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Trying to be the next Jorge Ramos (from ESPN Deportes)

The Telemundo/Fusion Jorge Ramos is awesome too, though.

I am the son of immigrants. My parents hail from Paraguay, a small but proud South American nation. Therefore, since I was old enough to crawl I always had a soccer ball (or football) in my reach.

I had dreams of one day playing professional soccer and maybe even taking the pitch for either the United States or Paraguay national teams. However, a lack of pure talent and frequent injuries put an end to that. However, my love for the beautiful game never waned.

I keep up with almost every major European league and tournament, Major League Soccer (MLS), and South America’s premier tournaments. My first favorite team was Cerro Porteño, the local Paraguayan club my parents support. That love grew towards my hometown MLS team the New York Red Bulls and several European clubs including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Borussia Dortmund.

Most of the matches and sports programming I watched was primarily in Spanish. This not only contributed to my proficiency in Spanish, but also opened the door to other sports personalities outside of usual American broadcasts.

One pundit in particular stood out to me: Jorge Ramos. No, he is not the former Telemundo news anchor. The native Uruguayan is most known for his program on ESPN Deportes Jorge Ramos y su Banda, which translates to Jorge Ramos and his crew. There he and other pundits and former players discuss and debate, often times aggressively, over news and hot topics in the soccer world.

Over his 30 year career, Ramos has served as play-by-play commentator for over 3,000 soccer matches, including 1,400 Mexican Soccer League games. He has covered four FIFA World Cups, the 2003 Women’s World Cup, two Copa Américas and several UEFA European Championships.

He has been my role model as a sports journalist for a long time. I feel we need more personalities like him in the American soccer world in order to help the game progress and thrive in this country with English speaking fans and viewers.

Ultimately, I want to be a part, maybe even a crucial component of soccer’s growth here in the United States. I want to be able to share my passion and knowledge for the game to as wide of an audience as possible.

Sports and the 2016 Presidential Election

To say 2016 is a wild year, would be a massive understatement. Almost everything from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to the Chicago Cubs breaking their 108-year World Series drought has been unexpected, unprecedented, or just unnerving.

Focusing in on the presidential election, it features two of the most unpopular candidates in American history. Between Hillary Clinton’s never-ending email scandal and Trump’s never-ending list of scandals, it’s easy to see why it would be hard to be  particularly enthusiastic about politics this year.

Sports should be a refuge for such topics, a place where one can flip on a television on sit in the stands and enjoy a simple game. However, it is simply inevitable, with the public nature of sports and its stars, that it will intertwine with politics.

One debate that has crossed both topics has been the decision of several high profile athletes to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before their respective events.

The reason for the demonstration is it is a peaceful protests against police brutality against black people in the United States.

Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers was the first to do so. He was soon followed by several other players in the NFL as well as United States women’s soccer team star, Megan Rapinoe.

Naturally, the response was swift and deeply divided. Liberals usually defended the actions of the athletes as their First Amendment right to peacefully protest a clear problem in the United States. Conservatives attacked those who saw the action as highly disrespectful to the armed forces.

This has been reflected in both candidate’s party’s platforms. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have for the most part supported the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and want more police accountability. Trump and his party has condemned BLM and have demanded more police protection.

Another topic that once again came to surface is the controversy surrounding Native American caricatures as sports logos.

When the Cleveland Indians played against the Toronto Blue Jays for MLB’s American League pennant, there was an attempt to ban any Indians logos as hate symbols. It would be thrown out by an Ontario, Canada court.

This is related directly to the controversy surrounding the NFL’s Washington Redskins and owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to change the name (which is actually a racial slur against Native Americans; think “Los Angeles Wetbacks” as you can see where the problem lies).

The left is in support of changing the names of any sports franchise that uses a slur (or in the Indians case, a very big misnomer) or offensive caricatures (the Indians grinning, red-skinned “mascot” is called Chief Wahoo). The right claims people need to suck it up and not get offended so easily.

This is an example of the “politically correct” or PC culture we have entered. Many see this as an attempt to clean up and eliminate any offensive imagery or words. Other see it as an attack on their First Amendment rights and people should get over it.

Regardless of who wins the election, the wounds that have been opened during this presidential election year will not be healed immediately. For sports fans, they will choose to be part of the healing process, or pour salt over the gashes.

Broadcast Project Idea

Group members: Jake Fischer, Joy Edinger, myself

Event: U.S.A. vs. Mexico WCQ match @ MAPFRE Stadium on Nov. 11

Focus: It falls on the first Saturday after the Presidential Election

Tensions between the United States and Mexico have been exacerbated since Donald Trump announce his intent to run for President of the United States by stating Mexican immigrants were “rapists” and “criminals.”

Ever since that August day last year, Trump and his supporters have continued to fan the racially fueled flames. These range from Trump claiming a Mexican judge could not preside over a court case because of his heritage, to his supporters harassing and assailing Mexicans, as well as other Latinos, in the United States.

The U.S. Soccer Federation selected Columbus, Ohio as the home stadium for the men’s national team (USMNT) World Cup qualifying match against the Mexican national team.

The past several matches between the two sides at MAPFRE Stadium have resulted in the same result: a 2-0, or “dos a cero” victory for the Americans. It just so happens that the match falls on November 11th, just days after the Presidential Election.

What my group and I want to do is produce some sort of popcast/snapchat story focusing on the tensions between the two nations going into an already crucial match-up.

The two teams have shared a bitter rivalry long before Trump’s candidacy, and his remarks are sure to only add to the fire. We will each be watching the game: Joy as an employee of the stadium, Jake as a U.S. fan from home, and I will be watching from the stands with my girlfriend, who happens to be Mexican. We will record our experiences and see if the tensions will come to a boil, or if what many call the Beautiful Game, will bring two bitter rivals together in the face of adversary.

Covering Ohio State Men’s Soccer

After my first game covering Ohio State’s men’s soccer team, I got my first taste of covering the soccer from the press box. Going from covering men’s ice hockey last semester to men’s soccer this semester hasn’t been a huge shift (outside of the obvious grass-for-ice trade).

The men’s soccer team is one of the more successful varsity squads on campus in recent history. While most students tend to gravitate the football team and men’s basketball teams to watch highly competitive, nationally ranked teams, men’s soccer has been consistently competitive.

Head coach John Bluem is entering his 20th year in charge. He has overseen Ohio State men’s soccer team’s most successful period since their inaugural season in 1953.

Coach Bluem currently holds a 193-138-56 record with the Buckeyes.

Under coach Bluem, the Buckeyes have made ten NCAA Tournaments. They have reached the Round of 16 of the tournament three times. In 2007, they reached the final match for the first time in history, only to fall to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. They have not gone more than four years in between appearances.

They have also collected three Big Ten Tournament championships, and two Big Ten regular season titles.

While the Buckeyes have been struggling coming out of the gate this season, do not be surprised if coach Bluem rights the ship and the Bucks get back to the national stage.

Ohio State Can’t Hold On Against Cougars, Former Buckeyes

Martin I. Colman
Columbus, Ohio— A late, late goal at home condemned the Ohio State men’s soccer team to a 3-2 defeat against the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars. The Buckeyes three-game winning streak at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium has come to a heartbreaking end.
“This is definitely a gut check,” said senior defender and captain Austin Bergstrom. “If we’re able to turn it around come this week, and have two good days of practice up to Sunday. I think we can do it.”
Head coach John Bluem gave credit to SIUE coach Mario Sanchez, a former player for the Bucks under Bluem.  “Mario Sanchez was one of the best players I’ve ever had,” said coach Bluem. “When he played for me he was a coach on the field, and he’s a very good coach right now.”
“I have a ton of respect for him. I though their game plan was very good. They surprised us with a few things, which shouldn’t have surprised me, because I knew he would’ve done that.”
After each side traded half-chances with each other for the first eight minutes the Buckeyes would strike first. Sophomore winger Mohamed Abdi collected a through pass from the right side and his low cross found senior forward Danny Jensen at the far post, who slotted the ball past a diving junior goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo.
It would take less than ten minutes for SIUE to grab an equalizer. Sophomore midfielder Mathias Ebbesen and sophomore midfielder, and another ex-Buckeye, Greg Solawa combined to unlock the Buckeye defense and junior forward Devyn Jambga was left through on goal and his curling shot found the back of redshirt freshman goalie Parker Siegfried’s net.
Solawa was a catalyst all night in the midfield for the Cougars. The fact he played with Jensen, Bergstrom and co. last year is an advantage his other teammates do not have.
“You know it’s always fun, you know, coming into the game against a guy you used to play with,” said Bergstrom. “But you always want to be the on top when the last whistle blows but unfortunately he got the best of us tonight.”
The Buckeyes retook the lead in the 27th minute via a headed finish from Bergstrom. A corner kick whipped in from senior midfielder Ben Fitzpatrick from the left side found Bergstrom inside the eight yard box who powered the ball past Dal Santo.
The Cougars nearly equalized again when Siegfried parried a deflected shot from Solawa but recovered to stop a point blank effort from Jambga at the near post.
With seconds remaining in the first half, SIUE leveled the scores again with a corner of their own. Senior defender Andrew Kendall-Moullin’s ball from the right side found senior midfielder Gab Christianson at the near post and fired past Siegfried.
The second half did not didn’t create as many goals as the first but both teams certainly had chances aplenty.  “I thought we played better in the second half than in the first half.
“We had more chances in the second half for sure but we didn’t get a goal,” said Coach Bluem. “So the longer it stays at two to two, the harder it is.”
In the dying minutes of the match, the Cougars found the winner. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Keegan McHugh collected a poor clearance and laid a nice back heel through ball in for Jambga for his second goal of the night and third for the season.
After the final whistle, Coach Bluem received a yellow card and junior defender Niall Logue was sent off after a disagreement with referee Brandon Artis over where the set piece that resulted in the SIUE’s first goal should’ve been spotted.
“The free kick was not taken from the correct spot. So the rule is when a player is in an offside position and runs back to an onside position when he touches the ball, then he’s called offside,” said Coach Bluem.  “But the offside call was where he was when the play started. So they take a free kick from the center here, rather than 20 yards back. The ball never reaches our penalty area, we don’t give up a corner kick, we don’t give up a goal.”
The Buckeyes face Michigan State next Sunday at home. Captain Bergstrom maintains a positive outlook going into Big Ten play. “It’s just another bump. We’ve had a lot of bumps this year. Hopefully we get a win on Sunday,” said Bergstrom.  Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.