggled to advance in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which included a 1-0 loss to Panama, the first time the U.S. had lost in group play in the Gold Cup. The team would make it to the finals, but lose to Mexico 4-2 after taking a 2-0 lead.

No replacement has been named, but U.S. Soccer does have another announcement set for Friday, in which an interim manager may be announced. 
Posted on: July 27, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Two Guys and a Podcast: NBA talk with Kevin Love

Posted by Will Brinson

We here at the Eye on Sports blog are thrilled to introduce CBSSports.com's newest podcast: "Two Guys and a Podcast," the charming and witty digital baby of Gregg Doyel and yours truly.

In today's inaugural episode, we talk at length with Minnesota Timberwolves big man Kevin Love on a variety of topics. What's he doing during the lockout? Would he like to return to Minny long term? Would Ben Howland make a good next coach for the Timberwolves? How rampant is cheating in college basketball? Can he sing like his uncle? Is "Ready to Die" really the first album he ever loved? And why is he playing volleyball in Times Square with a bunch of Jose Cuervo tequila?

Get the answers to those questions -- and much, MUCH more -- simply by hitting the play button below -- iTunes availability coming soon!

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Introducing the most difficult sport ever

Posted by Royce Young

You may have just always assumed that Calvinball was the most insane, unreasonable sport ever. Well, you're wrong. Try playing volleyball with no hands. 

Wait, what?

Yep, that's what Sepak Takraw is. Or as it is probably more aptly described, "Kung Fu Volleyball." See for yourself:



The rules are simple. Three-on-three, with a net separating the teams. Basic volleyball rules except for the part about using hands. Instead, you can only touch the ball with your feet, chest and head. Instead of bump, set, spike, Sepak Takraw is more like bump, set, bicycle kick. 

Evidently the sport is pretty popular all over Asia. Sepak means "kick" and Takraw loosely translates to "ball." Definitely not the kind of kickball I played in fourth grade P.E.

So next time you and some friends get together to play a little backyard volleyball, try lowering the net a bit and playing a little Sepak Takraw. Film it while you're at it. You'll probably get some 2.7 million views just like this video. Probably because someone broke their face trying to bicycle spike the ball, but still, you'll be famous.

One question I have though: So poker is on TV 16 hours a day, but it takes a random YouTube video for me to find out about this unbelievable sport? Someone really screwed the pooch here.  
Category: General
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 3:19 pm
 

New poker league signs deal with CBS

J. Darin Darst

Poker is coming back to CBS!

Not too long ago, CBS hosted the Intercontinental Poker Championship which featured this great moment with Tony G against Ralph Perry:




But now a new professional poker league called The Epic Poker League, has signed a television deal with CBS and Discover Communication’s new network, Velocity. CBS will air seven hours of league play while Velocity will broadcast another 13.

The league will include five different poker tournaments, including a $1 million free-roll no-limit Texas Hold 'em championship planned in February in Las Vegas.

Poker News Daily has most of the details of the tournament:

Led by chief executive Jeffrey Pollack (formerly of the WSOP) and Commissioner Annie Duke, players must qualify for membership through live tournament success.  Players can earn two, three, or five year membership cards through a combination of recent and lifetime results, which include certain numbers of “major” tournament titles, minimum levels of recent tournament earnings, and minimum thresholds for career earnings.  The membership roster currently includes over 200 players, but more can always qualify as they rack up tournament wins and cashes.

This should be an amazing event with all the best players in the world competing. And the best part about it? No Norman Chad. Legendary sports announcer Pat O'Brien will call the action.

The first event will be Aug. 5 with a Pro/Am at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The $20,000 Main Event will be Aug. 9-12.

Posted on: July 24, 2011 1:33 am
 

Pastor invokes Ricky Bobby in invocation

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The whole idea of an invocation at a sporting event kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies, but that could change if Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn., did all of them.

Before Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race in Nashville, Nelms thanked God for among other things, "the Dodges and the Fords," "Sunoco Racing Fuel" and "my smoking' hot wife, tonight, Lisa," in an obvious homage to the 2006 Will Farrell movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Here's Nelms:

And here's Ricky Bobby (warning, there's some NSFW language):

That's about the greatest prayer I've ever heard, but it appears this isn't the first time for Nelms -- he's been doing this kind of thing for a while at the race track.

Here's some of his other performances:

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Charles Barkley fixed his golf swing?



Posted by Ryan Wilson

When talking about golf, Charles Barkley is familiar with last place. Despite the worst swing in the 600-year history of the sport, Sir Charles continues to persevere, often with thousands, if not millions of people watching. He was featured on Golf Channel's "Haney Project," a reality show where swing coach Hank Haney was tasked with fixing this. Not surprisingly, Barkley's hitch won out.

But there is a happy ending of sorts. Last week was the American Century Championship, an annual celebrity golf event in Tahoe, Nevada, where Barkley finished dead last a year ago. This time around, with a shiny, new swing in tow, Barkley finished 81st out of 83 players (if you're interested, Jimmer Fredette brought up the rear this time around).

Hey, it's progress. And more than that, Chuck appears to have conquered the demons that had taken over his body. No longer does he appear to have a seizure mid-backstroke.

Via Haney, who tweeted on Saturday: "Check out my man Charles Barkley's 325 yard drive on #8 today":



And to celebrate the occasion, Charles did the "Dougie" (of course he did):



via Dogs Chasing Cars




Posted on: July 17, 2011 6:47 pm
 

Unthinkable: U.S. women out-closed, out-finished

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There were a lot of scripts for today's Women's World Cup final that ended in defeat for the U.S.A. against Japan. The one it followed had to have been the most far-fetched of all.

Because if there was one thing the U.S. knew they could rely on, one strength they could always fall back to, it was their ability to finish. No team was fitter. No team was more resilient. No team dealt better with pressure. Down a goal and a player in the 122nd minute to Brazil? No problem. Tied 1-1 with France with 15 minutes to play after an hour of French domination? We'll win by two. 

So when the U.S. went up 1-0 thanks a brilliant Alex Morgan strike and took that lead into the 80th minute, you could have forgiven the watching nation for believing the Cup was within reach. But the crushing defensive lapses that had hamstrung the U.S. in group play reared its head again, two failed clearances from Rachel Buehler and Alex Krieger leaving Aya Miyama to stab home from close range. Cup: back out of reach.

OK, so it's extra time, but they're the U.S. No problem, right? It looked that way when the terrific Morgan turned her defender and lofted a pinpoint cross that Abby Wambach headed home with maximum authority. 2-1 up and with the clock ticking under five minutes to play, the Cup was within the U.S.'s reach. Again.

But with the American defense suddenly -- and surprisingly -- looking dead-legged, Japan mounted a last-minute surge and forced a corner. That corner fell to Homare Sawa, Japan's best player and the tournament's high scorer. 2-2. Cup gone. Again.

But they'd done it at the absolute death of overtime once already, right? And sure enough, with just seconds remaining, Heather O'Reilly somehow broke free on the right flank to cross to an unmarked Wambach just six yards from goal. Wambach, the U.S.'s certain closer, the U.S.'s cold-blooded assassin, their finisher of finishers. But the ball fall fell to her feet, rather than her head; the one-time shot skewed wildly over the bar.

But with Hope Solo in goal and the kind of precision on display in their 5-for-5 ouster of Brazil, surely a penalty kick shootout would belong to the U.S. Right? Please? 

No. The U.S.'s first three penalty takers (Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd, and Tobin Heath) went a stunning 0-for-3. It was over. 

It was unthinkable. A loss? Not a shock. But like this? As not just the second-best team, but the second-most resilient team, the second-most clutch team?

It's the sort of defeat that -- like the U.S. men's loss to Ghana in the wake of Landon Donovan's heart-stopping goal against Algeria last year -- cannot help but take some of the shine off of the Brazil comeback that first seized the country's sporting attention the Sunday before. As amazing a moment as that remains, quarterfinals aren't finals. Goals scored in the 122nd minute don't count more than ones given up in the 117th. Losses from ahead are every bit as devastating as wins from behind. That's sports.

That's not to say the U.S.'s one shootout loss should overshadow what came before it. The USWNT took advantage of this tournament to re-establish themselves as one of the world's elite sides. They reminded the nation of the drama and power of the sport they play, just a year before they look to defend their Olympic title. They lost to a deserving champion, one who punished opponents' mistakes mercilessly throughout the tournament and did so again today. The U.S. should remain immensely proud of their accomplishments, and the nation should remain immensely appreciative of the giddy ride we've been taken on.

But assessing the Americans' entire tournament means also assessing the Final's last 10 minutes of regulation, that final 5 minutes of extra time, that dreadful shootout. And as brilliant as the U.S. was in Germany, there's no way that assessment can't conclude that the U.S. chose the worst possible time to close in the worst possible fashion.

It's not the script we expected. And after 12 long years, the U.S. must now wait four long more for their World Cup rewrite.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com