Tag Archives: Soccer

Houston to Host Games for Copa America Centario

Houston will be hosting at least 3 games for the Copa America Centario – the second biggest soccer tournament to ever be played in the U.S.  Not since the 1994 World Cup has the U.S. been host to such a high-profile tournament.  In 1994, detractors wondered whether the U.S. would support the world’s biggest single sport event, but those questions were washed away with all time record attendance numbers and a smoothly run tournament.

The Copa America Centario –  to be played from June 3 to 26, 2016 –  is essentially an expanded version of the bi-annual Copa America tournament which determines the champion of South America.  Since there are only 10 countries in COMEBOL, the South American federation, tournament organizers have traditionally invited 2 other teams to create a 12 team tournament.

The Copa America Centario will feature 16 teams – all 10 from South America, plus the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and the winners of playoffs between Panama v. Cuba and Trinidad-Tobago v. Haiti.  The tournament will feature world renown players such as Lionel Messi of Argentina, James Rodriguez of Columbia, Neymar, Jr. of Brasil and Giovanni Dos Santos of Mexico.

Other cities that will host games are New York, Orlando, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

Red will be first in line for tickets and is hoping the Argentina will return to Texas for at least one game.


Pope Francis Reaches out to Texas Teen

Pope Francis has been conducting video teleconferences with parishioners around the world.  He recently connected with a Texas teenager who claims to have lost a soccer scholarship when the school found out he was an undocumented alien.  ABC News has the full story.

Soccer aficionado Pope Francis took a page from his favorite sport’s handbook recently in his message to a young man in McAllen, Texas, who had shared his story of adversity during an ABC News virtual audience with the pontiff via satellite.

Ricardo Ortiz, 19, of Houston, told Pope Francis on Monday that he’d lost a soccer scholarship to college once the school had found out he was not a U.S. citizen.

“They informed [me] that I wasn’t able to attend the university of my dreams,” he said. “I ended up going to a community college, started working full time, started supporting my family.”

When Ortiz was around 17, his father had an accident and nearly lost his leg. He was not able to work.

Thankfully, due to the 2012 immigration law Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Ortiz attained a work permit and held down after-school jobs.

“That happening impacted my life in a very deep way. I had to become the breadwinner of the family. I had to be the person that supported our family,” said Ortiz, whose family had then grown with three younger brothers. “I never lost faith. I never lost the strength that my father and mother gave me.”

Eventually, his father was able to return to work and Ortiz was able to graduate high school, where he’d picked up soccer in his junior year and excelled. On Monday, he asked the pope what was the solution to the world’s problems.

Pope Francis, a well-known avid soccer fan, expressed admiration for Ortiz and told him Monday that “the match is played between friendship in society and enmity in society.”

“We are all created for friendship in society. All of us bear responsibility for everyone else,” the pope said. “And each one has to make a choice in his or her heart. And we have to help that choice to be made in the heart. Escaping it through addiction, through violence, does not help. Only closeness and giving of myself, all that I have to give, the way you gave everything you could as a boy, when you supported your family. Don’t forget that.”

Is There No End to Their Evil?

FIFA has elected Sepp Blatter to a fifth term to lead the organization which almost single-handedly controls the biggest sport in the world.  The 209 FIFA member federations voted to keep Blatter despite the allegations of massive corruption occurring during Blatter’s watch.  The 79-year-old Blatter outpolled Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan by 133-73 in the first round of voting.  The Prince, who promised of a clean break from Blatter’s legacy of corruption, conceded defeat.

“I like you, I like my job,” Blatter said to cheering voters. “I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure.”

Blatter isn’t on the same continent with perfect. Blatter wouldn’t know perfect if Red attached it to briefcase filled with 100’s and handed it to him.   And it is hard to fathom what FIFA members considered to be a “good job.”  If their definition includes almost unlimited opportunities for fraud, graft and corruption, then Blatter is probably the right guy.

Red loves his soccer, but this stain on the world’s greatest game must be expunged.  Red urges all soccer fans to write their national federation demanding that they not participate in the 2018 and 2022 World Cups unless and until a full and complete investigation is undertaken into the award of the World Cup Finals to Russia and Qatar.  Both awards are clearly tainted by massive corruption.  Heads need to roll.  And Blatter’s should be the first.