Tag Archives: Soccer

Germany fans disappointed in loss to Azzuri


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

As their team fell to Italy in the Euro Cup semi-finals Thursday afternoon, Germany fans that poured into Zum Stammtisch in Glendale banged tankards of beer against wooden tables as they saw their hopes dashed.

The restaurant has been hosting Euro Cup 2012 viewing parties, to the delight of German-American fans in the neighborhood.

Steve Brunner said Zum Stammtisch has been a meeting place for residents and German fans in the neighborhood to cheer on their team over a few beers.

“[Soccer is] part of the German culture and you get a feel of that when you’re in this place,” he said.

Brunner’s own interest in soccer developed four years ago when he was in the Black Forest for a family wedding. He and his uncle decided to visit Munich, where they saw Germany play Austria — and instantly became a fan.

The restaurant has brought in decent sized crowds for games that are normally played in the late morning or mid-afternoon.

“We’re getting 80 to 100 people,” said Werner Lehner, who owns the restaurant along with his brother Hans.

Lehner said Zum Stammtisch especially gets a crowd when the German National Team is playing, bringing in familiar friends and dedicated fans from the neighborhood.

After Italy scored its second goal, the packed back room – with a 10-foot projection screen – was filled with boos and the sounds of fists banging on wooden tables.

One fan screamed, “Do they have this referee’s family tied to a tree somewhere in Europe?”

Spanish La Liga Week 24 Roundup


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Real Madrid were fortunate to maintain their double digit lead in the race for the La Liga crown in Week 24, after a resilient Rayo Vallecano side made life very difficult for the league front runners.

Los Blancos were able to overcome Rayo 1-0 thanks to a beautiful back heel finish by Cristiano Ronaldo – easily one of the top goals of the campaign thus far. Rayo appeared the more interested side for a large part of the game, with Piti hitting a post and Michu being denied by a last minute tackle by Sergio Ramos in the first half.

Madrid manager Jose Mourinho reportedly admitted his team was lucky to escape with three points. Rayo not only held a larger percentage of the possession – 54 percent to Madrid’s 46 percent – but they also had more than double the corner kicks, 12 to five.

The teams went into the break with the match at a scoreless draw, but Madrid’s greatest goal threat put them ahead in the 54th minute, when Ronaldo collected a loose ball in the box and powerfully propelled a shot with the back of his foot through a crowd of defenders, past Rayo keeper Joel and into the far corner.

Despite a myriad of second half scoring opportunities for Rayo, substitute Jose Maria Callejon should have sealed the game for Madrid nine minutes from time – when Ronaldo’s cross found him alone in front of net – but the Spaniard’s touch on the ball sent it dribbling past the post and out for a goal kick.

Late game heroics by Lionel Messi kept Barcelona from slipping further behind Real in the standings, as the Blaugrana bested Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon.

Messi had a goal called back early in the first half after referee Perez Lasa ruled the Argentine controlled the ball with his hand – an offence for which he received a yellow card – but Dani Alves opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Messi eluded three defenders to lay the ball wide to Cesc Fabregas, whose cross found an unmarked Alves in the box for an easy finish.

Radamel Falcao brought Atletico level in the 49th minute by finishing Gabi’s corner, but Los Rojiblancos were destined to be denied the draw by the brilliance of Messi nine minutes from time.

The Ballon d’Or winner sent a stunning free kick curling over keeper Thibaut Courtois and into the far corner of the net for a magnificent goal. The play was not without controversy, however, as Atletico asserted they were still assembling their wall when the free kick was struck.

Despite going ahead early, third place Valencia were undone 2-1 by Sevilla in front of 50,000 supporters at the Mestalla.

Alberto Costa put the hosts in front in the 25th minute with a blistering, low strike from roughly 25 yards away that found the left corner of the goal.

Sevilla responded just nine minutes later, when Jesus Navas’ cross from the right found the head of Gary Medel in the center of the box.

Navas ultimately burned Valencia a second time by providing the decisive goal in the 70th minute. The Spaniard struck an easy finish after Frederic Kanoute’s pass found him alone in the six yard box.

In a clash of European hopefuls, Levante restored some semblance of order in their season by defeating Espanyol 2-1 at the Cornella-El Prat.

Espanyol came into the match behind fourth place Athletic Bilbao only on goal difference, while Levante were a mere point behind Los Leones.

Valdo put Levante ahead in the 24th minute when he received Arouna Kone’s pass in space and fired home past Francisco Casilla.

The frustrated home supporters were forced to wait until the 75th minute for an equalizer, when Kalu Uche headed home Joan Verdu’s floating free kick from the right side.

Ruben Suarez’s free kick from 30 yards restored Levante’s lead with less than two minutes remaining – proving to be the decisive play and providing the Valencia-based side with a gripping victory.

Villarreal – with their heads now above the relegation zone – rescued a point in a suspenseful 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao at El Madrigal.

The hosts struck first 10 minutes from the start thanks to a lovely free kick by captain Marcos Senna. The match went into the break with Villarreal in front, but Bilbao responded 17 minutes after the restart when substitute Fernando Llorente delivered a calm header to the back post.

The visitors captured the lead a mere four minutes later, in the 66th, when Markel Susaeta broke free on a counter attack and fired past keeper Diego Lopez.

Villarreal wasted no time in equalizing, as substitute Nilmar scored a rebound goal in the 68th minute after Bilbao keeper Gorka Iraizoz failed to hold a relatively weak strike by Alejandro Martinuccio.

Malaga thrashed lowly Real Zaragoza 5-1, with four goals in a span of 21 minutes. The La Liga bottom dwellers, who have now lost 15 matches thus far this campaign, took a shocking lead on Carlos Aranda’s goal in the 23rd minute, but Sebastian Fernandez headed home an equalizer for Malaga on the stroke of halftime. An own goal by Paulo Da Silva sparked Malaga’s onslaught, prompting subsequent strikes by Martin Demichelis, Isco and Jose Salomon Rondon.

Elsewhere in Spain, Osasuna stayed in the mix for a spot in Europe by defeating Granada 2-1 with a pair of first-half goals.

José Antonio Dorado Ramírez’s own goal cost Real Betis two points, as they tied 1-1 with Getafe.

Real Sociedad leapfrogged Mallorca in the La Liga standings with 1-0 victory provided by Imanol Agirretxe’s 79th minute goal.

A penalty by Christian Stuani in the 74th minute provided Racing Santander with a 1-1 draw at home against Sporting Gijon.

Pass it on: QC soccer star looks to inspire


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Queens College Athletics/Brian Ballweg

Every star athlete remembers that moment when a coach or teacher impacts their life in such a way that it changes the way they think about sports. Coaching mentors have a way of doing that – they can shift the gears in an athlete’s mind with a few timely and inspirational words.

Some college athletes use those motivational moments to achieve in-game glory, while others stretch the meaning and apply it to life after school.

Andrea Slavin knew what she wanted to do with her life long before her days as a soccer star at Queens College began winding to a close. Slavin, 22, saw her future in physical education as an elementary school student.

“My life has always been about giving myself to people and helping them,” said the Queens College senior. “There is no feeling better than the feeling when someone learns something because of you. If I’m a teacher and the kids leave better than they were when they started, that’s all I can ask for.”

Slavin has a way of altering situations for the better. When she graduates from Queens College, the Floral Park resident will own the school’s scoring record in women’s soccer with 42 goals in 52 games played.

“Whenever I get the ball, my first thought is to score because that’s my job,” she said. “When the ball is at my feet, if I know that I can score, then there is no other option. I don’t even think about it. And after I score, it’s just a big sigh of relief.”

Amazingly, the record belongs to Slavin even though she has never played a full season for the Knights as a result of injury.

She was always able to play through pain, only missing a couple of games here and there. But last season, Slavin suffered a torn meniscus, and for the first time, an entire season was taken away from her.

“That was the last thing I wanted to hear. When that season was taken away, it was one of the most devastating things I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “With every other injury I was always able to push through, but I just got to a point where I just couldn’t play.”

Not playing that season was a difficult decision for Slavin. Skipping that year meant that she would have to register for an extra semester at Queens College and miss out on finishing her college career with the girls she started with.

But sometimes the most difficult moments in life turn out to be the ones that shape us the most. It was that experience of sitting on the bench and keeping her teammates’ spirits high that helped to solidify her talents as a coach and motivator.

“The girls said it was important to hear my voice and that I was there with them,” she said. “They were hurt too that I couldn’t play with them.”

Slavin was able to come back from that injury and eventually break the record. She did it without fanfare – only telling her parents after she got home – because she didn’t want her teammates to think she was only playing for personal glory.

The soccer forward now moves on to coaching in an attempt to inspire a new generation of athletes. Slavin was recently chosen to coach soccer in a program focusing on positive youth development through sports. Up2Us, a national nonprofit coalition, plucked Slavin from the soccer field to serve as a Coach Across America at America SCORES NY in Summer 2012.

“I’ve never volunteered before and I’m nervous, but I couldn’t be more excited,” she said. “The rest of my life I’m going to work with kids and be a role model and improve their skills – so this worked out great.”

Sports were always a way for Slavin to let go and relieve stress – now she wants to give others that same opportunity. She also wants to be that coach, the one to flip the switch in a young athlete’s mind.

“For children who don’t have a great home life, I hope I can make a difference,” she said. “Hopefully I can be someone they would remember.”

Spanish La Liga: Week 18 Roundup


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

There were tight matches at the top of the Spanish La Liga in Week 18, with Barcelona and Real Madrid narrowly escaping with three points following hard fought bouts.

Madrid faced a defensively resilient Mallorca side in front of 20,000 fans at the Iberostar Estadi on January 14. After a 39th minute goal on a glancing header by Tomer Hemed, the Madridistas found themselves in the unfamiliar position of playing from behind. Los Blancos controlled possession for the majority of the game (73 percent), but beyond a Sergio Ramos header that struck the post, they found it challenging to break down the stingy Balearic Island side.

Los Merengues were able to ultimately equalize in the 72nd minute. Mesut Ozil found Gonzalo Higuain behind the defense on the left side of the box, after which the Argentine calmly chipped the ball over the outstretched arms of Mallorca keeper Dudu Aouate. After getting their first taste of goal, the visitors went in search of a winner, and Cristiano Ronaldo nearly provided one with a thunderous long-range strike that jolted the crossbar. Madrid concluded their comeback six minutes from time, when Spanish starlet Jose Maria Callejon blasted a rebound that fell to his feet passed the out of place Aouate.

Reigning champions Barcelona also met stiff competition at the Camp Nou in the form of Real Betis. The Blaugrana were ahead 2-0 by the 12th minute thanks to an open netter by Xavi and signature Barcelona ball movement leading to an easy goal for Lionel Messi. Andres Iniesta stormed at the Betis defense and found Alexis Sanchez on the left wing. Sanchez delivered a pinpoint pass across the box to the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, whose touch sent the ball racing passed Betis keeper Castro.

The Verdiblancos fought back to equalize with strikes by Ruben Castro and Roque Santa Cruz – the first goals surrendered by Barcelona at home all season – but the Seville-based club was undone by a second yellow card issued to Mario in the 70th. Sanchez restored the lead by displaying his powerful right foot on a brilliant strike in the 75th, which Castro got a hand to but was unable to keep out of his net.  Barca struck four on a penalty by Messi four minutes from time.

Valencia was stunned by 14th place Real Sociedad at the Mestalla, where they had previously lost only once thus far this campaign. Despite dominating most statistical categories, the home side was thwarted by a 56th minute goal by Antoine Griezmann.

Elsewhere in Spain, Atletico Madrid added to the misery of Villarreal with a 3-0 thrashing at the Vicente Calderon. A brace by Radamel Falcao and an 80th minute goal by Diego further buried the sinking yellow submarine, now placed second from the bottom.

Sporting Gijon topped Malaga 2-1 in thrilling fashion. After Ruud van Nistelrooy equalized for Malaga in the 87th minute, Oscar Trejo gave Gijon the victory in the 90th.

Osasuna’s 11-game unbeaten run at home came to an end, as Los Rojillos were bested by Racing Santander 2-0.

Athletic Bilbao thrashed fourth place Levante 3-0 with a brilliant first half that left them two goals ahead at the break.

Granada was beaten by Rayo Vallecano 2-1, and Sevilla and Espanyol played to a scoreless draw.

Bottom dwellers Real Zaragoza, who had managed only 10 points before the weekend, were unfortunate not to secure their third win of the season after an own goal by Javier Paredes 11 minutes from time gave Getafe the 1-1 draw.

Queens College senior to Coach Across America


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Up2Us

This Floral Park resident and Queens College student is a star on the soccer field. A forward on the school’s women’s soccer team, the Knights, Andrea Slavin is a gamer with the accolades and skill to carry her to the next level.

For now, “the next level” is an opportunity to introduce the benefits of sports to the next generation of athletes. Slavin was recently chosen to coach soccer in a program focusing on positive youth development through sports. Up2Us, a national nonprofit coalition, plucked Slavin from the soccer field to serve as a Coach Across America at America SCORES NY in Summer 2012.

Born out of its partnership with the East Coast Conference (ECC), Up2Us places 260 coaches and is the only program of its kind to provide AmeriCorps coaches in over 100 disadvantaged communities across the country. These coaches serve kids through a wide range of traditional and nontraditional sports, inspiring academic success, healthy lifestyles and self-esteem among boys and girls and showing young people that sports can be a turning point in their lives — physically and emotionally.

“I’m passionate about sports, because it’s been a constant variable in my life that has given me great self-confidence,” said Slavin. “As a child, and even now, sports were a way for me to feel as if I had a purpose and gave me importance.”

Slavin will be working with young people through America SCORES New York, a nonprofit organization that strives to empower students in urban communities using soccer, writing, creative expression and service-learning. With teamwork as the unifying value, America SCORES New York inspires youth to lead healthy lifestyles, be engaged students and become agents of change in their communities.

In 2010, Slavin was named to the NSCAA/Adidas NCAA Division II Women All-East Region third team. This followed her selection as a 2009 second team all-East Coast Conference all-star. Andrea led the East Coast Conference in goals scored with 15 and finished second in the league with 35 points. In her 38 games as a Knight, Andrea has 33 goals and 74 points.

“I am so passionate simply because I am my happiest when I am active and playing sports,” she said. “Plain and simple, sports make me smile, and I believe every child deserves the chance to smile.”

Up2Us supports a national network of close to 500 member organizations in all 50 states. These organizations serve 20 million youth through sports. Members share best practices, advance initiatives that extend opportunities to new players and deliver quality programs in underserved communities where there is a tremendous need for constructive outlets for youth. For more information, log on to www.up2us.org.

“We are thrilled to welcome Andrea to our Coach Across America team in Summer 2012 and hope she is the first coach of many as a result of a partnership with the ECC and Up2Us,” said Paul Caccamo, executive director of Up2Us.

City’s best take the field in Mayor’s Cup


| smosco@queenscourier.com

© NYC & Co/Peter Borghard

Soccer stars from Queens and across the city put their skills on display and netted a good time in the 2011 Mayor’s Cup Soccer All-Star Game on November 19 and 20.

The New York City Mayor’s Soccer All-Star Game took place at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn and brought out more than 150 of the best high school senior soccer players from the Public School Athletic League (PSAL), the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and New York City independent schools.

Queens players like Constantin Pougiouklidis from Bayside High School, Seth Rothbaum from Cardozo, Hannah Fertig from Bayside, Stephen Reid from St. Francis Prep and many others got in their kicks during the two-day display of top city talent.

In the first game of the day on November 19, CHSAA defeated the PSAL by a score of 4-1 with Casey Collins (Archbishop Molloy) leading the attack for the CHSAA with two goals and Wendy Avendano (St. Francis Prep) and Shannon Rubin (Notre Dame Academy) each chipping in with a goal apiece. Serene Drakes (Cardozo) scored the lone goal for the PSAL. In the second game of the day, the PSAL defeated the CHSAA by a score of 1-0 with Juan Colorado (FDR) from the PSAL scoring the decisive goal.

The championship games took place on November 20. In the girls’ game, the PSAL defeated the independent schools by a score of 4-1 as defender Breanna Brukalo (McKee/Staten Island Tech) took home the MVP award after an outstanding defensive effort. Deanna Kvetkoff (Susan Wagner) scored two goals, while Melissa Lijo (Port Richmond) and Megan Caccavale (LaGuardia) each scored one goal for the PSAL. Shannon Rhodes from Packer scored for the independent schools.

In the boys’ game, the PSAL prevailed once again by defeating the independent schools by a score of 4-0. Julian Gilbey from Bronx Science scored one goal and took home the MVP honors. Juan Colorado (FDR), Steven Mensah (Tilden) and Pierre Roody (Beacon) also scored for the PSAL.

John Adams Spartans bow out of PSAL soccer playoffs


| hzwillenberg@queenscourier.com

In the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) soccer playoffs, the John Adams Spartans lost a heartbreaker at the hands of the Aviation Flyers by a score of 1-0. It was the third loss for the Spartans against their division rivals this season and in all three contests the Spartans failed to score.

The game was a defensive struggle from the start. Both teams moved the ball well to each side of the field, but could not get the ball past the goalkeepers, remaining scoreless in the first half. While they moved the ball well, the Spartans could not get a shot on goal – uncharacteristic for a team that outscored their opponents 32-17 during the regular season.

“We know we could play better,” said head coach Alex Navarrete.

The second half was more of the same accept for one crucial moment – a moment which sealed the Spartans’ fate. A controversial foul was called against Spartans player Akeem Morgan, setting up a penalty kick for Flyers’ sophomore Jonathan Jaramillo. Jaramillo was able to get the ball passed junior Henry Gonzalez for the game’s only goal.

The game was not without chances for the Spartans, as they were able drive the ball but were unable to get the ball passed senior goal keeper Jonathan Rico. Rico was the difference in the game and a couple great saves that literally saved the game for his team.

“He’s a good goal keeper,” said Navarrete. “He came up big time.”

The Flyers will move on to face the Martin Luther Knights – the number one team in the city.

The Flyers were not the only school to move on to the semifinals in the ‘A’ Division. The Bayside Commodores beat the Beacon Blue Demons by a score of 9-8. Tied at 1-1 after regulation time, the Commodores and Blue Demons could not score in overtime forcing penalty shots. The Commodores won that round 8-7.

For the Commodores, junior Daniel Babar scored two goals as did seniors Kevin Cruz and Marcello Russo. The Commodores will go on to play the Francis Lewis Patriots, who beat the Tilden Blue Devils by a score of 3-2.

Make-A-Wish Foundation marks 9,000th wish in Queens


| amanning@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Little Neck resident Tyler Cacioppo had a ball last week as the Make-A-Wish foundation granted him his wish to play with his favorite soccer team, the New York Red Bulls. Cacioppo marked their 9,000th wish in the Metro New York area.

Cacioppo is an active 12-year-old with Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease that usually infects the intestines. Diagnosed shortly before his sixth birthday after having been sick for a month with 104 degree fevers every day, he has lived half his life filled with doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and hospital visits. On a more daily basis, Cacioppo said that, “I have to go to the bathroom a lot during classes, and my friend’s usually don’t because they don’t have Crohn’s.”

None of that has stopped his ever-growing love of soccer, which he took up after seeing his older brother playing the game. Since then Cacioppo has taken the position of family soccer player, joining a travel team in the fifth grade, which he loves because he gets the opportunity to play against more competitive teams.

Although it is a common misconception that the Make-A-Wish foundation only grants the wishes of children with terminal illnesses, they serve those with life-threatening illnesses as well. They came to find out about Cacioppo through his gastroenterologist, Dr. Cindy Haller from Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center, who submitted Cacioppo as a very deserving candidate.

The foundation partnered with the New York Red Bulls soccer team to give Cacioppo a gift he will never forget. He was “pumped” before meeting the team, which includes his favorite player, French World Cup star Thierry Henry.

“It was really fun; it was cool how they passed the ball around. I learned many things that I can tell my team,” said Cacioppo as he excitedly described practicing with the Red Bulls before their big game against the L.A. Galaxy. “My favorite moment was practicing with the trainer Mike and Thierry Henry.”

Cacioppo also got to collect autographs and chat with the team over lunch in their players’ lounge. He then enjoyed the game, which the Red Bulls won, much to his delight. He even got to take home a signed game shirt from Henry.

Patti Cacioppo, Tyler’s mother, said that the process was very easy for them. It was a welcomed break from the stress and anxiety of having to see her son in pain so often.

“I always had this thought in my mind that Tyler’s life was going to be a fairy tale, that yes he was going to have ups and downs, but never did I think he would have to go through any of the things he has endured,” she said.

“Watching Tyler those two days being able to enjoy himself outside his normal doctor’s appointments, hospitals stays, nasal gastric tube feedings and just be a kid who loves soccer was one of the happiest moments I have had in a very long time,” she continued. “I wish it was longer.”

Mike Petke, assistant coach of the Red Bulls, immensely enjoyed helping grant Cacioppo’s wish, saying that he “had such a wonderful, emotional and gratifying day and I will never forget Tyler or his family.”

“I hope that I helped him take his mind off of his situation, even for a few minutes,” said Petke. It is safe to say that he did just that.

Soccer star gets her kicks


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com

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Defender and midfielder Danielle Glazer plays for three different soccer teams, all while keeping up her grade point average as a junior at Bayside High School.

Glazer has been playing soccer for about six years now. She plays for the Massapequa Elite, the Olympic Development Team and the Bayside High School team.

“Ever since I first started playing, I’ve enjoyed soccer with my friends,” she said. “Then I just quickly picked up on it.”

Defense and midfield are basically the two positions Glazer is trained to play and has grown to love.

“My club team won the state cup,” said Glazer, recalling one of her favorite on-field moments. “Afterwards, we went into regionals against a team that was top in the country.”

When Glazer is on the field, she always plays to the best of her ability. She makes sure to work hard and not to give up on her team. Even if Glazer gets tired, she pushes her body through the game.

Her high school soccer team has played four games, winning three and playing to a tie in the other. Her club team is currently off, but they still train and go to tournaments together.

“In two weeks, we’re going to have the WAGS tournament,” she said, referring to the Washington Area Girls Soccer League, the premier all-girls soccer tournament in the country. “We will go to Washington, North Carolina, Florida and Las Vegas.”

While she’s still not sure whether she will stay home in Bayside for college or possibly go out of state, she definitely wants to play college soccer at a Division 1 school.

An active kid for as long as she can remember, Glazer always played and ran around in the park when she was younger. Her dad is really big on sports, which is one of the reasons why she became a soccer player.

In the classroom, math and science are Glazer’s strongest subjects.

“I actually want to do something in those fields when I get older – possibly physical therapy,” said Glazer.

With a GPA of nearly 86, it often becomes hard and time consuming for Glazer to balance school and soccer, particurlarly since she’s mostly taking advanced classes. But thinking ahead comes as a gift, and Glazer was smart to finish all her math and science requirements early on.

A typical busy day for Glazer would be to wake up and go to school, run home for some homework, quickly drive to practice – a 45-minute commute – stay at practice for about two hours, drive back home – another 45-minute drive – finish up the rest of her homework and then finally shower and go to bed.

While she knows that it’s important to try hard and juggle both school and sports at the same time, Glazer believes that grades come first.

“We need the grades for sports to get into a good college and if kids can’t maintain their grades, they should possibly take some time off and bring their grades up, then come back to sports,” advised Glazer.

Michael Jordan is Glazer’s favorite athlete. She mentioned that it’s inspirational how he is one of the best basketball players out there.

“I also think [Lionel] Messi is good. He’s actually a really great player,” said Glazer.

The people she looks up to and have become her inspirations are her friends that have been accepted to and play for Division 1 schools.

“Actually there was this freshman playing for Norte Dame and I started to think ‘wow that’s my friend’s sister. I know her and one day maybe it could be me playing,’” said Glazer.