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As I started my research for this article I had no idea what I was going to find. I do not watch soccer and did not know that the field was called a pitch. When I heard about the odd name of a soccer field I got very interested in finding the answer to the question why a soccer field is called a pitch.

What I found out is that there is not a lot of information available about this subject. I also found that there are two different answers to the question. The first one that I will talk about is vastly more popular than the second. Even though there is wide gap between these two schools of thought I thought to present them both and let you decide which sounds more feasible.

The first explanation for why a soccer field is called a pitch comes from the beginnings of both soccer and cricket. This is possibly why this is the most popular answer for the question we are asking. Most people believe that a soccer field is called a pitch because it refers to the fact that the goals had to be pounded, or pitched, into the ground. This is similar to using the word in the context of “pitching a tent.” The fact that a cricket field is called a pitch as well goes a long way to imagining that this could be the actual way a soccer field started being called a pitch. Also, from what I could find, all playing fields in England are called a pitch.

As I said the second explanation for why a soccer field is called a pitch is far less popular than the first one. Being a writer this answer appeals to me, and actually feels like this could be the real reason a soccer field is called a pitch. This explanation comes from the Oxford English Dictionary. In the Oxford dictionary the definition of a pitch “is an area of ground marked out or used for play in an outdoor game.” This can also be a good explanation for the reason that all playing fields in England are called a pitch. In England a “field” is defined as an open space that is used for agricultural. In the US we call all large expanses of land a field, whether they are used for games or farming. In the UK they differentiate between the two by calling a farm field a “field” and a playing field a “pitch.”

What this means, is that this is just a difference in Americanized English and what the English call the Queens’ English. There are many examples of these differences in our languages. For instance we call fuel for our cars “gas” and they call the same fuel “petrol.” We use the word garbage, they call it rubbish. You could go on and on with examples of the different words that are used in each country. These are the two different reasons I could find as to why a soccer field is called a pitch. I presented both of the explanations so that each reader of this article can make up their own mind which one they believe is the correct reason.

Strip soccer game is an online simple classic puzzle game. Flash games have enormously grown its popularity as an online content in many websites today. Many of these flash games are offered free to play by websites in order to attract web surfers to visit their sites. There are also some sites which offer its visitors to download these games for free.

The strip soccer game is among these games which can be played in the internet. This is a flash game similar to the game of Tetris. The game consists of a portion which shows pictures of showing sexy beautiful girls stripped of their clothes. Some of the girls wear bikinis but some don’t have any clothes at all. The objective here is to make as many points possible in order to see more pictures of these beautiful girls. The player can gather points by forming at least three either vertical or horizontal soccer balls with the same colors. As you increase your points the more pictures will appear.

The game comes with simple graphical interface and can be played just by using the mouse. This game is so simple and fun to play. Though this is a puzzle game, this game should only be played by adults only. It is not recommended to be played by young children because of the obscene photos included in the game.

So if you feel bored and want to have some fun or just to past the time, then this game is the one you need and play soccer in a different way.

Pantera started their music career, by playing in various clubs, before becoming a household name. The band released their first album in 1983, known as Metal Magic. The album became successful and the group sold more than three millions albums in United States. The producer of the album was Abbott boy’s father.

The line up of Pantera band was composed of Rex Brown, Terry Glaze, Darrell Abbott, Terrence Lee, Rex Brown and Diamond Darell. Pantera was established in 1981, by Abbot Brothers. The band later searched for a new and heavy sound, the group replaced Terry with Phil Anselmo. But, the group changed the line up most of the time. In 1982, the band members decided, to shorten the name of the band and they agreed on the name Pantera. Hart decided to quit from the group, because of personal disagreement, with the other band members. Bradford also decided to quit from the band later that year and the group replaced him with Rex Brown. In 1990, the band released their second album known as “Cowboys from Hell”.

The band first album took the group to national metal map. MTV played a very important role in developing Pantera, because they put most of their group videos into heavy rotation. There performance on stage, made the band different from the other rock bands from United States. When the band released far beyond in 1994, the group had become famous, not only in United States, but also in other parts of the world. It was the same year, that the band started, to self destruct it self.

When Pantera released the Great Southern Trendkill album in 1996, the band changed a little bit. The band slowed their tempos and tone. The leader of the band Phil Anselmo became addicted to drugs. In 2000, Phil Anselmo started to engage himself, in side projects and the band lost their drummer Dimebag Darrell. He was killed when performing on stage in 2004. The death of Dimebag disbanded the group. This incident shocked the whole world and was condemned, by ardent fans of Pantera. Since the group ventured into the world of music, band members were popularly known for their partying and debauchery. They also acquired an official drink name known as “Black Tooth Grin”.

Pantera band, established its name in the world of rock music, in less than a decade. Since the group ventured into rock music, the band has inspired other popular bands such as rolling stones, kiss, black Sabbath and many more. The band toured extensively in America, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia to promote their songs. Ardent fans of the band can still get the band songs, if they visit the band official website.

Birmingham City Council is the largest European council and the second largest local authority in the UK. It has some 120 councillors representing 40 wards. The council’s headquarters are in Birmingham’s Victoria Square. Birmingham currently has eleven parliamentary constituencies.

The City Council also funds, supports and organises numerous events and activities throughout the year. Birmingham’s tourism plays an important role in the local economy and with the major facilities of the International Convention Centre and the National Exhibition Centre, the Birmingham area accounts for approximately 42% of the UK conference and exhibition trade. Birmingham’s cultural and sporting venues also attract a large number of UK and foreign visitors.

Birmingham, from a business point, was once known as the “City of a Thousand Trades” however, such trades have gradually diminished with some 70 – 80% of Birmingham businesses now being mainly service orientated. Birmingham businesses covering Finance, Investment, Insurance, Commodities, Consultancies, Support Services etc., are on the increase, so are Employment Agencies who are now mainly acting on behalf of clients with professional qualifications, plus of course the ex graduates from Birmingham’s three universities.

Such Birmingham businesses should always be fortunate to have qualified graduates knocking on their doors and should, therefore, never be short of such personnel seeking employment for the first time. Such people, not being tainted in the ways of previous employers, should be ideal for all those employers wishing to train new blood in the ways beneficial to their own companies.

Birmingham’s main advantages over the likes of London, is its central location, which is easily accessed by major roads and motorways, including perhaps the best known motorway junction in the UK, Spaghetti Junction. It is also well served by the Inter City rail network, with Birmingham’s main railway station, New Street Station being at the centre of this network and also by air via Birmingham International Airport. Birmingham’s more affordable and quality office space and just as important for drivers, it’s more than adequate parking facilities which generally are available throughout Birmingham. All these key business points puts Birmingham in the front line of UK city’s as the most popular area for service organisations.

For employees living in or near Birmingham, local transport in the form of bus, tram and local trains are readily available. There is also a terminus at Snow Hill Station for the Midland Metro which links Birmingham to Wolverhampton and serves nearby towns of Bilston, Wednesbury and West Bromwich.

Birmingham also has an extensive system of canals and is said to have more miles of canals than Italy’s Venice. Recent regeneration schemes have turned the canals into tourist attractions. Birmingham also benefits greatly from the local National Exhibition Centre and its numerous trade shows, which take place throughout the year. For Birmingham businesses wishing to use trade trade stands, their expenditure in displaying stands, plus the obvious transportation costs are far less than those businesses having to transport their wears from locations further afield.

For those people considering an employment move to Birmingham, there are properties to suit all pockets and employment status, either for sale or rent and within or in close proximity to Birmingham. For those looking beyond the Birmingham business and property arenas, we have considered and provided information below regarding the various leisure activities, professional sport viewing, theatres, museums, education, places of interest, parks etc., that are available locally or in close proximity to Birmingham.

Perhaps one of the most important points to consider for parents of younger children is education. Birmingham City Council is England’s largest Local Education Authority, being responsible directly or indirectly for the running of some 25 nursery schools, 328 primary schools, 77 secondary schools and 29 special schools. Most of Birmingham’s state schools are community schools, run directly by Birmingham City Council. There are also a number of voluntary aided schools within the state system. There are also further education colleges, offering numerous and varied courses, plus three universities. Education opportunities and their availability within Birmingham can only be considered as excellent.

In the sporting field, Birmingham has two professional football clubs in Birmingham City and Aston Villa, both of whom have had, following promotion in 2009 to the Premiership, a successful season and will be joined in the 2010-2011 season by local rivals West Bromwich Albion following their promotion from the Championship. Birmingham is also home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, based at Edgbaston, the Edgbaston ground also hosts tests and international one day matches. There is also the Birmingham Brummies Speedway team based at Perry Bar, Birmingham & Solihull Rugby Union Club and Moseley Rugby Union Club, both currently playing in the Championship League. Horse Racing is also available a short distance away at Warwick. In athletics, international track and field meetings take place at the Alexandra Stadium, the home of Birchfield Harriers Athletic Club. International lawn tennis also takes place at Edgbastons Priory Club. Birmingham is also home to the professional basketball team, Birmingham Panthers, with Greyhound racing also available in the city.

Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena, internationally acclaimed as one of the World’s finest indoor venues, holds a number of Athletic meetings during the year. It has also played host to World and European Championships. In the field of leisure Birmingham is perhaps second to none, with virtually everything in the field of leisure and sport available to the keen amateur, with Athletics, Paintballing, Golf, Tennis, Table Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Basket Ball, Net Ball, Bowls, Ten Pin Bowling, Hockey, Boxing, Course Fishing, Gym & Fitness Facilities, Golf, Soccer, Cricket, Rugby Union etc., available to anyone interested.

In rock music, Birmingham has often been described as the birthplace of heavy metal music, with Magnum, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and two members of the great Led Zeppelin, lead singer Robert Plant and drummer, the late John Bonam being local. Duran Duran, ELO & UB40 are also from the Birmingham area. For places of interest, again Birmingham provides it all, either within the city or locally. Birmingham itself boasts Millennium Point, with its Think Tank, which replaced the former Science & Industry museum, the most modern of science museums, and also its Planetarium and Imax Cinema. The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery contains leading displays of art work which includes a collection of work by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the largest collection of works by Edward Burne-Jones. Other museums include Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Soho House and Sarehole Mill, a popular attraction for J.R.R.Tolkien fans. The Barber Institute is both an art gallery and concert hall. It also contains a large coin collection, said to be one of the World’s most detailed.

Birmingham also has Cadbury World, Brindley Place, a major canal side development, with its National Sea Life Centre and stylish bars, cafes and restaurants. There are also numerous theatres, cinemas, museums, century old halls and houses in Birmingham. The Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses is well worth a visit with various hands on activities available throughout the year. Birmingham is also home to more parks than any other European city. There is over 8,000 acres of parkland in Birmingham with Sutton Park, the largest, covering some 2,400 acres. Cannon Hill Park in Edgbaston, is also worthy of a visit. Birmingham also boasts a record breaking 14 consecutive gold medals from the Chelsea Flower Show and maintains some 6,000,000 trees. For the lovers of gold and precious gems, there is also the world renowned Birmingham Jewellery Quarter and its museum. A must see for all visitors.

The City Library, Europe’s largest, is Birmingham’s biggest building and loans some 8,000,000 books each year. The varied Birmingham population has a wide and diverse number of religious buildings at their disposal including St Phillips, which was upgraded in status from church to cathedral in 1905, Birmingham has two other cathedrals, the Roman Catholic St Chad’s and the Greek Orthodox Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew. There is also the parish church of St Martin in the Bull Ring, the Singers Hill Synagogue, Birmingham Central Mosque and a re-developed mosque in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, the largest in the City, to name but a few.

For the shoppers amongst us, Birmingham has excellent and varied shops and stores, including the revamped Bull Ring Centre, the country’s busiest shopping centre, with its indoor, open and rag markets. The largest department store outside London, in the House of Fraser, Birmingham is also home to one of only four Selfridges Department Stores plus the second largest Debenhams branch in the country. If you want to take your shopping experience to a totally new level why not visit The Mailbox with its designer stores?

Birmingham’s Broad Street is the place to be after a hard day’s work. There are bars and clubs a plenty here and you will be sure to find something to suit your taste of the day. As well as the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham is also home to the International Convention Centre and the National Exhibition Centre which includes the LG Arena.

The NIA & LG Arena already have internationally known artists and shows booked for 2010 which include JLS, Strictly Come Dancing Live, The X Factor Live, Elvis Presley in Concert, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Westlife, Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, Leona Lewis, Moody Blues, Katherine Jenkins, Ronan Keating, The Four Tops & Temptations and Rod Stewart. The Birmingham Hotels are very varied offering accommodation to suite all tastes and pockets. The range from five star penthouse and executive accommodation to the more affordable bed and breakfast type.

The numerous Birmingham Restaurants offer a wide and varied international cuisine at a price range to suit all pockets. It is also the home of three Michelin starred chefs & restaurants in Purnell’s, Simpsons and Turners. Birmingham is also well known for its Chinese Quarter a colourful and vibrant community, offering restaurants and food second to none. In close proximity to Birmingham there are numerous places of interest such as Dudley Zoo, The Living Black Country Museum, West Midland Safari Park, Severn Valley Railway, Drayton Manor Park Warwick Castle, to name but a few.

Jazz also has a following in Birmingham and the annual Birmingham Jazz Festival is the largest in the UK. The internationally known City of Birmingham’s Symphony Orchestra’s home venue is Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. The Birmingham Royal Ballet is also city housed and so is the world’s oldest vocational dance school, Elmhurst School for Dance

In demographics the Birmingham population, from information available in 2007, was estimated as being 66.7% white, 21% Asian, 6.7% Black, 1.2% Chinese, 3.2% of mixed race and 1.2% of other ethnic heritage, 16.5% of the population were born outside the UK. In religion the estimated figures are 59.1% Christian, 14.3% Muslim, 2.9% Sikh, 2% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist & 0.2% Jewish, those with non religious beliefs accounted for 12.4% and no answer was offered by 8.4% of the population.

Two of the UK’s largest banks originated in Birmingham, Lloyds Bank (now Lloyds Banking Group following its takeover of TSB & HBOS) in 1765 and the Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank) in 1836. Birmingham is also home to daily papers the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail and also the Sunday Mercury. There are also a number of free papers in circulation, Forward is a free sheet, produced by Birmingham City Council and circulated to homes in the city, there is also a Metro edition covering the West Midlands. The edition covering the East Midlands is also based in Birmingham

The West Midlands Police Force oversees Birmingham and the County of the West Midlands, with its headquarters based in the city centre at Lloyds House. Birmingham is served by numerous national and regional radio plus local stations, which include BRMB, Heart, Smooth, BBC WM and Galaxy. As a point of interest The Archers, probably the world’s longest running soap radio series, is recorded for BBC Radio 4 in Birmingham.

We hope that you have found the aforementioned information associated with Birmingham and its surrounding areas of interest, and wish you, if we have convinced you that Birmingham is the place to be, “All the Best” in your future Birmingham involvement.

There are seven soccer secrets that any player can do that will increase their speed and agility and help them get stronger too. These Secrets should be learned by all soccer coaches. Speed kills on the soccer field and these seven secrets will help you race past your opponent.

  • The first secret is linear speed.
  • In order to put fear into a defense a player and a team needs to be fast. In order to be fast, there are two factors that can help increase speed for any player. The first factor is stride frequency. The faster a player moves his arms the faster his feet will move. The second factor is stride length. When running, a player should have her knee lift almost to belly button height.

  • The second secret is lateral speed.
  • Here a player is working on changing direction quickly. A player should be able to move in any direction and be able to do that at any speed…slow or fast. Important lateral movements include shuffles and side runs.

  • The third secret is stopping quickly and then exploding in a new direction
  • Many soccer players stop too upright putting a lot of stress on the knee plus when they do this they are not in a good position to explode into a new direction. Stopping quickly and safely requires players to drop their hips, bend their knees and take smaller steps as they attempt to stop.

  • The fourth secret is lower body strength
  • Getting stronger in their lower body will help all soccer players get faster and increase their speed through strength training. Lower body strength training should include strengthening a soccer players lower back, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles.

  • The fifth secret is anaerobic fitness
  • Training soccer players to be anaerobically fit will enhance many aspects of your teams soccer speed and skill performance. To train anaerobically, soccer players should work on many explosive 15-25 yards burst. In addition, these movements should include both linear (north/south) movements and lateral (east/west) movements.

  • The sixth secret is flexibility
  • The more flexible a soccer player is the less likely that they could get injured plus flexibility enhances speed and agility.

  • The seventh secret is nutrition
  • For soccer players to run fast and be explosive, they need to be properly fueled and hydrated. Helping your players with their nutrition will pay excellent dividends for you players.

    I have found that these seven secrets of soccer speed and agility help make all soccer players more athletic and thus more dangerous on the soccer field.

    Have a great day!

    We all know that playing professional soccer requires a big commitment for both physical training and mentally. However, the same is to be said for a food commitment and eating well. How you eat will depend on your performance both on and off of the soccer field; plus before and after the match.

    Below are some specialized soccer meals for a week. For professional soccer players.

    Monday

    • Breakfast: 1 cup powdered chocolate milk, breakfast cereals and a banana.
    • Lunch: Spaghetti, Beef filet with potato and tomato, and fruit salad.
    • Snack: Sandwich with ham and an orange juice.
    • Dinner: Vegetable soup, omelet, rice, and apple pie.

    Tuesday

    • Breakfast: 1 cup powdered chocolate milk, Toasted bread with olive oil and tomato, and an orange juice.
    • Lunch: Lentils Beans, bread crumb chicken fillet with mushrooms, and a yogurt with sugar.
    • Snack: Peanut butter sandwich and a fruit juice.
    • Dinner: Mixed salad, Salmon in sauce with fried potatoes, and strawberries with cream and sugar.

    Wednesday

    • Breakfast: 1 cup powdered chocolate milk, toast with butter and ham, and a fruit juice.
    • Lunch: Rice with vegetables, pork loin steak undressed breaded with lettuce and a yogurt with sugar.
    • Afternoon Snack: Cheese sub or sandwich and an orange juice.
    • Dinner: Mixed vegetables with peas with ham, grilled hen with lettuce and corn, and a yogurt.

    Thursday

    • Breakfast: a glass of chocolate milk powder, biscuits with butter and jam, and an orange juice.
    • Lunch: Cooked beans, Fried fish with lettuce and tomato, and Pineapple with honey
    • Snack: Ham sandwich.
    • Dinner: Mashed vegetables and grilled garlic & shrimp and plain yogurt with sugar.

    Friday

    • Breakfast: 1 cup powdered chocolate milk, Toasted bread with olive oil and tomato, and fruit salad.
    • Lunch: salad from the garden, rice with squid in its ink, and a custard.
    • Snack: Cottage cheese with honey and a banana.
    • Dinner: Noodle soup, sea bass baked with roast potatoes and two kiwis.

    Saturday

    • Breakfast: 1 yogurt cereal, homemade biscuit, and a fresh orange juice.
    • Lunch: Pasta a la carbonara, veal steak with fresh tomato and corn, and two tangerines.
    • Snack: Sandwich with serrano ham with fresh tomato and a fruit juice.
    • Dinner: vegetable soup, swordfish with mashed potatoes and a yoghurt with sugar.

    Sunday

    • Breakfast: 1 cup powdered chocolate milk, a croissant with jam and a fresh orange juice.
    • Lunch: Fried eggplant, Roasted chicken with mixed salad, and an apple with cheese.
    • Afternoon Snack: Egg Omelet (preferably yoak)
    • Dinner: Cream of spinach soup, Baked chicken with roasted tomato and a natural yogurt with sugar.

    Soccer boots are becoming a basic necessity for this popular game. The latest technology has made it possible for manufacturers to introduce various styles and designs. But the question is can you buy cheap soccer cleats? Well, yes, but you have to keep a few important things in mind. Given below are some of the important tips that you may want to consider when making the selection.

    Comfort

    Your shoes have to be comfortable. Period. If you don’t feel comfortable in your shoes, you won’t be able to enjoy your game.

    Budget

    If you have set a budget, don’t cross it. Cheap soccer cleats are out there, so you don’t have to spend all your wealth on them. If you want to spend $60, say, don’t spend $100. Going over your budget will only create problems for you.

    Looks matter

    You have to be honest with yourself. No matter what type of player you are or what budget you have decided on, you may want to go for a good looking pair.

    Size matters too

    You won’t be able to run or kick if you are wearing a too big pair of shoes. The same goes if you are wearing tight shoes. While a smaller size can save you some money, it won’t help you play well on the pitch.

    Shop around

    You are not bound to buy from the first shop you find amazing. By shopping around, you can see a lot of variety. Aside from this, visiting different shops will give you a very good idea of the how much you should pay for a pair of shoes that you need. Plus, you can get discounts if you find a shop that offers discounts on the pair you like.

    Try before you make payment

    Before you make payment at the counter, don’t forget to put on the shoes and walk around for a while. This will give a great satisfaction that the boots you have bought are the right fit for you.

    Don’t follow the trends blindly

    Don’t buy a pair just because your favorite soccer player wore them. That could be a good pair for you, but you don’t know it yet. You still need to try it before buying.

    Before you buy online

    It’s best if you don’t buy your soccer shoes online. While you can get some cheap soccer cleats online, you have a greater chance of getting a pair that will be the wrong size for you. It’s can be too big or too small. You can’t make a choice based on the pictures of the boots you have seen on their website. But if you already have the same pair that you saw on an online store and you want another pair, you can go ahead and place an order online.

    So, the next time you think about buying a cheap pair of soccer shoes, don’t forget to consider these easy tips. You don’t want to end up with a pair of shoes that won’t you or that will make you feel uncomfortable on the pitch.

    The Federation Internationale de Football Association proudly brings the FIFA World Cup to the soccer world every four years. The men's national football teams of many countries vie to take part in this esteemed event. A nation that plays football must first qualify for the qualifier matches that are held prior to the big event if they want to qualify. As of now 32 teams are chosen for the competition that lasts for one month.

    The 19th FIFA World Cup Series will be organized and launched in South Africa, taking place from June 11th until July 11th, 2010. The first African nation to hold the World Cup is going to be South Africa. Zakumi, the event's mascot, is an adorable leopard-like cartoon animal with green hair and a yellow body. A perfect slogan was selected to suit this occasion: "Zakumi's game is Fair Play." The matches will be played over a one-month period in ten different venues. Much money has been spent on building five new football stadiums, and additional moneys have been spent on renovating five old stadiums. The renovation work is going on in the following locations:

    Port Elizabeth: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
    Durban: Moses Mabhida Stadium
    Johannesburg: Ellis Park Stadium
    Cape Town: Cape Town Stadium
    Pretoria: Loftus Versfeld Stadium
    Bloemfontein: Free State Stadium
    Nelspruit: Mbombela Stadium
    Polokwane: Peter Mokaba Stadium
    Rustenburg: Royal Bafokeng Stadium
    Johannesburg: Soccer City

    The public will greatly benefit from the construction of new roads and the improvement of transportation services.

    An incredible number of fans are expected to arrive in South Africa before the opening ceremonies even beginning because the FIFA World Cup Series is, without a doubt, a major event for all football enthusiasts. There are four groups in this year's world cup in which the 32 nations are divided into for the competition.

    Group A consist of the following: Action will take place in the following venues: Spain, the Netherlands, England, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, Germany and Argentina.

    Group B consists of the following: Ghana, Nigeria, Uruguay, Cameroon, Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Paraguay, Chile,

    C Group: Korea DPR, Australia, Japan, Honduras, United States, Korea Republic, New Zealand, Mexico.

    Fourth group: Slovakia, France, Greece, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovakia, Slovakia,

    The last match will happen on July 11, 2010 and the beginning and ending ceremonies for this event will be done on a big scale with various popular celebrities and performers participating in these celebrations.

    Every now and then something happens in our lives that make’s us feel very unique within ourselves, in my case this was watching a football match. This was a very important game for me to watch as it was the team that I have supported for so long! In fact all my life I have been a Liverpool FC supporter, I have seen some great times and not so great times especially in the last few years. Yes! We won three trophies in one particular season and that was great but even then there was still something missing. With the history of this great football club Liverpool FC has the best record when it comes to winning the English League. They have won the European Cup more times than any other British Football team and on this day May 25th 2005 they would find themselves with another golden opportunity of clinching this wonderful Cup with the big ears, now called the Champions League trophy.

    So there I was anticipating this match which had the elements of being a classic football spectacular. In one corner you had the mighty team from Italy, AC MILAN. With a star studied team of great soccer professionals from Paolo Maldini, Andriy Shevchenko and the talented new Brazilian play maker Kaka. In the other corner you had my team Liverpool, who somehow with an awful Premiership league campaign behind them where they could only finish fifth behind their city rivals Everton and miss out on an Automatic Champions League place for the following season but Inspired by two scousers, club captain Steven Gerrard and the irrepressible Jamie Carragher through out the season, found themselves in the most lucrative football match in world football. It was a dream not only for the players but for all the Liverpool fans all around the world to see this great football club back where it belonged, at the top of the ladder in world football. So on this night two great teams steeped in history battled for a place in history.

    Going back to my day I rang a very good friend of mine and asked her if she wanted to watch the game with me at a local bar…she said, yes! It was to be her first time watching a game like this and she was very excited by it all because everyone was talking about it…so we met up the and walked down to the bar. As we entered we could see that the place was streaming with Liverpool fans but you did have the odd Milan fan or two hiding and keeping a low profile in the corner of the bar.

    So we found a nice spot to get a good view of the game and ordered some beers. You could feel the

    Anticipation of it all by the look of the Liverpool fans in the bar, some where very cheerful!

    Others looked just happy to be there. I was calm from the outside but on the inside I was a mess.

    The big screens on the walls which seemed bigger than they actually were had everyone’s attention, even some of the bar staff would have a little peak at the screens, the place was buzzing.

    My friend took out her cigarettes and lit up one, she was lucky to have that comfort, all I wanted at that moment was my beer to arrive and the game to start. Then as we watched the Players came out, there was a loud cheer from the bar crowd and one set of lads starting to sing ‘You’ll never walk alone’. I started to feel a little better and starting to sing along with them but only in my head. Then the game started and all I was thinking was that we must try to put as much pressure on the Milan players from the get go. Then we gave away an early free-kick but at that moment our beers arrived and the girl who brought it to us took my attention for a second or two and in that moment Milan had scored a goal…There was a hush of silence now from the bar and as I looked around I could see people in total shock at what had just happened. Me I was thinking that stupid left back of ours Djimi Traore is an awful player and not fit to wear the Liverpool shirt but he would later prove me and everyone wrong. My friend tried to give me some moral support by smiling and saying, don’t worry I still think Liverpool will win…I just looked sternly towards the screen with distain.

    The game was all Milan’s; they were winning all the tackles, getting free-kicks in dangerous places. The Liverpool players look tired, unsure and beaten almost, it was not a pretty sight; they were chasing shadows it seemed. I just kept looking around the bar trying to ignore just what was happening and then it got worst. What looked like a penalty to Liverpool was denied and within seconds Milan broke away and scored. Then just before the half time break Milan broke away once more and scored a third, by now everyone in the bar was silent and stunned but the odd Milan fans I mentioned earlier were singing away happily in the corner. I was gutted! I look at my friend and said, lets go… She looked at me and said, Ok! And as we walked out I looked back and glanced at my fellow supporters and hoped that Liverpool would not be embarrassed and come out in the second half and show some heart. As we walked home to my house I told my friend that I would cook for her and that we could watch the rest of the game at my place.

    We arrived at my home just as the second half was about to start, I turned on the TV and then took out a bottle of red wine, opened it and poured two large glasses and gave one to my friend.

    She sat down and suddenly said, you know what Mark, ‘It’s never over until the fat lady sings’.

    I think Liverpool can still make a come back and win she added. I just looked at her again thinking this girl knows nothing about football because if she did she would know that Milan would never give away three goals to a team that they have just outplayed for 45 minutes and with their defensive nature it would be totally impossible for Liverpool to make a comeback. So I smiled at her and told her to drink her wine while I prepared the dinner. As I was cutting vegetables in my kitchen, I could hear her shouting at the TV, which was strange because she did not do this in the Bar. So I took a little peak for myself and noticed that Liverpool had made some changes, The German midfielder Dietmar Hamann was now on the pitch and this gave me some hope that Liverpool could keep the score decent at least. But what it also did as well was make Steven Gerrard free to roam and move forward.

    Then there was another scream from my living room, my friend was jumping around I came in quietly and Liverpool had scored. It was Steven Gerrard, the change in tactic had worked, Liverpool seemed more up for this game now and the players looked different somehow but Milan remained confident then two minutes later the game turned on its head, the ball was played to Vladimir Smicer and he drilled the ball home from 20 yards and Liverpool where back in the game, I came running into the room screaming with joy at what had just happen. The air was electric once more, I could not leave the living room and all of a sudden the game changed again. The Milan players looked shell shocked because within a few minutes Liverpool was on level terms. Gerrard dashed into the Milan’s penalty box and was fouled. It was a certain penalty, at this point I was on my knees yelling at the ceiling. I am sure my neighbours could hear everything. Even my friend was jumping for joy shouting, I told you, I told you!!!

    She was right! She proved one thing to me and that was all the Soccer Pundits and I knew nothing about Football! Could they do it, could they actually win this match? No team had ever come back from three goals down to win a Champions League Final. I had to stop cooking at that point and told her that dinner will just have to wait and so we drank more wine and watched the rest of the match with our hearts in our mouths. It seemed that both of us had turns in screaming at the TV and this would continue right up until that now famous Jerzy Dudek ‘Hand of God’ save which denied Shevchenko the winner for Milan in the dying seconds of extra time. We were both quiet and I had my head in my hands at that moment…The referee blew for full time and the game was over. At that point I had to get up and walk around the house, nervous like hell! I walked back into the living room, listening to the commentator remarking about how Liverpool had won on a penalty shoot out against Roma in 1984 and our goalkeeper at the time Bruce Grobballar saved two penalties by putting off the Roma players as much as he could and now it had almost seemed like deja vous.

    Who would be the villain and who would be the hero, it was now a lottery!

    I needed more wine so I opened up another bottle, my friend could not drink no more she was just adamant that Liverpool would win. She remarked, look at the Milan Players they don’t look happy!

    I had a look and noticed the same thing! They seem beaten before the first spot kick.

    She was right, our goalkeeper did everything he could to put off Milan’s first spot kick taker Serginho and it worked! He missed, blazing the ball high over the bar. It was our turn next and I was not worried because it was our Germany International Dietmar Hamann and as predicted he scored. I was calm but still nervous, it was their turn once more, surely they would score but once again Jerzy Dudek’s antics on the goal line did the job and he saved very easily. We would be now 2-0 up if French International Striker Djibril Cisse would score and after suffering a broken Leg and missing most of the season he shows his class and calmly placed the ball to the right of Milan’s Goalkeeper Dida’s goal giving him no chance. It was in our hands now, just two more spots kicks and we would be Champions of Europe. Kaka would score from his spot kick…then our hearts were in our mouths when our left mid-fielder John Arne Riise missed his spot kick, it was now 2-1 but still in our favour and before we knew it, Danish international Jon Dahl Tomasson made it 2-2.

    So up stepped the Czech Striker Vladimir Smicer, playing probably his last game for Liverpool FC and his best game ever in my mind for the team, he calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-2 to us…My friend and I was so tense, the room was silent apart from the TV. Then Milan’s leading goal scorer stepped up to the plate, Andriy Shevchenko, the man who was denied the winner before the end of extra time. As he approached Dudek threw him the ball, he look anxious and nervous and did not look confident. Somehow I knew he would miss and he did…For a split second my heart had stopped and I sunk to my knees and just started to scream with ecstasy, my dream had come true, the Players dreams were for filled! My football team had won. Life could not be any better…I was emotionally drained by it all and was sure all the people in the stadium, the viewers and all the millions of people around the world were too. My friend and I were just hugging each other and kissing. I kept saying, that its time to get drunk and forgetting that I was suppose to be cooking dinner for the both of us! So we continued to watch the rest of the coverage on the box and as Steven Gerrard lifted the trophy and the commentator shouted out ‘Liverpool Are Kings of Europe’ a tear came to my eyes. In that moment I was in wonderland just like those players. As far as I was concerned they were Legends now no matter what they did for the rest of their lives, from this moment on they would always remember and treasure.

    I started to also think about all those who had lost their lives going to see Liverpool play, all the disasters that had occurred during football matches. My heart went out to them…it’s moments like this that makes it possible to see just why football is so important to the man and woman on the street. We relate to it in so many ways. We support our teams because we choose to and win, lose or draw all the emotions that this sport and all the other sports may muster are worth it for moments like these. So when it was all over and as I tried to figure out what had just happened, one thing dawned on me and that was it’s the Simple things in Life that I cherish the most and watching my team play is one of them.

    2005-06-04

    By Mark J Stevens©

    Are you a high school soccer player or even in middle school? Or perhaps you’re a parent of a soccer player and looking to help them improve either in skills or conditioning. There are lots of ways to improve in soccer but one of the best techniques is to learn how to set goals.

    When you be come an expert at goal setting, you will be able to quickly improve your soccer skills. You will also find that goal setting will help you with your soccer conditioning, grades and any other area of your life.

    Here are the first steps in setting your soccer goals:

    1. Have a dream. This is the big picture. Do you want to be in the Olympics? Play in the World Cup? Perhaps go overseas and play in a European league. When choosing your dream, the only real requirement is that it excite you. It should fill you with passion and excitement.

    2. Write this dream down. Use a 2 x 5 card and keep it with you. Write down in a journal. Did you know, that writing your goals and dreams down is one of the most important things you can do to achieve them? It’s true. And don’t be afraid to write it down many times and many places. The more you write them down, the more they will become part of you.

    3. Review your dreams frequently. Reviewing your dreams is important. There are many obtacles along the way to your goals. You will have set-backs and frustrations. You want reinforce the desire to achieve them.

    4. Imagine achieving them. When you practice or go to a game, visualize and imagine your dream. Imagine scoring the winning goal at the World Cup. Imagine being the most valuable player on your team.

    Having a dream is very important for soccer success. It is only the first step. Take a few minutes after reading this to write down what your dream is. The next part will take you closer to achieving it.