Martin O'Neill resigns as Aston Villa manager : Just five days before the start of the Premier League season. Why did he do it? Where is he off to?
I invented the vuvuzela.: Meet Freddie Maake.
Obama is a soccer fan.: West Ham invite Obama to watch a game at Upton Park. Apparently, he watched a Hammers game in 2003 while visiting his half-sister in London (article doesn't say if it was live, home, away or on the telly). Obama's older daughter plays on a soccer team. Change we can believe in.
Nigerian businessmen bid for Newcastle: A Nigerian consortium wants to become the first African owners of an EPL team. It is unclear if their bid was sent by email. Or if it required the opening of a local bank account.
Manchester City make it the Big Five.: The final day of the EPL's season-opener transfer window turns out to be a historic day for the blue side of Manchester.
Dara Torres, 41, qualifies for Olympics, rewrites swimming records.: Dara Torres qualified for her fifth Olympics, 24 years after her debut in 1984. At 41, two years after having a child, she's still kicking ass and breaking records. Torres swears by resistance stretching and has volunteered for drug tests amid allegations of steroid use. Awesome pic (holy six-pack, Batman!) and more detail about Torres at kottke.org (where I first learned of Dara), plus even more detail at NYT and Wikipedia.
Remi Gaillard, soccer prankster (video): In celebration of Euro 2008, public prankster ... Rémi Gaillard made the following video of himself using the urban landscape as a soccer pitch. He scores goals into an occupied ambulance, trash cans, a trash truck, a police station entrance, a second storey window, a drive thru window, a fountain, a monument, a lighting structure, a manhole (heh), a pizza vendor truck, all with victims in attendance.
Paul Ince is Blackburn's new manager and first black English manager in EPL.: Frenchman Jean Tigana with Fulham and (Dutch/Surinamese) Ruud Gullit with Chelsea and Newcastle are the only other two black managers to have managed in the Premier League. Ince will be officially presented as Blackburn's manager on Tuesday.
Scolari is new Chelsea coach, effective July 1.: Looks like Avram Grant was a stopgap until they found a big name. Now they've found one in the current Portugal coach (who also won something called the World Cup as Brazil's coach in 2002), who's doing quite well at the Euro 2008 championship right now.
Kicking It: The Movie (QuickTime).: [via coudal] In the summer of 2006, while the football world's attention was focused on Germany, thousands of players around the globe were training hard and competing to be part of ... The Homeless World Cup. ... 500 homeless players from 48 nations would ultimately be selected to represent their country in Cape Town, South Africa—coming from such disparate parts of the world as war torn Afghanistan, the slums of Kenya, the drug rehab clinics of Dublin, Ireland, the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, the overflowing public shelters of Madrid, Spain, and the unforgiving city of St. Petersburg, Russia ... The film follows seven players ... as they confront the daily challenges of life on the streets, battle drug and alcohol addiction, and fight for the right to be recognized as human beings. ... From shattering misconceptions about the homeless to seeing people living at the edge of society discover that they also can be winners, the film shows in a real and powerful way that sports can and does change lives. This completes my soccer trifecta for today. Amen.
16 nations vie for Euro 2008 title beginning June 7.: Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Greece, Russia, Spain, Spain, Sweden. Who's your pick to win it? Who will be the surprise team? Where can we watch live in the US for free at home (or can we)? Get the ball rolling inside.
Mark Hughes is new Manchester City manager.: The former Manchester United star and Blackburn Rovers manager takes over from Sven-Goran Eriksson. The article also mentions that Hughes was non-committal on the impending purchases of Brazilians Ronaldinho and Jo. The next Manchester derby should be a rousing affair, with Hughes going up against old boss Alex Ferguson. Meanwhile, with Hughes' move, Chelsea loses yet another candidate to replace the departed Avram Grant. And Blackburn appear to be in no hurry to fill Hughes' spot, with candidates such as Sam Allardyce (late of Newcastle and Bolton) lined up.
Mourinho to Inter Milan, targets Chelsea trio.: The Special One lands at Inter, and speculation is he will go after Essien, Drogba and Lampard.
IPL hits for six with faster, sexier cricket (NPR audio link).: The Indian Premier League scores a resounding succes by juicing up cricket with a new league featuring shorter games, snazzy teams and even cheerleaders (imported from Europe and the US). All hail the Bangalore Royal Challengers, Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, and Deccan Chargers!
WuChess: Where hip-hop meets chess.: Like the Wu-Tang Clan? Like Chess? Awwww yeah - this is the site for you. Play live chess with people from all over the world and get your learn on. WuChess.com lets you get knowledge from REAL chess masters online, or train in chambers against the computer to refine your skills. Create your own chess clans to see who can build the highest ranking. Play in tournaments for prizes, or just for the joy of flexin' ya mentals. They also donate part of their revenues to Hip-Hop Chess Federation ("Using chess, music and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and non-violence). Now you can be a Grand Master in rap, chess and kung-fu. This is too cool.
Whiffle hurling.: Like the Irish sport, only with whiffle ball and bats. And a sombrero, apparently (see video). Looks like fun.
Manchester City qualify for UEFA Cup based on good behavior.: They almost lost the spot to Fulham, who barely escaped relegation from the EPL. "The fair play system awards points based on criteria including respect for opponents and the referee, positive play as well as the number of yellow and red cards received. City will not be able to host the first qualifying round tie at Eastlands as the pitch is due to be relaid once a Bon Jovi concert has taken place on 22 June."
Seattle Sounders announce new fan association with power to vote GM off the team, thanks to Drew Carey.: Members can be nominated and selected to the Sounders FC Association Council on a yearly basis. Those interested must receive at least 25 nominations from other association members, with the first nominations accepted next month. Association membership is free for all season-ticket holders. Non-season-ticket holders can join beginning in June for an annual fee of $125. Benefits include voting privilege, a membership pin and card, a discount at team shops and an invitation to the annual meeting — which Carey himself will host beginning later this year.
Wigan coach and former Man U captain Bruce vows 100% effort against former boss Ferguson.: The final games in the EPL will be played this Sunday. Chelsea and Man U are tied on points at the top of the league, with Man U holding a 17-goal advantage over Chelsea on goal difference. However, if Chelsea win, and Man U have anything less than a win against Wigan (who won the former League and European Cup honors with Man U), it will be the Blues taking the championship away from the current holders. All this, ahead of a Champions League final between Chelsea and Man U. It's all Man U's to lose. And it's happened before, exactly 40 years ago.
College junior self-declares for 2008 NBA draft.: [via kottke.org] No skills? No agent? No problem.
Chelsea beat Liverpool, set up final battles with Man Utd for Premier League and Champions League: Chelsea broke their Liverpool and Champions League jinx with a 3-2 (4-3 aggregate) win to move into the final against Premier League leaders Manchester United. Has this ever happened before, where the same top two domestic teams (they are tied on points but United has far superior goal difference with two matches to go) are also in the Champions League final?
Cheerleader death renews calls for increased safety steps.: "Figures show 50 percent of injuries to young women in high school athletics are from cheerleading," [state Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian, chairman of the Public Health Oversight Committee] said. "These girls don’t wear pads, and they’re pushing the boundaries at every turn. While the boys' sports, contact sports, get all the attention, there's a great deal of injuries these young women endure."
Formula One president caught in Nazi bondage orgy scandal.: [Max] Mosley's five-hour encounter with five women in a bondage orgy has prompted accusations of Nazi role-playing and engulfed the Formula One racing world in a leadership crisis that prompted the sport's ruling body Wednesday to announce a meeting of its governing assembly June 3 to decide whether Mosley can keep his post.