Finally, the Winter Olympics are here — a time where we can all watch dedicated athletes we’ve never heard of compete in intriguing events we hardly ever see.We can turn on the TV and root for that woman who’s flying down gigantic moguls as fast as she can while at the same time preparing to land a switch-backside-triple-mctwist (or something like that) once she flies off a jump.Or, we can check out those Korean speed skaters whipping around a bend preparing to sweep the men’s 1500-meter event only to see the one athlete we’ve actually heard of — Apolo Anton Ohno — benefit from a tragic collision and take home the silver medal.And on Tuesday, the event with professional athletes we see on a somewhat regular basis finally arrived — Olympic men’s hockey.As a huge hockey fan myself, I’m about as excited as Bob Costas during an opening ceremony.In Canada no less.But fans must acclimate themselves with a completely revamped American squad, as this year’s team has a much younger look than the ones we’ve seen in years past (only three players have any previous Olympic experience).So who are these guys wearing the red, white and blue, and do they have a chance?Charlie Conway may not be leading the way, Coach Bombay may not be behind the bench and Wolf Stansson’s Iceland squad isn’t in this tournament, but the actual team USA — much like the team that performed in D2 ?– ?is absolutely worth watching.Here’s everything you need to know about the 2010 U.S. Olympic team:The young starsZach Parise. Patrick Kane. Bobby Ryan — the gifted forwards and new faces of USA hockey.Parise is relentless in the offensive zone, working along the boards to gain possession. He always seems to be in the right spot when the puck comes his way, and his non-stop motor and ability to find the back of the net has made him an elite talent.Kane, the NHL 10 video game cover boy, is another one of the league’s young phenoms. Kane doesn’t look too intimidating (5-foot-9 and 160 pounds), but his deadly-accurate wrist shot makes him a dynamic threat whenever he’s given space to get his shot off.The least well-known star of the bunch is Ryan (actually the second overall pick in 2005 behind Sidney Crosby), who possesses the most jaw-dropping athletic ability of any American. His stick handling ability and creativity with the puck are truly world-class.When one of these three is on the ice, pay attention, because Team USA could light the lamp in an instant.The weak linkInjuries have crippled the USA defense. Paul Martin and Mike Komisarek will not participate in the Olympics due to injury, meaning that an already underwhelming defensive corps is that much weaker.Tim Gleason and Ryan Whitney were added as replacements, and they’ll have to play mistake-free hockey to hang with the big boys.In Tuesday’s game against Switzerland, the Americans gave up a fury of odd-man rushes, but the Swiss just didn’t have the skill to finish.Against the likes of Canada and Russia, they wont be so lucky.The good at everything but not great at anything guysTeam USA can’t match the firepower that Canada and Russia bring to the rink — the depth just isn’t there. In an effort to counter that, guys like Jamie Langenbrunner (Team USA’s captain), Chris Drury, Ryan Kesler and Ryan Callahan were added to the roster.All of these guys are two-way forwards, meaning they are both defensively responsible and capable of chipping in with some goals.They aren’t going to wow with you with incredible skill, but they are willing to play a checking role.And against these loaded international powers, that will come in handy.If Team USA wants to reach the medal stand, these players will need to work tirelessly on the defensive end and chip in offensively whenever the opportunity presents itself.The all-important man between the pipesNothing is more important than a hot goaltender in a playoff or tournament setting.Ryan Miller has established himself as the top American goalie and his consistent play with the Buffalo Sabres has made him one of the NHL’s best, but he isn’t the only option.Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick are also on the roster.Thomas is like that kid in Little League that dove for every single ball (even the ones hit right to him) to make himself look like a stud. He finds the need to sprawl around his crease and dive for the puck every time it’s within sight.Sometimes that leads to a highlight-reel save, and sometimes his lack of positioning leads to an easy goal.Quick doesn’t have much NHL experience, let alone international experience; so don’t expect him to play a large role in 2010.For Team USA, Miller isn’t the only choice, but he’s the best one.The final verdictSo I know you’re all wondering ‘Max, can Team USA win gold in Vancouver?’That’s not going to happen. Not this year. Not in Canada.The Americans, while extremely skilled on the top lines, are too young and inexperienced to take gold, and the lack of defensive depth is troubling.But on the plus side, USA Hockey is just oozing with potential. In the recent World Juniors Tournament, the Americans took home the gold medal, meaning there is that much more young talent on the way.USA will look to reach the medal stand here in 2010, but the gold is a little out of reach, unless of course you still believe in miracles.Max is a junior majoring in journalism and keeping it real. Who do you think will win the gold in Olympic hockey? Are you planning your schedule around that of the Olympic hockey competition? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is often said players who play derbies for the first time crumble under the weight of pressure but this is not the case for Hearts of Oak’s Cosmos Dauda.The former Mighty Jets attacker is brimming with confidence heading into this game after scoring three goals in the last two Hearts matches.For him, pressure is what you bring upon yourself.“There is no single pressure. Pressure is what you bring upon yourself we are positive and we believe in our training session,” he told Adom Sports.“We have a good coach who psyches us in and out of the pitch.”“I believe we are going in with a clear mind and hopefully we can come out with the three points.” In addition to the confidence, Dauda was optimistic about scoring on Monday.“I am positive about scoring. That’s my trademark. I have no option than to be on the scoresheet.”Dauda is Hearts’ leading scorer in the league with four goals. – Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
The Kenyans are among 25 shortlisted applicants for the WorldRemit Future Stars football coaching programme launched in August to offer local coaches from across Africa the chance to attend an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top youth coaches in London.From the 25 shortlisted applicants, five finalists chosen by the judges will go through to a public vote, where they will compete for the chance to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools coaches.The five finalists will be featured on the futurestars.worldremit.com website and voting will open in the last week of September.Kenya was the most represented country in the shortlist, with 1 in 3 coaches coming from the country. The entries reflected a range of ways that football is being used to address social challenges including gang violence and drug addiction.Head of East and Central Africa at WorldRemit Sharon Kinyanjui said: “The high volume of Kenyans in the shortlist is a clear indication of the importance of youth football coaching in the community and the power of sport to bring people together.”“I was particularly delighted to see so many compelling entries from women coaches and hope that their success will also encourage more women to participate in football. The strength of all the entries from Kenya as a very promising sign for the country’s future,” she added.From the 25 shortlisted applicants, five finalists chosen by the judges will go through to a public vote, where they will compete for the chance to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools coaches.Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools said: “The standard of entries was very impressive, making this a real challenge for the judges. The Arsenal Way is all about thinking about others, getting the detail right and going above and beyond expectations.”“We were very impressed with how strongly this commitment to outstanding coaching was reflected by Kenyans. The work these participants have already done in developing their coaching shows the immense potential of coaching in Kenya to inspire confidence and encourage positive social change,” he added.“Having the most successful women’s side in England, Arsenal is actively involved in encouraging participation in the women’s game. We see the strength of the entries from women coaches as a very encouraging sign for the sport. We are eagerly anticipating the final results and look forward to welcoming the successful coach to London.”The programme is a new initiative set up by WorldRemit, the official online money transfer partner of Arsenal Football Club, to recognise and reward the valuable contribution that youth coaches make to the communities they serve.The programme received over 700 applications in one week from across Africa. A shortlist of 25 coaches has been selected by a judging panel of representatives from Arsenal and WorldRemit. In recognition of their hard work, the 25 shortlisted coaches will receive official Arsenal shirts for their youth team.WorldRemit will pay for the successful applicant to travel to London in October to attend the Future Stars camp.The programme will equip them with coaching skills which they can take back to build a lasting legacy of coaching excellence in their country. Kenyans in the Future Stars shortlistBeldine Odemba -NairobiA community coach for the Kariobangi Sharks under 13 and under 17 boys’ teams, Beldine is the only woman coaching male football teams in her community. She is passionate about improving the standard of football training in her community and helping young players achieve their full potential.If she were to win the training session with top Arsenal youth coaches, she would use the opportunity to improve her own coaching technique and share her new skills with the local football federation to benefit the wider community.Hamisi Mohamed -NairobiHamisi is a founder of Young Talents Soccer Academy, a mixed academy in Embul Bul, Ngong.Together with his friends, Hamisi started the academy over 10 years ago to bring young members of his community together and help them avoid falling into tribalism, drug abuse and crime. He was involved in the Premier Skills programme, a joint venture between the Premier League and the British Council, which further reinforced his belief that football can make a positive impact on society.If he were to win a coaching session with Arsenal, he would use the opportunity to benefit his local community. He would share the knowledge he gains with others and use it to enrich coaching programs designed to address societal issues. Iddi Badi -NairobiIddi coaches the under 11 and under 14 Ligi Ndogo boys’ teamsIddi believes that a great youth coach should not only teach football but should also act as a role model for their players. Iddi coaches the under 11 and under 14 Ligi Ndogo boys’ teams and sees football as a powerful tool to offer children a sense of direction and prevent them from joining gangs or falling into drug addiction.If he won a coaching session with Arsenal, he would organise training sessions for local coaches and school teachers to enhance the standard of football among young boys and girls in his community.Kevin Oduor Akumu -NairobiKevin is the founder and head coach at Faces Sports Academy, teaching 60 boys and girls of different age groups from the Kibera slum.Kevin is the founder and head coach at Faces Sports Academy, teaching 60 boys and girls of different age groups from the Kibera slum.After seeing children from slums being turned away from established football academies, he established Faces Sports to give children from all walks a life the chance to explore their passion for football and inspire them to achieve greater things.Through a coaching session with Arsenal, he would hope to improve on his own knowledge of football and realise his long-term dream of having a positive impact on the slums through sport.Mutinda Irene Mutindi -NairobiMutinda coaches boys and girls from Ruiru in the Kiambu county of KenyaWith support from the local church, Mutinda coaches boys and girls from Ruiru in the Kiambu county of Kenya. Many of the children come from underprivileged backgrounds, and Mutinda strives to have a positive impact on their lives as well as improve their sporting abilities.A passionate footballer herself, Mutinda has been playing since she was at primary school and is keen to encourage more girls to get involved in sports.Mutinda believes that winning a coaching session with Arsenal would better equip her to use sport to help solve social problems such as drug abuse.Samira Schwarz -NairobiSamira currently teaches a football academy (Knights FC) that comprises of community kids from slum areas.Samira currently teaches a football academy (Knights FC) that comprises of community kids from the slum areas and has been coaching for around 5 months – mainly focusing on the under 11s. She began coaching as a way to bond with her son and sees football as a way to help children to grow up to be responsible adults. She wants to win because it will equip her with the necessary skills to pass on to my players. To give them an opportunity to fight through their current circumstances and excel in football. Stephen Githinji -NairobiA dedicated football coach for children of all ages, Stephen trains boys, girls and mixed youth teams at Premier Academy. He also launched Saturday soccer schools program, Ospreys Sports Academy.As well as improving children’s skills on the pitch, he sees football as a great way to develop vital life skills such as decision-making and self-control.His goal is to establish a school that strives for sporting excellence alongside academic subjects. He would use the opportunity to train with Arsenal to learn from premier league coaches and help build this sports program.0Shares0000(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Kariobangi Sharks U17 Coach Beldine Odemba among the seven coaches shortlisted for the Arsenal training camp. Photo/COURTESYNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – Seven Kenyan coaches stand a chance to attend an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top youth coaches in London after being shortlisted for the WorldRemit Future Stars football coaching programme.The seven Kenyans are Kariobangi Sharks U17 coach Beldine Odemba, Hamisi Mohamed, Ligi Ndogo’s Iddi Badi, Kevin Oduor Akumu from Kibera, Mutinda Irene Mutindi, Samira Schwarz and Stephen Githinji.