Archive for the ‘Other’ Category


Earlier this morning, one of the best teams in the world, Real Madrid, signed Argentinian soccer prodigy Leonel Angel Coira.  There’s only one hitch: he’s seven.  Madrid reportedly signed him because rival Atletico Madrid was also pursuing the child star.

Although Coira should be more at home watching Spongebob than playing soccer over 6,000 miles from

Lionel Messi
Barcelona star Lionel Messi

home, he is not the first person to make the leap from child to professional soccer player.  The two examples that pop into most people’s heads are Lionel Messi (Coira’s idol) and Freddy Adu.

Like Coira, Messi is from Argentina and goes by the name Leo.  Messi was also signed to Barcelona when he was just 15 years old.  He had also been playing professionally for his home town team of Newell’s Old

Leonel Angel Coira
Leonel Angel Coira’s picture from his Facebook page

Boys in Argentina since he was just eight years old.  However, one difference between the two prodigies is that Messi left Argentina for Spain in part because he needed treatment for a growth hormone deficiency.

Freddy Adu is a different story.  Adu was signed to the D.C. United when he was 14.  He was originally from Ghana, but his mother won the Green Card Lottery when he was eight, so he moved to Maryland.  His high school moved him up two grades so he would qualify for varsity sports.  Adu then joined the IMG Soccer Academy and was signed professionally just two years later.

So which path is Coira more likely to take?

It depends on the path that Real Madrid takes.  Barcelona let Messi play sparingly until he was 18 when he played regularly.  However, Adu played on a regular basis from the first time he put on a United uniform.  Of course Messi went on to win World Player of the Year twice while Adu faded into relative anonymity.  Though Adu has made a comeback in recent years, he will likely never become the player that he was made out to be as a teenager.

The biggest difference between the two players is the fact that Adu was signed for publicity.  Neither Barcelona nor Madrid need help attracting fans.  My take: we won’t know for another decade or so.  I think he’ll be a great player, but I wouldn’t use him in a FIFA video game for at least five years or so.

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Don’t ask me how, but somehow the Pittsburgh Pirates are only 0.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.  The lowly Pirates (who ironically have the 7th most World Series titles) haven’t had an above-.500 season since 1992.  That was also the last time the Pirates made the playoffs.  Barry Bonds led that Pirates team in home runs.  By any measure, the Pirates have been the laughing stock of the MLB for nearly the past 2 decades.  It seems like there is one team like that in every league; a team that is so obsolete that the casual fan may have forgotten that they even exist.  Here are those teams.

NBA – Charlotte Bobcats

Despite being owned by the greatest of all time, the Bobcats do not have much going for them. 

charlotte
Kobe and Gerald Wallace, who was traded to Portland

They have the third lowest franchise winning percentage (.387) and their only playoff appearance resulted in a quick exit at the hands of the Orlando Magic.  Oh and they just traded away their all-time leading scorer Gerald Wallace.  The lockout certainly doesn’t help them either.  If the major market owners get their way (and in my opinion they will), Charlotte will be left out to dry, trapped in a realm of obscurity.  The only other team in the running for the NBA was the Clippers, but Blake Griffin will bring them back up whenever the NBA starts back up again.

NHL – New York Islanders

The New York Islanders might as well play in the AHL (the dragon mascot would fit).  They haven’t made it out of the first round of the NHL playoffs since 1993, a Pittsburgh Pirates-esq streak.  And since the NHL lockout, which canceled the 2004-05 season, they have had only 1 season above .500.  They are also averaging the lowest attendance per game in the NHL with a meer 11,059.  They do have one bright spot in John Tavares.  Unfortunately, he shares the same name as his uncle, who is the all-time scoring leader in the National Lacrosse League.  It’s unfortunate because many people (especially in upstate New York) associate Tavares with a lacrosse stick.

NFL – Buffalo Bills

Like the Pirates, the Bills have not made the playoffs since last century.  But it’s more than just not making the playoffs.  It’s a combination of bad coaching, bad management, and bad players. 

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson making a joke

Their last coach to be tenured more than 4 years was Marv Levy.  He was fired after the 1997 season when the Bills went 6-10.  Their only season above .500 since 1999 came in 2004.  That year, the Bills were one game away from the playoffs when in week 17 they had to play the Steelers.  However, the Steelers had already clinched a first-round bye and ended up playing their JV squad for the majority of the game… and the Bills couldn’t win.  That effectively sums up the past decade in Buffalo, culminating with Steve Johnson’s infamous drop last season.  But hey who know maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick is the guy that Ralph Wilson’s been looking for… or maybe not.