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Gerard Houllier Passes at 73

An unfortunate announcement was issued by the French Football Federation. It’d been revealed that Gerard Houllier had passed at 73. This saddened supporters across France, who knew Houllier for his contributions to the national club.

Three titles were acquired by Gerard Houllier for France, with an additional three following while coaching Liverpool. It’s an upsetting announcement for long-time supporters of Houllier, who knew the disappointment felt by this influential coach after losing 2019s championship is an unexpected manner. It’d be revealed that the cause of death regarded complications with heart surgery. However, Gerard Houllier would die peacefully amongst loved ones.

Liverpool issued a formal statement regarding the influential coaches passing, emphasising that their mourning the loss of this award-winning legend. It’d be evoked that everyone involved with Liverpool FC have their thoughts & prayers with the Houllier family. A final Rest in Peace was mentioned, marking Liverpool’s end with Gerard. It’s an unfortunate reality that’s rocked dedicated supporters of France’s National Football Club & Liverpool FC.

Tributes gives to Gerard Houllier were beyond expectations, with French President Emmanuel Macros making an official statement regarding his death. Emmanuel would state his devastation behind losing Houllier, a man he adored & loved after years of knowing him on a personal level. It’d shock numerous residents in France to learn their President was friends with Gerard Houllier.

The Up & Downs

It should be mentioned that the timeframe sustained for Gerard Houllier as Head Coach for France’s National Team was minimal. He’d hold that privilege between 1990-94, acquiring multiple championships under the UEFA Division. Unfortunately, the FA Cup wouldn’t ever be sustained by Houllier. Multiple times throughout his retirement saw the Head Coach mention his disappointment & desire to try another time. That won’t be possible any longer, prompting sadness into his dedicated supporters.

It’ll be Gerard Houllier’s tenure with Liverpool FC that’s fondly remembered, with championship after championship being acquired until 2001. Houllier is often quoted with building Liverpool by football analysts.

Jim Curtin is MLS Coach of the Year

The 2020 Major League Soccer Coach of the Year has been announced. It was confirmed that Jim Curtin from the Philadelphia Union has been made COTY. The accomplishment is deserving, with Head Coach Jim Curtin having taken the Philadelphia Union’s towards “MLS Supporters Shield” victory in 2020. It’s an influential accomplishment when considering that weeks ago, MLS Corporate was considering removing the Supporter’s Shield from 2020s campaign. Demands were made league-wide, which prompted the decision to keep the trophy in contention.

The Philadelphia Union had its best season to date, with an average of 2.04 Points being acquired per game. Their accomplishments enabled a league record of highest victories for shortest season in MLS history. Philadelphia Union’s record stands at 14-4-5 for the 2019/2020 campaign. What’s shocking is that because of the shortened season amid the coronavirus pandemic, Philadelphia Union is the lowest-points for a Supporter’s Shield-winning team. That’s not to dispute their accomplishment or skillsets, with prominent teams like Toronto FC being unable to defeat Philadelphia Union.

An official statement regarding his victory was issued by Jim Curtin. He emphasised that the victory isn’t exclusively his, with numerous players & other coaching personnel competing amid a pandemic to create winning opportunities. Head Coach Jim Curtin remarked that the environment sustained at Philadelphia Union FC is positive, one meant for improvement & growth. Curtin noted that 2020 proved that this training mentality can create beneficial results.

2021 is Coming Soon

It won’t be long before MLS Supporters witness the Philadelphia Union compete again, with Post-Season matches slated to start on November 24th. It’s the smallest timeframe that Philadelphia Union has ever sustained between one season to another. Jim Curtin will walk into the next campaign knowing he was awarded the “2020 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year”, which is acquired when employed personnel in Major League Soccer vote on who is most deserving. The overwhelming percentage was given to Curtin, with 44% of MLS employees selecting Jim over other coaches. Following the prominent season that Philadelphia Union FC had in 2020, spectators & supporters can anticipate that Head Coach Jim Curtin will lead his club towards numerous other victories.

Toto Wolff is Searching for his Successor

The team boss for Mercedes AMG-Petronas has confirmed that the hunt for his successor has begun. This follows after Toto Wolff had an influential run with the F1 team, creating the highest-winning Formula One team in history. When questioned at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola Circuit in Italy, Toto Wolff clarified that a large part of his priorities has shifted towards who’s best to helm Mercedes. Locating a successor that can sustain the winning percentages of Toto Wolff is challenging, with his accomplishment haven’t ever been accomplished by any other team boss.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Post-Qualifying Press Conference saw Toto Wolff questioned on a multitude of factors relating to Mercedes. The team boss clarified that he’d remain a prominent member of Mercedes AMG-Petronas, taking either the role of Chief Executive Officer or Chairman. Toto evoked that where he’ll be placed hasn’t been decided but that the decision is his alone. However, before selecting which employment option is better suited for himself, Toto Wolff wants to acquire the best replacement possible. That could mean looking outside the Formula One paddock. Regardless, Wolff has the remainder of the 2020 & 2021 seasons to make his decision. After that, it’s expected that he’ll enter his new position as CEO or Chairman.

Why Toto Wolff is Leaving as Team Boss

Toto Wolff released details regarding his decision to leave the role of team boss. He indicated that throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, he’d learned that the time missed from his family has been extensive & that he missed countless moments in his children’s life. Prompting Toto’s change to Chairman or CEO, he’ll begin directing Mercedes AMG-Petronas from his home via Zoom. That will enable Toto Wolff to spend an influx of time with family in Austria, while still holding significant power in how the F1 team moves forward.

Toto Wolff showed himself an honourable man, consistent with his history throughout Formula One. Toto wishes that whoever is selected for his successor does a better job than himself. It’d ensure that Mercedes AMG-Petronas continues its domination throughout the next decade. Until a new team boss is appointed, Toto Wolff confirmed he has the commitment needed to lead Mercedes into 2021.

TFCs Greg Vanney on the Canadian National Anthem

The Head Coach for TFC has received minor criticism for standing during the Canadian national anthem. Greg Vanney is often quick to rebuttal against his media opponents, and this scenario wasn’t any different. The TFC Head Coach provided clarification towards his decision, and confirmed it was in-support of his fellow colleague. Greg Vanney wasn’t the exclusive member of the TFC Squad to stand during the national anthem, with Captain Michael Bradley also following suit with his Head Coach. It marked the first time that TFC personnel didn’t kneel for the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Greg Vanney provided an official statement, noting that two reasons were behind his decision to stand. The 1st was for his assistant coach named Jason Brent, who is a Canadian Native. Jason Brent informed Greg that he’d be standing during the national anthem & requested he stand with him. Vanney defended his actions by stating after the national anthem, there was a moment of silence for Black lives Matter. Greg Vanney was seen kneeling during the one minute of dedicated silence.

Michael Bradley’s Reasoning

TFCs Captain found himself being pressed by reporters via videoconference, with their sympathies more directed as hatred. Michael Bradley noted that standing during the national anthem is something he’s thought about for a prolonged period, and that he’s spent considerable time reading about the subject matter. Bradley evoked that his opinion could be versed but is pointless and focused on real problems that impose our society today.

Michael Bradley stated that the individuals who initially began protesting via kneeling, have proven they don’t want genuine change or to engage in real conversations that can prompt solutions. Bradley believes hateful rhetoric is divisively being used without any nuances & middle ground. That’s when the TFC Captain evoked he’ll always stand behind racial equality and use his personality to assist the “End Racism Movement”.

End Racism Movement is Growing

Multiple sporting institutions have begun supporting the End Racism Movement, with that social campaign involving considerably less violence than BLM. Football clubs like TFC want to create an inclusive environment that benefits all races. That’s a challenging goal that will require full efforts from Greg Vanney, Michael Bradley, and the entirety of the TFC Squad.

Premier League Releases Coronavirus Measures

The Premier League has announced it will be introducing a number of extremes measures for health and safety to protect club staff and players once football resumes after the CODID-19 lockdown that stopped all sports events across the globe in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Premier League has yet to provide any details regarding how or when the season will be completed. That resulted in most throwing out any ideas or speculating when and how that will take place after sport in England ground to a halt with the country’s lockdown measures

There are a number of claims that some Premier League clubs are looking at returning their players to training in early May as the current lockdown is due to end on the 7th of May unless extended by the government, which can if it chooses to extend the lockdown to the end of May. This would, of course, see the season pushed back even more, and that could be even more so impacted if additional lockdown extensions and executed.

One area that has been addressed is that the league will ensure that dressing rooms are equipped for proper hygienic and will be thoroughly disinfected prior to players arrival. In addition, coaches will be required to be disinfected and sterilised while players will be required to provide private transport in their own cars and respect times between their scheduled arrivals.

Additional Protective Measures

That includes the scheduled teams ensuring that players take different routes to the dressing rooms and then remain as far as possible away from each other until the match begins, which is rather redundant considering the close proximity they will have on the field.

Clubs are also being requested to make changes to their dressing rooms to allow for starting teams, substitutes and goalkeepers all change in different areas, which means, three dressing areas per team. Additionally, it is being expected that players will be required to supply their own food and not share it with teammates and must maintain individually named water bottles to ensure there is no risk of players drinking from shared bottles.

It is clear the league is putting a strong emphasis towards social distancing and is requiring all players who use the teams fitness equipment must put on face-masks and gloves while ensuring they sanitise each piece of equipment before and after use. In addition, all doors within the facility will remain open so that the need to touch door handles is removed.

University Athletics Coach Fired for Sexual Relationship

Shocking news has come out of the University of Guelph. It was revealed by Athletics Canada that a coach and student engaged in an under-age sexual relationship, which ended up being deeply disturbing. The Athletics Commission and Canada confirmed this news, with the Globe & Mail first publishing the story that a field coach named Dave Scott-Thomas committed borderline sadistic. Multiple female students were groomed for a sexual relationship with the track and field coach. Athletics Canada confirmed that they’re investigating all instances that Dave Scott-Thomas coached under this administration, which included sixteen occasions under Canadian national Teams. This included the 2016 Rio Olympics. This horrendous man could’ve attacked multiple other female athletes.

The University of Guelph was quick to respond to these allegations. Statements were provided on the official website, which expressed a series of complaints from 2006. Complains came from family members relating to Megan Brown, the woman sexually assaulted by Dave Scott-Thomas. Investigations didn’t reveal any pivotal information that indicated sexual misconduct. However, those prior investigations revealed additional illegal behaviour from this track coach which resulted in four weeks of paid leave. Mostly, he was paid to take a vacation while news dissipated from the campus.

What prompted his inevitable termination from the UOG was an additional complaint filed earlier this year. External investigators were hired by family members, which revealed numerous counts of sexual misconduct. Investigations from external sources indicate that Dave Scott-Thomas had lied countless times since 2006 to avoid termination. Investigators are now determining if the University of Guelph knew and allowed for these illegal relationships, which could prompt a larger story of corruption.

Athletic Canada Reveals Additional Details

Athletic Canada, in their official statement earlier this week, expressed that Dave Scott-Thomas influenced a seventeen-year-old woman into a sexual relationship. This was accomplished with threats regarding their future athletic careers, demanding that sexual favours be provided for chances at professional track and field. Investigators believe that sexual misconduct with women from Dave could be bellow fifteen years of age.

Coaching at Young Ages

Being involved in the lives of children of any age in the role of a coach can be both challenging and rewarding. Coaching a team requires a significant investment of your time and energy and is always an undertaking requiring great responsibility. Yet, the rewards which these children reap during their involvement within team sports, as well as the life skills instilled in their lives are valuable often at a later stage. Kids who are involved in team sports and are being coached at a young age have access to many benefits. Let’s look more closely at some of them.

Greater Self-Esteem

Over the years, many studies have shown that when children are involved in team sports, it delivers a significant boost in their confidence and self-esteem. These are instilled through small acts that appear normal within the team like a pat on the back from a teammate, some words of praise, and so forth. The effect which such behavior has is, however, giving children the confidence to believe in themselves and their own abilities and to push themselves to greater heights.

Developing Their Social Skills

Our society is often lacking the needed social skills to communicate properly or to approach disagreements calmly. These social skills are instilled in players of team sports. They are bound to learn how to interact, to give verbal support and to behave within this social environment. Teams are great places to make friends with shared interests.

Accepting the Fact That Defeat is Part of the Game

Nobody likes a sore loser and being able to take defeat in your stride is a valuable life lesson. A lesson that is even more important is to bear frustration and learn from it to improve future behaviour. Sports give children the freedom to accept that also though we all like winning, it can’t always be the case.

Maintaining Discipline

For a team to be successful, every single member needs to be disciplined and focused on the success of the organization. When a player is out of order, he or she is disrupting the team and will not remain part of it for long. Therefore discipline is vital, not only to remain a promising team member but also as part of who you are, to be disciplined in all you do later on in life.

Becoming Part of the Unit

It is an ancient saying that the letter I don’t appear in the word team. Regardless of how old it is, it still rings true. Success comes from working together as one, from exerting yourself so that all may benefit from it, from being well-behaved and disciplined so that the entire team can achieve. Team sports show children that it doesn’t always have to be you who are standing in the limelight, sometimes you need to be in the shadows of support for the unit to excel.

Steven Hansen

For the first time in a decade, the All Blacks are not the number one rated in the world. Many experts put this down to mere numbers and still confess that the All Blacks are the most fabulous rugby team in the world. Their worst position ever on the world rankings was when they were at number 3 during 2003. Behind any successful team stands a strong and powerful coach. Since 2012 this man has been Steven Hansen for the All Blacks.

The 60-year-old coach was born in Mosgiel, which is part of Dunedin in New Zealand. His parents were Desmond and Lauriss Hansen, and they had a dairy farm. Hansen childhood days were spent on this farm in the Taieri Plain, and he went to school at the Outram Primary School and then later on to the Taieri High School and also, later on, he attended the Christchurch Boys’ High School. During this time he was playing for Canterbury at the top level a total of 21 times.

Early Coaching Career

Hansen entered into coaching at the Canterbury provincial rugby union. He was coaching there between 1996 and 2001. During his time there his team won the National Provincial Championship twice. During the same period, Hansen also assisted at the Canterbury Crusaders as assistant coach to initially Wayne Smith and then later on Robbie Deans.

Hansen moved to Wales during 2002 where he became the 9th coach to the team in 13 years. The team would perform well initially and then fold and lose their matches. This became a trend with the team, and it resulted in a lot of criticism towards Hansen. This reached a peak when for the first time in history, the team lost all their matches during the Six Nations Championship in 2003. During the World Cup the same year, the team excelled once again, and this stopped the criticism on his coaching skills.

Returning to New Zealand

In 2004, Hansen decided to step down as coach to Wales and returned to New Zealand where he became assistant coach to the All Blacks under Graham Henry. He was appointed as head coach to the team after Henry’s departure after their victory in the 2011 RWC and started 2012 off in his current position.

Under Hansen’s guidance, the New Zealand All Blacks have gone from one tremendous success to the next. Over his coaching period, they had won the Rugby Championships every year except in 2015 when they were the runners-up. They were also victorious of the 2015 Webb Ellis Cup; they were Rugby Team of the Year every year from 2012 – 2017. Hansen was also chosen as the World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. These are only a few of the honours and accolades which the All Black managed to achieve under Hansen’s brilliant coaching skills. Hansen and his team is a success story, evident of the influence of an excellent coach.

Great Players Don’t Make Great Coaches

It is a well-known practice in the world of professional sports to employ great players in the role of coach to professional teams. This trend is based on the belief that great players come with bundles of experience and should automatically fill the role of a great coach. This isn’t always the case.

The Role in Coaching

To a certain degree, it helps to have some experience in the game, when taking on the role of coach. It is beneficial in the sense that as a former player, you have a more excellent grasp in certain sport-specific aspects of the game, in the knowledge of tactical and technical issues. It also gives an exceptional understanding of the kind of socialization which occurs within the organization of a club or a team. Even though these are great to have, it only makes up for a tiny part of the entire role which a coach needs to fulfil. A coach is also responsible for much more in the sense of planning, constant preparations, one-on-one training and the many personal challenges which such role presents.

Different Experience Required

If being a former great player is not the be-all and end-all to being an excellent coach, then the question arises, what the contributing factors which great coaches have in common are? Often these include specific formal qualifications in sports education. Going back to Jose Mourinho as an example again. Mourinho didn’t even play 100 games during his time in the Portuguese second division, yet he is brilliant at managing one of the greatest soccer clubs globally, Manchester United. Mourinho’s background includes studies in sport science as well as the fact that he was employed as a physical education teacher; he was also a youth team coach and was involved in scouting new young players. He also filled the position of assistant coach before he became the head coach. The results of his background are reflected in his league title wins for Italy, Spain, England as well as Portugal. The main reason for this lack of much-needed experience in fields other than playing in coaches who had a brilliant playing career is because these former players haven’t had the time to gather experience in anything other than playing.

The Issues with Great Players

When team owners start to give preference to former players when they are looking to contract a new coach or manager for their teams, they are limiting themselves to a group with inadequate education and experience in much-needed fields. They also reduce the pool of possible candidates to a tiny group. Hence the best approach would much rather be to hire someone with an adequate level of experience in all the skills required to coach a team to greatness, rather than to pick someone based on their success as a player.

The Reasons Behind the All Black Success

It is always a daunting task to qualify one single team as being the best globally. There are various aspects to consider, like winning and consistency. When this topic is under discussion, the name of the New Zealand All Blacks is at the top of the list.

Statistically spoken the All Black has been performing magnificently not only in winning but also regarding consistency. Dating back as far as 1903, their average percentage on winning the games which they played in, stands on 77.09%. This is a number which they have improved on too. Taking their interest of victories over the past four years, the team delivers a 94.44% on games they have won. When a team is delivering such consistently excellent results, it is worthwhile to learn from their success. Hence following are a couple of reasons which are considered to be attributing to their immaculate history of success.

Early Beginnings

Rugby is being promoted and taken seriously from a very young age onwards. Without a doubt, often the first thing that any boy would be taught at school is how to pass and catch. Learning these skills are fundamental in their education and upbringing. During their entire career of schoolboy rugby, a tremendous amount of energy and effort is placed into improving their passing skills. Hence when they reach higher levels of play, these young players have been groomed to perfection on the fundamentals of the game.

Massive Investment Into High School Rugby

The rugby careers of players on the high school level is already a grave matter in New Zealand. New Zealand schools make a proper capital investment into the careers of students, with the top five schools in New Zealand excelling in rugby, spending more than $400 000 annually on improving their rugby programs. Their games also draw large crowds, often in numbers exceeding 7 000 spectators and it regularly gets broadcasted as well.

Moving On To Provincial and National Level

When these young players advance to more senior levels of playing, they enter this world already with the advantage of being skilled to perfection in the fundamentals of the game, in taking their sport seriously and with playing in front of large crowds. The opportunities for players at the provincial and national level are also plenty, but more so, the administration and coaching which are provided on these levels are immaculate. Therefore when players need to be picked for the national team to represent their country, they are skilled to perfection. On the federal level, most countries which they compete against are showing intervals where they had excellent coaching, but in New Zealand, they never have anything less than the best in their coaching calibre.