Monthly Archives: July 2011

Goldman Sachs only reports modest numbers and is sleeping at the wheel

Wall Street’s former love-child reported only very modest numbers for Q2. While the company completely lost credibility with America’s Main Street, it seems that this fact now also sneaks into consideration in the corporate world. Bad reputation, earned, and still earning more of it, during the still ongoing financial crisis will fuel lower expectations on the earnings side for quite some time. With that, the stock might further fall Continue reading

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What some journalists and some viewers can learn from the Women’s Soccer World Cup

While reading the reports of the soccer guru’s about the women’s soccer world cup final this morning, it saw myself forced to write a few words about a sport still most Americans don’t understand. That includes, as sad as it is, a group of people that should actually focus on soccer education while reporting on important soccer events. I am talking about some soccer journalists. They wear titles like “12 year veteran of the American soccer beat” and “Best Football writer” and other. I do understand that not every article can be as good as the other, but when it comes to writing about important events, you need to know what you are talking about and be aware of the consequences your article might have. Here is an example: If I am a Plumber and have to educate a group of medical students on heart surgery, there might be a catastrophe luring for the doctors association.

If you want to educate people on soccer, or inform, you must know what you are talking about. The game between the U.S. and Japan yesterday was one of the most intriguing soccer games Continue reading

Women’s Soccer World Cup Final 2011: Soccer is that good (and brutal)

What a game! The Women Soccer World Cup Final 2011 was an incredible game. Everyone that saw the game today went from one emotional outbreak to another. Pain, disappointment and excitement turned into joy, early celebrations, outbreaks of pride and all the way back to the beginning. At the end, we all sat there with an open mouth and couldn’t believe what just happened.

After two hours of world class soccer and a stunning pk shoot-out, Japan was the new World Champion. For those holding it with the U.S. women, heaven appeared to come down and excitement turned into disbelieve. Those that were holding it with the Japanese were ecstatic Continue reading

Red Bull New York with German Goalkeeper

What was expected for a while, came true this week. Red Bull New York acquired a new goalie. Ex-Hamburg goalie Frank Rost is the future shot stopper for Red Bull.

The move was necessary, because of unexpected weaknesses in goal causing the loss of valuable points. Frank Rost is one of the better goalies in the German Bundesliga. He comes with a sack full of international experience and will certainly help Red Bull to have more stability on the defensive side of the team. Rost has played for Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga. Throughout his career he has been on the list of several German Continue reading

NYC World Cup – Cosmos COPA NYC 2011 quarterfinals this Sunday, July 17th

cosmoscopa Eight teams are fighting for their chance to reach the COSMOS COPA’s semi final on July 23rd. As the tournament is enjoying growing popularity, the quality of soccer has improved as the group stages clearly displayed. Tommy Smyth, ESPN’s Irish soccer expert supports this view, “compared to last year, the quality of the games has tremendously improved”. 

The tournament is only played for the third time and has an incredible potential to become the major cultural event in New York City. 30 community based “national teams” went into the qualifying rounds and 16 qualified for the group stages. Surprisingly, some of the major soccer countries and World Cup winners Continue reading

The awakening of an American soccer giant – Remember the Cosmos

cosmosThe New York Cosmos put U.S. soccer on the world stage in the 1970s. For those who are old enough to remember, soccer exploded in the United States when Pele, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia and many other international superstars joined the Cosmos in New York City, stunning an American audience and the American sports world.

Since then, soccer grew into a sport played by millions of kids across the country, and U.S. teams became serious contenders in international competition in all age groups and for men and women alike, but Cosmos hasn’t had a team since 1985. The New York Cosmos is now making a comeback and on its way to becoming an expansion team in the MLS. Still infused with flair, fabulousness and the promise of greatness, the club has lost none of its international name recognition or the ability to rally masses around the world, more than any other sports team in the United States. The Cosmos Continue reading

U.S. soccer women beat France, reach final against Japan

It wasn’t pretty for a long time. Only in the 82nd minute was the final secured and the fans able to breath easier. Until then, the French dictated the game and had clear advantages. And again it was the same difference, Abby Wambach and Hope Solo. There is not much to say these days about Wambach. The best description, absolute World Class. Preparation, attitude, ability, intelligence and incredible will power took her and the team to where they are.

The second superstar in the team, Hope Solo, is following not far behind Wambach. On the “hit list” of some, for her unfortunate comments at the 2007 world cup, she demonstrated absolute focus on the task at hand. Fit, cool and no fuzzing around playing style helped her to become the best goalie in the world at this event. How important she is? If she would have been French Continue reading

Foursquare Partners Up – WSJ.com

Foursquare Partners Up – WSJ.com.

U.S. Tackles Housing Slump – WSJ.com

U.S. Tackles Housing Slump – WSJ.com.

US Women must focus on France

A day after the sensational game against Brazil soccer’s all-day business sets in. While the fans are still celebrating, the players now face the challenge to settle down and focus on the next task. It is a difficult one.

A game such as the one against Brazil is difficult to top. Performing for 123+ minutes on the highest level is difficult enough, to take the performance to the next game is actually much more difficult. The catch is, the U.S. have to manage the task. Wednesday’s game against France won’t be easier. For those that haven’t caught up to the events in Germany, the competition became much more tight. France is one of the teams that have entered the world stage and they are eager to show they can do more. Over are the group games, every mistake is capital punishment. Ask the Germans, they know what I am talking about.

With all the red flags going up, I still trust that the U.S. women will manage this challenge as well. The top players, Hope Solo and Abby Wambach, have showed me that they are completely focused on this tournament and are prepared for everything. If they manage, and I am sure they will, to lead the team on the field again, we will enjoy a World Cup final with U.S. participation. Good luck, girls.

What’s your opinion? Remember the Cosmos.

Manchester City and its doubtful business practices

Looking at the transfer market these days is, as always, a painful endeavor. Especially the events and actions coming from Manchester City make me wonder what these people there are trying to accomplish. While this insanity is going on for a couple of years, it now turns into a much more ridiculous, and that’s the polite form, circus.

Manchester City announced a $193,000,000 loss in the most recent papers, and it hasn’t been much better over the years before. However, they are busy as usual in the transfer market. While they have a valid problem with Carlos Tevez, there are many other cases one has to wonder what these people at City are thinking when it comes to transfer business. Jerome Boateng, Manuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bridge and a few others currently experiencing what can happen when the business side of a club is unable to take a look over the edge of the plate.

Jerome Boateng, not wanted by City is after one year, ready to move to Munich. Bayern is ready to pay a decent fee, but has no intention to pay City’s “moon prices”. Boateng was a bad move for City, and so was City for Boateng, and the club needs to close the book on this. Asking for an astronomical price doesn’t help here. The treatment of this case doesn’t really reflect very well on City. Other clubs are already fed up with City as Munich’s Rummenigge made the comment: “Seems they want to have 48 players on their roster, while only 25 are allowed”. Much less does the treatment of the other players reflect well. These are all guys that over the past years put the club where it is right now. One would think there could be a little more “giving” from the club. To leave the players hanging while making it clear without saying that they are not wanted and put a price tag on them that no one is willing to pay, doesn’t show a lot of ability, but much rather a big dose of incompetence.

 Participate in my market research project: Remember the Cosmos

Manchester City has a lot of people on the roster that really give a penny for the club. The reason for that is the way how people are treated. Beside of those that have to leave, or stay while cashing in millions if the club doesn’t get its act together, there are a few others that were quite annoyed during the last season. Milner comes to mind as well as Deco and one or two others. Roberto Mancini and his helpers in the business suite must clearly lack people management and business management skills. Here is what is going to happen, if nothing changes: The other European clubs will not like to make deals with City and will leave the “goods on the shelf” of City. The players that are on the shopping list in the coming years, will not make a move, because their risk is too high. Yeah, it is good to cash in big time, but only if you can make some decent money after leaving City as well. Being a starter for one year on a four year contract and sitting the rest out, can cost you millions afterwards. Not a good deal. Players will no longer sign up for this nonsense.

As far as the next season goes, having all these guys running around in the reserve and delivering them weekly paychecks of $175,000 a week for nothing, like in Adebayor’s case, cannot be called sense of business. In addition, having Tevez on the roster in the next season will not be a lot of joy. The guy wants to leave quickly and won’t be in a good mood. A $80,000,000 price tag might not help in solving this problem. Admitted, Tevez is a different case and should not just let go for change. Some other superstars, in their own mind, won’t be pleased as well, with sitting on the bench. City will have a lot of small battlefields that can and will ruin the entire 2011/12 campaign.

Miss management is a common thing in clubs that didn’t grow into their role of being a leader, but were pushed into it by a flood of money from the outside. It wouldn’t be the first time that such an experiment is failing. There is this old saying in between soccer cracks: “If you want to p.. with the big dogs, you must be able to lift your leg”. Way to go, Manchester City.

Women’s Soccer World Cup: The day after…

Looking over the media the day after the United States lost against Sweden and finished second in the group, is a mind busting event. One could believe heaven came down and everything falls apart.

Was it so impossible to lose against Sweden? Not in my opinion. Not that the Swedish ran and played everyone into the ground before, but they are a strong team with lots of abilities, especially when they have nothing to lose. Somehow I am convinced they will look just half as good against the Australian Matildas. Besides that, it was clear from the first game actually, that the favorites might face some stiff resistance in their efforts to go through to the final. The Germans didn’t play like a Champ in their first two games, Brazil didn’t look like they would roll over everyone in the first game as well. And the U.S. already had a good portion of luck in the first game against North Korea. A surprise? Not really.

In my opinion, the competition in women soccer has very much improved and the “smaller” teams are catching up. Norway had to pack up after losing to Australia. Remember, that’s the fist time that Norway didn’t make it beyond the group stages. Some results in the group stages clearly demonstrated that there is a movement in women soccer. The best thing about that, it is great for women soccer.

Participate in my market research project: Remember the Cosmos

Sure, as a fan of the U.S. one would prefer to see the others struggling, but wait. The tournament is not over yet. Others might face much worse than losing out on a group game. For example, Brazil. How about that? Brazil going home after the quarterfinal because of the same reasons the U.S. and Germany found themselves in trouble. Some people have created a game fixture not only for the group stages, but also well beyond. It doesn’t work like that in soccer. Every World Cup has its own dynamics and everything is possible. The times that favorites in women soccer go untouched into the semi finals are over. The interesting games, by names, are now happening a round earlier. When the women’s world cup one day starts with the same number of teams like the men, this might even happen two rounds earlier. Get ready for that.

In my opinion, while losing, the U.S. played a great game. They pressured, they created chances, everyone was on top or close to playing on top of their game. Look at poor Amy LePeilbet. I don’t think she played a bad game. What was she supposed to do in that situation that led to the PK? In my opinion she actually did very well and almost got the ball, without creating a clear case for a red card. Yes, it was a red card, just by rule, but in this case she got credit from the referee. What could she do at the second goal? What could anyone do about that second goal? A silly foul that led to the free kick? Keep in mind, we saw a great and fast game by two great teams, fouls happen.

I am not worried about the Brazil game. The Sweden game makes me confident that the U.S. is ready and able to beat Brazil. As a matter of fact, I am sure that the U.S. is going to win. Somehow my common soccer sense tells me the U.S. is the better team. Also, Brazil didn’t have enough trouble yet and I don’t think they can get themselves out of serious trouble such as the U.S. women. We will see.

Women’s Soccer World Cup 2011: Great soccer, poor referees…

The FIFA Women’s Soccer World Cup is in its full swing and the tournament has its scandalous “moments”. Australia played Equatorial Guinea and the game produced one of the most scandalous referee decisions in soccer history. See the video:

Like the commentator, I don’t know what to say. While it can happen that a referee can’t see a situation that occurs within a split of a second, this one is impossible not to see. What in the world were the officials thinking? After the game, FIFA was talking about an “episode” about a handball. And the referee is very sorry about it. Well, there is not much more to do at this point. What happens with the referee in the up coming games has to be seen. The end result of this game and the result of the Brazil – Norway game make further steps and speculations un-necessary, thank God. The Matilda’s won anyway and Brazil’s brush-up of Norway put the goal differential in Australia’s favor. This bizarre situation has no influence on the further outcome of the group play.

Brazil’s win over Norway had its own discussion about the first of three Brazil goals. Marta, Brazil’s superstar, clearly fouled the Norwegian defender before taking off to score the first goal. While not as obvious as the handball situation of the Australian game, it was a clear foul and the game should have been interrupted and continued with a Norwegian free kick.

The tournament produced some real good soccer to this point. It can be expected that the games get even better and more dramatic during the last group games and the knock-out stages. The same can’t be said about the referee’s. The referee’s in women soccer have the same problem as their colleagues in men soccer. The selection process is the same and can’t keep up with the development of the game. FIFA has this strange quota regulation by that referee’s from weaker soccer countries have to get the same number of games as those that come from the better soccer countries. While one can see the goodwill in this process, it hurts the game. It is almost ridiculous to make everyone believe that a referee from Mali or Hungary has the same exposure to the game as a referee from the U.S. or Germany. This is an issue FIFA needs to address in order to avoid embarrassing “episodes” as seen today.

In order to further improve referee quality, FIFA needs to find a way to make the ref business available for ex-players. It is a joke that a long time world class soccer player has no chance to have a career as a referee. An experienced soccer player can judge certain situations just by experience. The situation around Marta and Brazil’s first goal against Norway is an example for such. It is clearly an advantage to know the players mind in many situations. Since FIFA currently has many issues to fight, it cannot be expected that any change will occur soon, so we will have to live with some controversy on the field as well as off the field.

What’s your opinion? Remember the Cosmos.

What the “DSK” case can teach us for the future

The dramatic turn in the DSK case has shocked a lot of people over the past couple of days. When we think back to the time when things happened back in May and how the mercy-less media, police and prosecution blew up the case, we need to wonder about the things we do in our justice-system and even if there are a few things we must change.

First, let’s take a look at everyone’s motivation in this case. The media needs “material” to make money. A prominent figure such as DSK is a much welcomed subject to jump on, especially in a “rape case”. The case was stretched with all kind of nonsense in order to stretch air hours and advertising money. Whether the reporting was in any way true or had to do with the case or not was absolutely not important. In order to make money, it seems everything is allowed.

The humiliating procedures of law enforcement with putting DSK in handcuffs and really present him to the media, rather than protect him from them, is also clearly influencing public opinion. Here are a lot of questions that should be asked. Of course law enforcement needs to show successes and “trophies” in order to measure and justify their existence. Presenting a “high caliber” guy as DSK in handcuffs in front of the press certainly does the trick. Guilty or not seems not to be their problem, nor is the fact that they influence public opinion with their actions.

Statements of the DA’s office about the strong case and the victims credibility, without having done any research, back in May also fueled and influenced public opinion against DSK. Don’t we learn we are innocent until proven guilty? What’s the motivation of the DA? He needs to show results. The question is not how many times did you find out the truth, the question is how many people did you put to jail? Facts, and most important, the truth, are only playing second fiddle. 

Looking at the case from the beginning, facts or evidence are rather short listed. DNA was found and showed there was sexual activity going on. Does it clearly say anything else? Other than that,the case is “she says/he says”, and that’s it.

Based on all this, DSK was put in jail, had to post $6 million in bail and was put under house arrest on his own expense, which is estimated at $250,000 a month. He lost his job and his career as a politician might be ruined.

Some might say, well, he is not poor and he will survive all this and still be in politics. That might be right. However, how would it be with the plumber, teacher or anyone else from next door that is accused of the same with just the same evidence? Would the DA even do the same research?

Since the case took such a turn, we now see much of the same procedures on the other side. The woman’s credibility is suffering. Does that really help in finding the truth? With a few spots in her history she can’t be a victim of a rapist anymore? The mess the media, law enforcement and DA have created in this case is incredible. The worst of all, this happened before and it can happen again, any day, to anyone.

Media, law enforcement and DA’s need to make changes in their procedures and treating cases without special treatment and provide fair chances to find out the truth, for both, the victim and the accused. For us, watching the cases based on the (bad) information we are fed, we need to understand that the motivations of these organizations are not always “in the name of the people”.