Episode 1

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Welcome to Optimist FC! Good stuff for the soccer tribe. Here’s what you missed this week if you weren’t watching as much soccer as we were!

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Our top story. Women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were allowed to attend a major match for the first time in history. Al Alhi FC defeated Al Batin FC 5-0 King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah

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Until 32 year old crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, woman and children in this predominantly Muslim country have not been allowed to attend soccer matches.

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Women in Iran are still unable to attend matches in that nation. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia is a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Another international news former International Star George weah was sworn in as the president of the nation of Liberia.

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We had defeated in a 2017 election that was finally confirmed last week. Leah takes office from, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who defeated him in a 2006 election and was the first female head of state in Africa

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Under Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s economy education and Health Care have largely stabilized, at least in terms of a developing economy.

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However the country is still known for rampant corruption. Weah are has promised free healthcare and free education. He has major challenges ahead and has already begun tempering expectations

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Weah was the 1995 Balloon D’or winner and starred for Monaco, AC Milan and PSG.

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At 51, Leah is similar in age to all time us Legend Alexi Lawless. How about a future us ticket of Lawless and Mia Hamm?

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Landon Donovan was introduced as the latest addition to the roster of Club Leon in Mexico’s top-flight Liga MX. Donovan, currently tied has the all-time leading scorer in US men’s history with Clint Dempsey at 57 goals in an American Uniform, is on retiring for the second time to play for Leon.

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He announced the decision via Twitter after a three-day visit to the Mexican city last week, and after exchanging Tweets in Spanish with the president of the club.

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One of Dan of Donovan’s tweets said in Spanish I don’t believe in walls. He repeated that phrase at his introduction at Leon’s Stadium.

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And finally last week and wrapped the United Soccer Coaches convention. Primarily a gathering for coaches at all levels of US soccer to learn, train, and continue their education is coach’s,

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this year’s conference took on additional attention as a featured all eight candidates for next month’s election of the United States soccer Federation next president.

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In our next episode will go deeper on those candidates and what they stand for.

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But the divisive issues of the election, nothing nothing less than restoring The u.s. Men’s National Team to Global respectability while also stemming the tide of stagnant growth in youth soccer in this country, were underlying themes of the convention.

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One example, inclusion of Hispanic and urban youth soccer players in a youth system that has become increasingly pay-to-play and tied to expensive clubs, took an additional prominence when a young American dual citizen chose to continue playing for Mexico’s national team instead of America’s the week before the convention.

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Jonathan Gonzalez, 19, a native of Santa Rosa California and an emerging star for Monterrey in Mexico’s Liga MX, finalize this decision to play for Mexico, in hopes partly of making their World Cup roster for 2018.

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Critics of the u.s. youth system used it as an example of how we fall short and engaging Hispanic and urban players in this country. The debate will rage on long after the connect convention and next month’s election.

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MEanwhile the aspen institute 2017 state of play reported that the number of US youth age 6-12 playing soccer decreased about 23% 2010-2016, from 3M to 2.3M

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The debate will rage on long after the connect convention and next month’s election. More to come on these important topics.  Next week: Morrocco bids against the US coalition on the World Cup 2026, more on the USSF President candidates, an interview with the founder of an important grassroots youth soccer organization. 

More to come on these important topics. Thanks for tuning in.

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