Tag Archives: Soccer

BWG soccer teams were at it again this weekend


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Blau Weiss Gottschee

Many of the Blau Weiss Gottschee soccer teams took the pitch this weekend seeking victory.

The biggest story for the BWG teams was the BWG Girls 98 Blue team winning the 2015 NYC College Showcase Tournament. They defeated the Bridgeport Premier team 1-0 in the finals of the tournament.

The BWG Blue U8 team played a very good game and beat Vera Soccer Club 6-2 in their second game of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League’s (CJSL) A Division. In the same division, the BWG Royals were victorious 1-0 against Korabi SC.

The BWG U9 White team played two games over the weekend, but failed to win either game. BWG fell 1-2 against FC Select Orange and lost 5-0 against Chelsea Piers.

In the second game of the young CJSL season, the BWG 2004 White lost to the Manhattan Kickers 2004 by a score of 3-8.

The BWG pre-academy 2002 teams played over the weekend as well with mixed results. The BWG 2002 White team won their game against Oakwood, 6-5. The BWG 2002 Blue team tied both of their contests, 4-4 against NYSC and 1-1 against Albertson.

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BWG soccer teams open up spring season with big wins


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy BWG Soccer

Many of the Blau Weiss Gottschee (BWG) soccer club teams kicked off their 2015 spring seasons on Saturday, March 28.

The BWG U8 Blue team had its first league game of the spring season and dominated the entire match, winning 8-2 against Dutch Total Soccer.

The BWG U9 White team played two matches over the weekend. In the first contest, the U9 team won 3-0 versus the Manhattan Kickers. Goals were scored by Jakub Rembiszewski, Malik Mashrigi and Kevin Uni.

In the second game of the young Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) season, the BWG U9 White team beat PSG 3-1. Goals were scored by Joaquin Franco, Marco Bogdanovick and Dylan Gage.

In its first game of the season in CJSL, the BWG 2004 White U10 team defeated NY Stars Premier Pulsar by a score of 7-1. The U10 team took a four-goal lead in the first half with a quick passing attack. Fortunately in the second half, the BWG team was able to keep up the pressure and preserve its large lead.

The BWG U10 girls won their opening game against Gotham Girls FC 9-1. Goals by Ashley Keiblesz (3), Ashley Chimborazo (2), Alexa Kieblesz, Sydney Morgan, Isabella Muro and Raquel Gonzalez sealed the deal in this one-sided match.

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Inclusive Queens soccer program teaches kids skills beyond the field


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Soccer Kids NYC

BY ANGELA MATUA

A new soccer program for children in Queens hopes to have kids setting goals on and off the field.

Soccer Kids NYC was created by Noe Canales in September 2014 after he noticed that other programs did not focus on teaching lessons that could translate to all aspects of a child’s life.

Canales said that Soccer Kids NYC strives to teach not only the fundamentals of soccer but also skills that children can utilize off the field like teamwork, respect and perseverance.

Soccer Kids NYC differs from other programs in several ways. Canales, who is a certified special education teacher, integrates children with special needs into all classes. He hopes to remove the stigma that families of special needs children typically deal with.

“Soccer Kids NYC wants to help in getting rid of that pervasive thinking,” Canales said of the three-month course that costs $179. “Our mission cuts across all lines; our program is for children with special needs and typically developing children. We don’t believe in labels except for our kids’ names.”

He believes this inclusiveness contributes to the program’s 99 percent retention rate. The coaches at Soccer Kids NYC also strive to make their classes affordable for everyone, he said. Though children typically attend classes once a week, students are encouraged to join other classes if there is available space at no extra cost. They also provide a refund to all families who are not satisfied with the program.

Scouting the right coaches is important for Canales, who is also a teacher at TheraCare Preschool Services, a preschool in Rego Park that accommodates children with and without special needs. Coaches are trained extensively until they are ready to lead a class. This approach is the reason he can provide a quality program, he said.

“My experience with larger programs has been that they will first find a location to expand and then work on hiring and staffing those classes with a coach,” Canales said. “This approach hinders the quality of a program as many times these coaches are not fully trained to lead a class and consequently, our kids get the short end of the stick.”

Every season, parents are encouraged to leave feedback for the coaches. Canales said they have not received any negative feedback yet, but the coaches still come together to reflect on ways to make the program better.

The feedback has been all amazing,” Canales said. “This is something that we feel extremely proud of.”

Classes are taught in Bayside, Woodhaven, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Flushing, Kew Gardens and other parts of Queens. Canales said they are not in a rush to expand but would like to eventually teach classes in other parts of Queens and New York.

 

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NY Cosmos introduce Raúl


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In a press conference held on Tuesday at the Four Season Hotel in New York, Soccer legend, Raúl Gonzalez Blanco, was officially introduced by the New York Cosmos as their new signing for the 2015 North American Soccer League (NASL) season.

Raúl built his legendary career playing for Real Madrid, a Spanish Club considered by many to be the among the top three soccer clubs in the world. His professional career with “el club merengue” lasted 16 years, from 1994 through 2010. In his tenure, Raúl became the club’s leading scorer, was instrumental in the winning 6 La Liga championships, three UEFA Championships and several other national titles. After leaving Real, he played for Schalke in the Bundesliga and for Al-Sadd in Qatar.

“As an organization, we are committed to laying the strongest foundation possible, on which to build our future success” Said the Chairman, of the Cosmos, Seamus O’Brien. “Raúl’s commitment, not only to play but to lead our academy in the years ahead, is central to our plans ensuring our long-term growth and development. But perhaps most importantly, for building the ties to the communities, in which we live and work.”

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Site near Aqueduct could be home to new MLS stadium: report


| slicata@queenscourier.com

File photo

A new soccer stadium is trying to kick its way near Aqueduct Racetrack.

After plans to build the New York City Football Club’s new stadium in the South Bronx fell through, developers are now looking at land near the Aqueduct Racetrack, according to a published report.

The owners of the club, Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees, are looking to develop the stadium near the racetrack because they believe there is “an abundance of land primed for development,” according to Capital New York.

This plan for an MLS stadium would be the second one proposed in Queens. Plans fell through for the first soccer venture in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The club is working with city administrators to find a proper fit for the stadium.

“The administration is committed to working with the City Council and the NYCFB club to identify an appropriate site in New York City to host a world class soccer stadium and facility,” Phil Walzak, a spokesman for the de Blasio administration, told Capital New York.

But the possibility for a new stadium in south Queens was met with skepticism from local politicians.

“Currently, I am extremely hesitant to welcome a soccer stadium to the Aqueduct site,” state Sen. Joe Addabbo said. “Exact location and size of the stadium, traffic patterns, public safety and the certain impact on the surrounding neighborhood quality of life are just some of the issues that I would need answers to in examining this proposal. My constituents need as many facts as possible now, as we start to have discussions on this issue.”

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US Open inadvertently shines a light on local soccer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

For many tennis fans the US Open is the closest thing to heaven.

The chance to watch the world’s premier tennis players battle for the country’s top title and partake in numerous tennis-related activities draws some 700,000 fans annually to the two-week sporting event in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

But inadvertently, the Grand Slam literally shone a light on soccer as The Courier observed fans of the world’s most popular sport playing games under the lights of a US Open parking lot on Monday—the tournament’s opening night.

Soccer 1

The soccer players were of various ages and played mixed-gender pick-up games, complete with two white mini goals.

Anyone who frequents Flushing Meadows Corona Park knows how popular soccer is for local players and fans. On any given day—with appropriate climate conditions—the fields are occupied with soccer matches for various age groups.

The sport is so popular officials tried to build a 20,000 to 25,000-seat stadium in the park for a new MLS team. But park advocates fought to keep the stadium out.

Since the soccer fields don’t have lights, most stop playing when it becomes night time, according to players.

However, temporary lights have been set up in the US Open “H” parking lot near the New York Hall of Science as evening matches tend to run late into the night, giving Queens soccer lovers some extra playing time.

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Woodside resident writes book on famed Brazilian soccer player


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

One Woodside resident has scored a goal in the literary world.

Dominique Beaucant, who is originally from France and came to the United States in 1978, is the author of the privately published book called “Garrincha – O Rei Dos Reis,” meaning “Garrincha – A King of Kings.”

The book looks back on the life of Brazilian soccer player Garrincha, whose real name was Manuel “Mané” Francisco dos Santos.

Garrincha, who passed away in 1983, was known for his “dribble” on the soccer field and also for his bent legs which did not prevent him from helping the South American national team take home World Cup titles in 1958 and 1962. He was referred to as nicknames such as “People’s Joy” and “Bent–Legged Angel.”

“He was more than a soccer player, he was a phenomenon,” Beaucant said. “When I saw a book that came out in 1995, I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to do a book one day that gives justice to this great player.’”

The 56-year-old Woodside resident began learning about Brazilian soccer players from his sixth-grade teacher Walter Durando in France. Every time he got together with his teacher he would ask to learn more and before making his trip to America he was given a collection of hundreds of magazine and newspaper clippings of the soccer duo.

As the years went by, his admiration for Garrincha grew into more than just hobby.

“That’s how it started and I never stopped,” Beaucant said. “I was fascinated by the guy, who he was and what he did on the field.”

In 1995, Beaucant, who has been a freelance writer and chef, began jotting down notes on Garrincha and throughout the years kept filling his drawers with hundreds of notes. In 2011, he began combining the notes and started writing the 288-page book.

To complete the book, which is written in Portuguese, contains 245 photographs and comes in a slip case, Beaucant looked back at his large Garrincha collection of newspaper and magazine clippings and images.

He has also traveled to Brazil and Europe for seven years, meeting Garrincha’s family and childhood friends.

More than 100 photographs in the book are never-before-seen images from the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe.”

Each book will be sold individually by Beaucant for $150 and he is plans of taking out a second book on Garrincha as well.

“I never did this book to make money. I never did this book to make a big profit,” Beaucant said. “This book is a result of all of my love, admiration, infatuation, respect and admiration for Garrincha.”

Although the book was printed by a company in New Jersey, the typesetting, cover design and embossing was done by Ebrahim Jaffer of Triboro Printing located at 25-02 Steinway St. in Astoria.

“[Garrincha] is no longer with us physically, but with this book his spirit and his soul [are] still living,”

Beaucant said. “The angel with bent legs, how he was known before, somehow is being reborn and the divine angel that he was is going to fly again.”

For more information or to purchase a book you can email Beaucant at copade58brasilcampeao@aim.com or call 718-626-0486.

 

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Queens College soccer alum to train with Liverpool, Arsenal, AC Milan


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Queens College

After recovering from six surgeries, former Queens College soccer captain Peter Touros is making strides toward his dream to become a pro.

The Astoria native was chosen as one of five grand prize winners in Gatorade’s “Unreal Around the World” contest and will have the opportunity to train with elite football clubs Liverpool, Arsenal, Barcelona, AC Milan and Boca Juniors. He’ll also travel to Brazil for a scrimmage game at Maracanã Stadium, the site of the 2014 World Cup final.

“It’s absolutely tremendous. He’s a great kid and he has been through a lot,” said Queens College soccer head coach Carl Christian. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I compare it to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s the golden ticket.”

Touros, who scored five goals and led the 2013 Queens College team to a 9-5-3 overall record, suffered three of his six injuries — a torn labrum and two ACL tears — during his soccer college career.

The Gatorade contest challenged entrants to demonstrate how training and hard work could translate into success. Touros submitted a video entitled “6 Surgeries Won’t Stop Me,” in which he performed a number of high level shots. Now he’ll be able to train with some of the world’s top teams.

“After all I think he’s been through, it’s well-deserved,” Christian said.

Click here to see Touros’ video.

 

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Ridgewood, Glendale German ancestry revealed in World Cup


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Gottscheer Hall

Most bars will be broadcasting the World Cup game this weekend but to celebrate it in true Deutsch fashion, Ridgewood and Glendale maintain a healthy group of German bars that harken back to the German ancestry of the area.

Gottscheer Hall on Fairview Avenue will be open on Sunday, a day that they usually close on, for the game. Roland Belay, who is the secretary for the bar and grill, plans to meet the game between Germany and Argentina with a full force of potato pancakes with applesauce, goulash , bratwurst, German pretzels and a whole menu of German-Austrian food that is sehr gut.

“The whole purpose of this building is to maintain our heritage,” said Belay, whose parents left the once Austrian-owned Gottschee region. “It’s a very homey atmosphere and we keep all the traditions alive here.”

Other German bars in the area to watch the game include: Zum Stammtisch and Celtic Gasthau on Myrtle Avenue, and Manor Oktoberfest on Cooper Avenue.

“This is definitely the area for German fans to hang out,” Belay said. “But we won’t be mean to the other side.”

 

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Queens: Your best destination for the World Cup


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SoccerBallFlagsHC1306_X_300_C_Y

JONATHAN WHITE

Soccer, or football as it’s known everywhere but in the U.S., is the world’s favorite sport — and every four years the planet is transfixed as the top national teams from around the world gather to crown a champion at soccer’s World Cup. 2014 is a World Cup year, and this year the month-long, 32-team competition will take place in Brazil starting Thursday.

With major network and cable operators looking to cash in on global soccer’s booming popularity here, television coverage will be ubiquitous, and you’ll be able to watch every game from the comfort of your own home (or at any bar, restaurant or hair salon with a TV, for that matter). But with the diversity and sheer size of New York’s international communities, the city offers even the most casual soccer fan a lot more than just a slew of accessible places to watch games. In fact, if you’re looking to get the full global flavor of the competition there is probably no better place in the world to watch the Cup, outside of the stadiums themselves in Brazil, than right here. And nowhere in New York City will you find better home-cooked soccer fever than in Queens, the diversity capital of the world.

Neighborhoods like Astoria, Corona and Jackson Heights, home to communities with some of the richest soccer traditions on the planet, will be a sea of national shirts and a global street party during the World Cup. And throughout the borough there will be any number of bars and restaurants filled with folks from every country in the competition, and those who love them, faithfully recreating the particular soccer mania of wherever “home” is.

In addition, Queens is also home to the oldest, biggest and some of the best soccer-watching spots the entire City has to offer — including beach bars that if you squint hard enough, just might make you think you’re actually in Rio itself. So buy your flag-capes, check out the list of teams and places here, and draw up your itinerary for where in Queens you’re going to watch the games you most want to see.

Algeria
The eastern part of Steinway Boulevard in Astoria has a large and vibrant North African population that includes one of the largest Algerian communities in the country — and soccer fans who come out in droves for big games. Tiny Caffe Borbone (25-07 Steinway/718-777-1023) is one spot many Algerian fans traditionally gather.

Argentina
As one of the tournament favorites, Argentina’s games and their star Lionel Messi will be closely watched everywhere. For the full-bore Argentine experience, however, head to La Esquina Criolla (94-67 Corona Ave./718-699-5579) or El Gauchito (94-60 Corona Ave./718-271-8198), two traditional Argentine steakhouses across the street from each other in this Argentina/Uruguay section of Corona, and Boca Juniors (81-08 Queens Blvd./718-429-2077) in Elmhurst — another steakhouse dedicated to all things related to Boca, one of Argentina’s biggest soccer clubs, and Maradona, Boca’s most famous player.

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Bosnia-Herzegovina put up the best record in its World Cup qualifying group and featured two of the top four scorers in all of European qualifying — all while qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in its history as a country. No doubt their fans gathering at cozy Sheher Restaurant (28-51 42nd St./347-484-4045) and tiny Cevabdzinica Sarajevo (37-18 34th Ave./718-752-9528) will likely be among the happiest and angst-free of any you’ll see all month.

Brazil
Astoria/Long Island City is also home to the City’s large Brazilian community and fan base for the most famous national team on the planet: no other country has been in every World Cup, no one’s won more World Cups and no country has produced as many great players. The rustic and homey Favela Grill (33-18 28th Ave./718-545-8250) in Astoria and the Rio Grande Churrascaria (39-05 29th St./718-361-1707) in the Long Island City Holiday Inn will be top spots among many in the neighborhood for the Brazil faithful to gather. With the Cup at “home” this year, much popular unhappiness over government handling of the economy, and with Brazil being one of the favorites to take the championship, fan intensity will be enormous.

Cameroon
See Ghana listing.

Chile
Though New York does not have a large Chilean population, supporters of one of South America’s top qualifiers this year regularly gather to take in Chile soccer games at the San Antonio Bakery (36-20 Astoria Blvd./718-777-8733) — one of the few Chilean food outposts in the City.

Colombia
Jackson Heights is the traditional home of the City’s huge Colombian community and the scene of raucous street celebrations when the team is playing well — as it is now. All of the many Colombian bars and restaurants along Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard such as Boulevard Restaurante (82-22 Northern Blvd./718-651-2797) will be filled with fans for Colombia’s games, but you can also check out Basurero (32-17 Steinway/718-545-7077) in polyglot Astoria for its spacious interior and wild, soccer- and flea market-themed décor.

Croatia
Despite the country’s small size, a number of Europe’s top players always seem to be Croatian, and this World Cup year is no exception, with top Croatian players for Champions League winners Real Madrid and Bayern Munich leading the national team charge. You can join the vibrant fans of the decidedly sports-centric nation, well-represented in Astoria and Woodside, at both stylish Veslo restaurant (32-11 Broadway/718-728-0549) and at bare-bones Scorpio Café (35-15 Broadway/956-8233) as they cheer on their team.

England
Eleventh-ranked England displayed excellent form in qualifying for the World Cup, topping their group. They are now however faced with the unlovely necessity of beating sixth-ranked Uruguay and ninth-ranked Italy in order to ensure they advance to the next stage in Brazil. Head over to top sports venue Bar 43 (43-06 43rd St./718-361-3090) in Sunnyside to connect with the many supporters here who will be working overtime to will England through this minefield alive.

Ecuador
Any number of Ecuadoran spots also line Roosevelt and 37th avenues in Jackson Heights, and they, too, will be packed with hopeful fans from the neighborhood’s substantial Ecuadoran population. One place sure to draw a crowd is spacious, upscale-rustic Barzola restaurant (92-12 37th Ave./718-205-6900).

France
The folks at 1682 French Louisiana restaurant (48-19 Vernon Blvd./347-738-4921), a French/Creole spot in Long Island City, will be looking to draw fans of “Les Bleus,” as the French national team is called, from the French eating establishments and other small businesses nearby as the team tries to capitalize on the talent of the many top European players in their squad and to erase the memory of the French team’s miserable 2010 World Cup performance.

Germany
Queens’ old and well-established German community has plenty to cheer about this year as the traditional powerhouse has also been tapped by many to win it all. Hordes of Germany fans always gather at Zum Stammtisch (69-46 Myrtle Ave./718-386-3014), a full-on Bavarian hunting lodge-style restaurant serving top traditional German fare in Glendale, a neighborhood with sizable German, Eastern European and generally soccer-centric populations. Recently opened Max Bratwurst und Bier (47-02 30th Ave./718-777-1635) in Astoria offers another Germany alternative. Loyalty conflicts will likely be severe at these venues, though, with Germany and the U.S. in the same playoff group.

Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon
The Jamaica neighborhood is home to a sizable African community, and Mataheko (144-07 Jamaica Ave./718-739-3980) is a popular pan-African eatery, party place, and game-watching locale — particularly for soccer fans from the first three countries listed here. All four countries’ teams are led by stars for big-name European club teams, so fans will undoubtedly be out in force. Another reason interest should run high at Mataheko is that Ghana knocked the US out of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups — and the two teams are in the same playoff group and facing each other again in their first games in Brazil on Monday, June 16. Hold on to your hat…

Greece
Astoria is also home to the City’s large Greek population, and all the many Greek restaurants in the area will be hosting the Greek team’s traditional crowds of raucous supporters. One location favored by fans for its spaciousness and extensive outdoor seating is the Athens Café (32-07 30th Ave./718-626-2164).

Italy
Opportunities to root for Italy’s national team, the “Azzuri,” are everywhere given the number of pizza parlors and Italian restaurants in every neighborhood. In addition, every “favorite’s” fans will be watching them and their games carefully: Italy’s won the second most championships after Brazil because they usually manage to marshal their talent to emerge as one of the most dangerous teams at any World Cup. Head over to Studio Square (33-35 36th St./718-383-1001), described in detail in The Beer Gardens section below, to see if they can emerge from the “group of death” they’re in with England and Uruguay.

Ivory Coast
See Ghana listing.

Korea
This is Korea’s eighth consecutive World Cup appearance, and you’ll find the immensely proud Korean community in Flushing and Bayside out in numbers at any of the myriad Korean sports bars and restaurants throughout the area. You also may want to head to the massive Kum Gang San restaurant (138-28 Northern Blvd./718-461-0909), which will be featuring Korea games on a giant screen in one of their banquet halls.

Mexico
With Mexican restaurants and stores everywhere, it will be easy to connect with fans of the national team, “El Tri.” For a more comprehensive experience, however, head to Corona or Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights where Coatzingo (79-11 Roosevelt Ave./718-424-7272) or Pico de Gallo (82-12 Roosevelt Ave./639-0808) among others are sure to draw crowds for games. You might also want to try Casa Enrique (5-48 49th Ave./347-448-6040), a refined, mod cantina in Long Island City, where the focus will also be on willing the Mexican team out of its recent mediocre form.

Nigeria
See Ghana listing.

Portugal
Newark and Mineola aren’t the only places in the metro area with Portuguese communities and their serious soccer fans. Jamaica has them both, too — and Portugal fans from all around will rally at O Lavrador (138-40 101st Ave./718-526-1526) and A Churrasceira (95-29 Sutphin Blvd./718-523-5293) for top-notch Portuguese home cooking and to watch Europe’s 2014 top player, award-winner Christiano Ronaldo, lead Portugal to hoped-for glory. O Lavrador is also hosting a series of traditional St. John’s Festival events the weekend that Portugal plays the U.S. (Sunday, June 22), so this place could be a tough environment if you’re conflicted about your loyalties! Also note that A Churrasceira has a convenient parking lot across the street from the restaurant.

Russia
Though the Russian team doesn’t feature any immediately recognizable stars, this group is no joke: they finished on top of their qualifying group — above Portugal, the world’s third-ranked team — while allowing one of the least number of goals scored against them throughout the entire qualification round in Europe. Bear (12-14 31st Ave./917-396-4939), a newish and sparkling bar/restaurant featuring locavore renditions of classic and new wave Russian food, draws a crowd of Russian nationals and others who will be gathering in force and rooting that the team can continue their good form and give them something bigger than a solid first round performance to celebrate.

Spain
A large Spanish population also has roots in Astoria. As winners of the 2010 World Cup and the current top-ranked team in the world, expectations for the Spanish team are also huge. If you don’t have any friends who can get you into Casa Galicia, a private social club that’s also a great place to watch Spanish games, head to La Rioja (33-05 Broadway/718-932-0101) for excellent tapas and a good crowd of Spain supporters.

Uruguay
Uruguay finished in fourth place at the last World Cup, led by the top goal-scorer in the English Premier League, Luis Suarez, and by some measures they have only gotten stronger since then. On the other hand, they are also in the nightmare “group of death” with England and Italy here in 2014. You can join the crowd of Jackson Heights-based Uruguay fans at La Gran Uruguaya (85-06 37th Ave./718-505-0404) and Chivito d’Oro (84-02 37th Ave./718-424-0600), both excellent Uruguayan takes on the South American steakhouse.

United States
U.S. supporters will be out at any venue not specifically tied to another national team — and there will likely be plenty even at these spots. Top venues will likely be sports cafés Bar 43 (43-06 43rd St./718-361-3090) in Sunnyside, Twist and Smash’d (34-02 Steinway/718-806-1542), along with Studio Square (33-35 36th St./718-383-1001), described in detail below.

Other noteworthy venues — only in Queens

The Beer Gardens
In addition to the venues described above oriented toward specific teams, Queens boasts some of the best “non-denominational” World Cup viewing options in the City. If the Czech Republic or Slovakia were at the World Cup this year then Bohemian Hall (29-19 24th Ave./718-274-4925) would not be in this list — but they’re not, so it is. This beautiful and massive outdoor elm-shaded beer garden, once one of hundreds here, is the City’s oldest and the inspiration for the recent rediscovery of the beer garden tradition in the City. With burgers, wurst and other classic beer garden fare on the menu, this is also a great place to watch the World Cup.

One of the new venues inspired by Bohemian Hall is Studio Square (33-35 36th St./718-383-1001) — an even more massive modern open-air beer garden specifically conceived with major event viewing in mind: there’s a 160-square-foot LED screen in the main courtyard, multiple screens on the surrounding open-air mezzanine and in the interior spaces, and seating for 1,200 with overall capacity for over 2,000. It’s like being at a World Cup fan-fest with picnic tables. The atmosphere is unequalled, and it’s a favorite destination for every team’s fans from across the City.

The Beach
Pretend you’re at a bar in Ipanema watching the games at the beach in Rockaway. Rockaway is a first-class beach, and great new concessions have appeared on the boardwalk as Rockaway has become an increasingly hip destination over the last several years. With the concessions rebuilt post-Sandy, the food spots at Beach 97th and Beach 106th are now also getting big new flat-screen TVs in anticipation of the World Cup. The games will also be on at the venerable Bungalow Bar and Restaurant (377 Beach 92nd/718-945-2100), which features a big backyard and deck, and an outdoor bar right on the sparkling waters of Jamaica Bay. World Cup on the beach and the bay? Now that sounds like a great way to spend a summer day in the City!

The Views
Everyone also knows that the best views of the Manhattan skyline are in Queens — and if it’s spectacular views you want as a backdrop to your World Cup soccer, you even have great up-close and panoramic options to choose from. Rooftop restaurant and lounge Penthouse 808 at Ravel Hotel (8-08 Queens Plaza South/718-289-6118), right on the East River next to the Queensboro Bridge, is serving up additional TVs for the World Cup to complement its pan-Asian cuisine. And for that panoramic Emerald City/Wizard of Oz look, be sure to check out the hyper-slick bar and lounge atop the brand-new Flushing hotel The One (137-72 Northern Blvd./718-886-3555). Both venues are planning special World Cup events as well.

 

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Astoria resident creates social platform to connect fans in time for World Cup


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy Fanspectrum


Next week fans won’t have to make the trip down to Brazil in order to cheer on their favorite teams in the FIFA World Cup; instead, their support will just be one click away.

Sports fan, former athlete and Astoria resident Vibor Cilic is expected to launch a new social platform called Fanspectrum, which will allow fans to show their support, regardless of their location, during the big games and also interact with other soccer enthusiasts.

“I would watch sports, I would watch my favorite team – Barcelona – and I would always ask myself, how do I connect with other fans?” said Cilic, who came up with the idea for Fanspectrum while watching games at Scorpio Cafe & Bar in Astoria. “How do you expand that real stadium into a global stadium?”

Fanspectrum, which will be available for free on the iPhone, Android and at www.fanspectrum.com, will have four features fans can access once they create an account and choose their favorite team.

The first core feature is called a “Fan Battle” where supporters of one team go against those of another and see which has the largest support. In this feature, the user will be able to enter a stream of social media posts for that specific match in which they have entered. The user will be able to post comments, videos and pictures, answer polls, create questions and comment.

In regards to the World Cup, fans will be able to access this feature during specific matches.

“Not everybody can make it to Brazil,” Cilic said. “We offer them a solution, for every fan’s voice to be heard, no matter where they are and what they do.”

Another feature is called a “Fan Map” where users will be able to pinpoint the locations of fans. According to Cilic, this will allow users to see where the larger groups of fans are coming from.

Fanspectrum will also have a Leaderboard which ranks the best fans for a specific team and time period. In this feature, the more fans a user invites, the higher they reach on the board.

The last feature is known as a “Fan Army,” which Cilic says works like a Facebook group but beyond just hitting the “like” button, allowing more user interaction.

“What we want to provide is that real-time engagement and real fans supporting their teams,” said Cilic, who hopes as the social platform becomes more known, fans will be able to receive physical rewards. “The whole point is for fans to be recognized as leaders and for us in the longer term to reward the fans.”

Once it officially launches, Fanspectrum will start with soccer fans, mainly focusing on the World Cup games. However, Cilic hopes to move the social platform forward in order for it to be available for fans of all different sports.

 

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Queens dogs to raise paws for favorite teams in World Cup


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Mauricio Hernandez


This year’s FIFA World Cup is receiving a ‘pawsitive’ reaction from four-legged fans throughout the borough.

Dog owners and their pets will be able to show their love for their favorite soccer teams Saturday in Jackson Heights, just less than two weeks before the big games kick off in Brazil, during an event called “Mi Mascota, Mi Seleccion,” translated to “My Pet, My Team.”

During the event, which will take place from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the garden of St. Marks Church at 33-50 82nd St., both owners and dogs are asked to come dressed in their favorite team’s colors. The day will feature food and treats for dogs, a trainer, entertainment for the whole family and contests for both pets and their owners.

“It looks like we are going to have a large participation of Colombian, Mexican and Ecuadorian pets, which are the majority in Corona, Jackson Heights and Woodside in Queens,” organizer Mauricio Hernandez said in Spanish.

One of the sponsors, who will also be selling dog jerseys at Saturday’s event, is Dalila’s Petwear located at 90-12 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights. Some of the national team jerseys in doggie sizes include the United States, Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and many others.

“I’m very excited,” said Miguel Rodriguez, owner of Dalila’s Petwear. “This idea came out last year. It’s amazing.”

Proceeds from “My Pet, My Team” will go toward St. Mark’s Church, which recently had to deal with a flooded basement.

After the event, photos of the best-dressed pets will be available on www.MyPetMyTeam.com. For more information call 718-644-7072 or 347-447-4433. To purchase a jersey click here.

 

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Former international soccer player to host meet and greet at Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Verizon Wireless

With the FIFA World Cup about only a month away, soccer fans will be able to get a taste of the sport at Queens Center this weekend.

In preparation for the big games being held from June 12 to July 13 in Brazil, Verizon is hosting five shopping mall “Estadio Verizon” (Verizon Stadium) events for fans. The events will feature interactive soccer games, a customized stadium scoreboard, trivia games and a soccer-themed Plinko board to win prizes.

This Saturday, former Colombian national team captain and Major League Soccer player Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama will be at Queens Center doing a meet and greet with fans from 4 to 6 p.m.

Between noon and 6 p.m. this weekend, visitors at the Elmhurst mall will be able to learn about Verizon’s video offerings including its “La Connexion” and Spanish Language Packages that offer customized content for Hispanics and others who seek more Spanish-language programming.

Also, throughout the weekend and in honor of Mother’s Day, visitors at Queens Center will be able to make a free international call to their moms, using the latest Verizon Wireless mobile devices.

 

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Middle Village-based Gottschee Soccer Club needs room to play


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Miguel Brunengo

The legendary Middle Village-based Blau Weiss Gottschee Soccer Club is so popular it’s literally outgrown the borough.

The soccer club, which remains one of the shining examples of high-level urban athletic competition, has so many players that it utilizes a scattered combination of public fields across the city and has gotten to a point where the league needs to turn young soccer hopefuls away.

The team’s main field is Brennan Field in Juniper Valley Park, but they also travel to practice at Randall’s Island, located between Manhattan and Queens in the East River, and they rent space for games at Aviator Field Sports & Events Center at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, to name a few locations.

“We’ve got [players] spread like seeds in the wind,” said Timon Kalpaxis, a youth coordinator. “Some guys have to schlep up to Randal’s Island just to train.”

The club was created in 1951 by Gottscheer immigrants, an ethnic German-speaking people of from what is now south central Slovenia.

A few decades ago a boom of Hispanic immigrants began entering the club. And as soccer’s popularity began to grow recently in the United States, more and more players have been coming to Gottschee.

The club currently has 30 registered teams in various age and skill divisions, numerous intramural programs and free clinics. During warm months it can accumulate nearly 1,000 players combined, sometimes from the Bronx, Long Island and even New Jersey.

Organizers want more Queens field space so their players can play at a centralized location.

“We not looking for a huge bite of the apple, we’re just looking for a nibble,” Kalpaxis said.

In searching for new fields to expand, Gottschee organizers have identified Grover Cleveland High School Athletic Field near Seneca Avenue and Deklab Avenue as a great location. The field is regulation size and has lights, so night practices and games would be possible.

The Department of Education (DOE) is currently revitalizing that particular soccer field.

“We are currently in the early stages of design with topographic surveys and storm system investigations underway,” said DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg. “Construction duration will be determined after the surveys and investigations are complete.”

The soccer club has reached out for support from local leaders and politicians to help get access to it when it is completed.

“We are always open to working with them and supporting them,” said a spokesperson from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley’s office. “We are very supportive of sports and culture programs that serve kids in the district.”

Gottschee attracts much attention from many top Division I schools.

From 2005 to 2012 more than 80 Gottschee players received scholarships to play soccer at well-known universities, including the University of Michigan, Duke, Villanova, Princeton, St. John’s, Holy Cross and Rutgers, just to name a few.

Coordinators said even with the Grover Cleveland field, their problem is part of a fundamental issue of lack of ball fields in the city.

“We lament the fact that we got kids running around getting into trouble, but what are we giving them,” Kalpaxis asked. “Where is the infrastructure for these kids?”

 

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Mulligan’s golden goal puts No. 23 Red Storm pass No. 5 Akron


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John's Athletic Communications

With a penalty kick lined up, the game rested on St. John’s forward Jimmy Mulligan’s foot.

Pressure poured in as the intense match, in which both teams just scored one goal apiece in 90 minutes of regulation and more than 15 minutes in overtime and had seven yellow cards handed out, came down to just one kick.

A little nervous, Mulligan was brimming with confidence, having much experience with this situation in practice. But what threw him off was the crowd’s anxiety. Approximately 1,533 Red Storm fans came to a silence the senior forward set-up for the kick.

“When they went quiet I got even more nervous,” he said.

Mulligan approached slowly, looked up quickly to see which way the goalie was leaning and then blasted the ball in the opposite direction for the golden goal and the 2-1 victory over No. 5 University of Akron on Friday night. Following the score the Johnny faithful started to roar again.

With the victory the No. 23 Red Storm is now 2-1 for the season and earned their first win against a ranked-team. “I was pretty confident, I was thinking I was going to bury it and get this win for the team,” Mulligan said about the kick.

For the first 70 minutes both sides struggled for control. In the first half Akron outshot the Johnnies 5-1, but the Red Storm took the lead in corner kicks, 2-0.

It didn’t look like either would score, until Eric Stevenson powered a goal from about 20 yards out in the 71st minute for the Zips, assisted by Ismail Seremba.

The goal came as a sudden shock, but the Johnnies responded quickly. About three minutes later, Red Storm sophomore Josh Godec beat a defender and scored from about five yards of the goal after a cross pass from teammate Jelani Williams.

“I knew I just had to get across that man, I saw the ball coming in and I was like I’m going to get there,” Godec said. “I’m just lucky it went in.”

It was a significant moment for Godec, who red shirted his first year and didn’t play a game last year, because it was his first college goal.

“It’s amazing to see the hard work finally paying off,” he said.

The Johnnies will host Pennsylvania State University in their next match on Sunday.

 

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