TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Departing DC United star Rooney insists MLS players underpaidby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveWayne Rooney says MLS players are underpaid.Currently with DC United, Rooney will leave the competition to return to England with Derby County in January.The league’s current bargaining agreement runs until January 31, 2020, and Rooney thinks players should demand more money.”I feel that American players get underpaid,” he told ESPN. “I feel they deserve to get more money to stay in line with football in the rest of the world but also in terms of the American sports.”I’m not saying it to benefit me, I obviously won’t be in the league next season. I think it’s only fair to those players who are putting in the same work as all have to earn the right to earn more money for doing it.”He added: “I think the flight issues, in terms of you get so many chartered flights, I believe if a team wants chartered flights than they should be able to charter as many they want. They should be able to do whatever they want with that.”
Indiana Signee Ogugua AunobyWith the returns of James Blackmon and Yogi Ferrell, as well as the addition of five-star big man Thomas Bryant, Indiana projects as a top-20 team next season. Bryant and four-star Juwan Morgan are the big names of the Hoosiers’ incoming freshman class, but a third frontcourt player, Ogugua Anunoby, has some talent of his own. Anunoby, a 6-foot-8 three-star small forward from Jefferson City (Mo.), posted this video to his Instagram tonight. It was re-posted by the Indiana men’s basketball program’s official Instagram, and it features Anunoby throwing down an impressive, 180-degree between-the-legs dunk. Pretty good. We’re sure Hoosier fans will be salivating once they see this.
YouTube/TMZSportsOn Monday, Michael Irvin Jr., a three star wide receiver/tight end, followed in his famous father’s footsteps and committed to Miami. Irvin Sr. starred at The U in the mid-late 1980s before a long, Hall of Fame NFL career for the Dallas Cowboys. Irvin spoke with TMZ Sports about his son’s decision, and the conversation turned to the incident involving Sean “Diddy” Combs at UCLA a few weeks ago. During the interview, Irvin shared an anecdote about being thrown out of one of his son’s games. Luckily, Irvin said no kettlebells were involved. We assume he’ll keep his cool when his son enrolls at The U next year.[TMZ]
If Carlsberg did Christmases…The Ryder Cup made an appearance at Anfield today, but Liverpool fans have their eyes on another glittering sporting prize. The Premier League trophy is flickering into view. Get ready for the ride.Arsenal were supposed to provide a test for Jurgen Klopp’s side, a confident, improving top-six rival who would offer a thorough examination of the Reds’ title credentials. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Examination passed.Liverpool will go into 2019 on top of the pile, at least seven points clear of their nearest rivals after this, their ninth successive league win. If they make it 10 against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium next Thursday, Reds fans will be booking the month of May off work. Some already have.Unstoppable? They are right now. While their enemies flounder, unable to keep their composure and their consistency, Klopp’s side just keep on clearing hurdle after hurdle, ramping up the pressure each time they do. “A long way to go,” their manager continues to warn, and rightly so, but what a football team he has built.Twenty games, 17 wins, three draws, eight goals conceded, 48 scored, 54 points. This, in terms of points per game, is the best calendar year in the club’s history; 88 points from 37 league matches. Staggering.They were actually behind here, briefly. Anfield was stunned when Ainsley Maitland-Niles slid in at the back post to convert Alex Iwobi’s cross and give Arsenal the lead. It was the first time Liverpool had trailed in a home league game since facing Leicester City on December 30, 2017, 364 days ago.They came from behind to win that game, and their response to this setback was emphatic. Within three minutes they were level, within two more they were in front, by half time they led 4-1. Panic over.Roberto Firmino scored twice, Sadio Mane added a third and Mohamed Salah, for the second successive game, won and converted a penalty. It was the first time in the league this season that all three of the Reds’ vaunted front three had netted in the same game. Arsenal, bewildered, had no answer beyond anger. Unai Emery’s men were quite simply beaten into submission.This is a game that guarantees goals – the last 10 league meetings prior to this had brought 44 – and it is now the highest-scoring fixture in Premier League history. No consolation to Arsenal, who took Shkodran Mustafi off at half-time, perhaps as an act of mercy. Just as in 2014, the Londoners shipped four in a half at Anfield. This place does strange things to the men from the Emirates.Want a stat to underline Liverpool’s dominance? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners’ star man, had seven touches in the opening 45 minutes. Four of them were kick-offs.With Spurs, Liverpool’s nearest challengers, losing at home to Wolves earlier in the day, Klopp got the intense atmosphere he had wished for. Anfield bounced when the news from Wembley filtered through. It’s December, but there are times when it feels like April round here.Welcome to a title race. It’s been too long.Firmino, who had not scored a home league goal since April before today, completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after the break, courtesy of a generous gesture from Salah.In netting, Firmino became only the third Brazilian to score a Premier League treble, after Afonso Alves and Robinho. He’ll leave a more lasting impression in England than either of those two, it’s fair to say. “Best in the world,” sang the Kop. They love their No.9.They love all their players right now, in fact, and do you blame them? This is a team that plays for each other, works for each other, one that supporters can be proud of, each and every week. “We are Liverpool,” they sang. “Poetry in motion.”The last time we heard that sung with such gusto, it was 2014 and Brendan Rodgers’ side were beginning to dream of being the ones to bring the title back.They beat Arsenal 5-1 that season too, but they fell short in the end. This one looks, at the moment, ready to go one better. It is only December, but May cannot come soon enough.Catch them if you can… Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
Few young international players have made such an immediate impact in LaLiga in recent years as Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze, with the 19-year-old Nigeria international already looking key to his club’s chances of success this season.Ikwuano-born Chukwueze came a long way very fast following his LaLiga debut against Levante in early November, having scored his first senior goal for the club in a Copa del Rey tie against Almeria a few days previously.A first LaLiga goal arrived on November 11, when he drove into the area and dribbled past two defenders before firing low through the legs of Rayo Vallecano goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? A second league strike came the following weekend, when Chukwueze received a back-heel from team-mate Santi Cazorla and showed composure and technique to fire the ball low into the bottom corner for the winning goal against Real Betis at the Estadio de la Ceramica.The huge moments kept coming, with the teenager completing the 90 minutes in a narrow defeat at Barcelona’s Camp Nou and hitting his first Europa League goal in a 2-0 victory against Spartak Moscow to confirm Villarreal’s progress as group winners to the last 32.All that seemed a long way away when Chukwueze was born on May 22, 1999 in Abia State, Nigeria. He began playing football aged just five and, although his parents originally wanted him to concentrate on his studies, his natural talent and dedication soon shone through.While honing his skills at the famed Diamond Football Academy, Chukwueze came to international attention with his thrilling performances as Nigeria won the 2015 Under-17 World Cup. Three goals in the competition, including a strike after just 25 seconds in a 5-1 win against hosts Chile, secured him the competition’s Bronze Boot prize.After joining Villarreal’s youth system in 2017, he quickly settled and was first promoted to the C team before rising into the B reserve side playing in Spain’s third tier. Having impressed his coaches in training with the senior side, a first-team chance soon arrived and was taken with both hands.A fast, direct winger who likes to cut inside and shoot, Chukwueze has been compared to Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben, while current Nigeria international Ikechukwu Uche, who played for Villarreal between 2011 and 2015, is a close follower of his compatriot’s career.His immediate impact in LaLiga has raised hopes that Chukwueze could emulate another Nigerian, Christopher Ohen. The former Real Madrid youth teamer scored 48 goals in 117 top-flight games for SD Compostela in the 1990s, making him the third-highest African scorer in LaLiga history.Already a senior international with his country, following a debut in a 0-0 draw with Uganda last November, Chukwueze is currently focusing on maintaining his fast start with Villarreal. In what has been a difficult 2018-19 season so far for the Yellow Submarine, their emerging Nigerian prospect is a rising star to keep their spirits high.
Sebastian Lletget should be feeling all the positive vibes of enjoying a homecoming this week, but his first match back at Avaya Stadium in almost two years will also bring back painful memories along with plenty of good ones.Having grown up in San Francisco, and played youth soccer in nearby Santa Clara, Lletget knows the area well, and his family and friends will gather at Avaya Stadium on Saturday to watch him play for the U.S. national team against Costa Rica. Some of those same supporters were also in attendance on March 24, 2017, when Lletget scored a goal to help spark the USMNT to a desperately-needed win in World Cup qualifying. It was that same night when Lletget was the victim of a brutal tackle that left him injured, and eventually sidelined for almost a full year.”It’s one of the best moments, and one of the worst in a way,” Lletget said on Friday. “But I’m moving forward from these things and I think I wouldn’t have been so eager to come back if it was something that was going to hurt. It’s a special place, but for sure it has some bad memories.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The LA Galaxy midfielder tried to avoid spending too much time discussing the injury, though he knew from the moment the friendly was announced that he would be facing some familiar emotions upon his return to Avaya Stadium.”I think it will be in the back of his mind, for sure,” USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said. “When you get injured that (severely) it leaves a lasting impression on your memory. I’ve talked to Sebastian at length about his injury and it’s a tough one. Lisfranc (fracture) is very uncommon in soccer players, but when it happens it’s potentially devastating.”Almost two years later, Lletget has worked his way back into the national team picture, ending a 19-month absence from the USMNT when he came on as a substitute against England in November. He came on as a substitute in the USMNT’s recent 3-0 win against Panama, and Lletget has enjoyed his time under the new U.S. coach.”I feel really good in that system, Lletget said of Berhalter’s preferred playing system. “I can play a couple of positions, but definitely in the midfield is where I belong so I’m really excited.”I think (a number 10 role) is the way forward, especially in this system,” Lletget said. “I think that’s where Gregg likes me and hopefully it works out (on Saturday) too.”Berhalter is still working out where best to deploy Lletget, and Saturday’s match against Costa Rica should a more clear idea of where Lletget will fit the best.”We’re still working on his positioning because we know if we can get him the ball in dangerous positions he can be very effective,” Berhalter said. I think he’s done a good job of really building his performance throughout the camp.”Lletget will look to close out his latest national team camp with a strong showing against Costa Rica, and is determined to focus on his performance rather than thinking about the ghosts of past painful memories.”Emotionally you have to block that stuff and put up a wall,” Lletget said. “You don’t need to think about that too much because it can mess with your energy. I just want to enjoy being back on the field with the national team.”
LINCOLN, NE – SEPTEMBER 03: Head coach Mike Riley of the Nebraska Cornhuskers walks onto the field before the game against the Fresno State Bulldogs at Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Fresno State 43-10. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)Former Nebraska football coach Mike Riley was fired by the Huskers at the end of the 2017 season. It didn’t take very long for Riley to land a new gig. He was hired back by his former school, Oregon State.Riley, a former NFL coach, is reportedly heading back to the professional side of the game. He’s expected to take over an Alliance of American Football franchise.A SiriusXM radio host is reporting that Riley will be hired as the San Antonio franchise’s head coach for the league that is set to begin in spring 2019.A former Dallas Cowboys star is expected to be named the general manager of the team.“Multiple sources have told me to expect Daryl Johnston to get named GM of the new Alliance of American Football franchise coming to San Antonio. Mike Riley is expected to get named head coach,” he reports.Multiple sources have told me to expect @DarylJohnston to get named GM of the new Alliance of American Football franchise coming to San Antonio. Mike Riley is expected to get named head coach.— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) June 20, 2018Riley, 64, has been a coach in San Antonio before. He led the San Antonio Riders from 1991-92.The former Nebraska coach hasn’t coached a professional team since 2002 when he was an assistant for the New Orleans Saints. He was the Huskers’ head coach from 2015-17.Riley is a California native. He played collegiately at Alabama.
GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 31: Clemson Tigers cheerleaders play in confetti after the Clemson Tigers beat the Ohio State Buckeyes 31-0 to win the 2016 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 31, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)Clemson’s football program had quite a Monday night.The Tigers, the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, blew out No. 1 Alabama in the national championship game.Clemson beat Alabama, 44-16, to give Dabo Swinney his second national title win since taking over the program.It was a fun night for everyone associated with the Tigers’ program.Clemson’s cheerleaders certainly seemed to enjoy their time at Levi’s Stadium.Two Clemson cheerleaders took a cool photo on the field after the game.“An absolute dream. Thank you @clemsonfb for making my last football game an experience I will NEVER forget. WE NATTY CHAMPS BABY!!!!!!!” one posted on Instagram.That’s pretty cool.Clemson could be right back next season, too. The Tigers should start the 2019 season ranked No. 1 in the country.
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game 35-31 at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)There is no question that Deshaun Watson enjoyed watching the Clemson Tigers dismantle the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship. Although the superstar quarterback is about to enter his third season in the NFL, it’s clear that he’s still connected to his former team.Watson finished his collegiate career with 10,168 passing yards, 1,934 rushing yards and 116 total touchdowns.The statistics are definitely worthy of praise and recognition, but the most notable moment during his time at Clemson was his title victory over Alabama. In fact, Watson’s game-winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow will go down as one of the most clutch plays in the history of the sport.Clemson has shown its a powerhouse program, making four consecutive trips to the College Football Playoff.Instead of thinking this recent stretch is just a testament to the Tigers’ dynamic quarterbacks in Watson and Trevor Lawrence, it might be time to consider them one of the few dynasties in the country.When asked about whether or not Clemson deserves that label, Watson was very confident in his answer.From 247Sports:The Houston Texans quarterback did exactly that in his latest media appearance. Is Clemson officially a dynasty? “For sure,” Watson told the team Thursday morning on ESPN’s Get Up!“The things that Coach (Dabo) Swinney is bring to that university, the recruits coming in, the things on the field each and every year, it’s one of the top, if not the best, program in the country,” Watson said.With Lawrence leading the Tigers for at least two more seasons, the odds of them adding another title are strong.Alabama was considered the gold standard of college football for almost a decade, but now it might be time to pass the torch to Clemson.Clemson will likely start the 2019 season ranked No. 1 in the country.
Future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski has heavily hinted that he my retire after this latest Super Bowl run, after considering it following last season. Hockenson was one of the breakout stars for Iowa this year.From Bleacher Report:As Rob Gronkowski nears the end to his Hall of Fame career, the New England Patriots have to think about his replacement. With a deep tight end class in front of them, the Patriots select a player similar to Gronk in Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson.A talented blocker and receiver, Hockenson can play Gronk’s role as a do-it-all tight end. Part of what makes Gronkowski so valuable in New England is his ability as a blocker and receiver. Hockenson isn’t at his level but has many of the same traits and could fit seamlessly into the Patriots offense.He isn’t the only tight end that could head to the NFL from Iowa City.With the very next pick, Miller has the Arizona Cardinals taking Noah Fant, who formed an impressive duo with Hockenson this season.The rest of the Iowa players in the mock draft:4th Round, 97th pick: S Armani Hooker – San Francisco 49ers 5th Round: DL Anthony Nelson – Arizona Cardinals 7th Round: OC Keegan Render – Miami DolphinsHockenson would be Iowa’s first first-round pick since 2015, when offensive tackle Brandon Scherff went fifth overall to Washington.[Bleacher Report] IOWA CITY, IOWA- NOVEMBER 10: Tight End T.J. Hockenson #38 of the Iowa Hawkeyes catches a pass during the first half in front of defensive back Travis Whillock #7 of the Northwestern Wildcats on November 10, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)Iowa football hasn’t had five players selected in the NFL Draft since 2012, when six Hawkeyes were selected.That could come to a change this year.Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller released a new seven-round mock draft, and he has five Iowa Hawkeyes being selected.Things start out at the end of the first round, where one former Hawkeye could replace a legend.Miller has Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson going with the final pick of the first round to the New England Patriots.