Well, Colorado fans, if you didn't realize it then, you know now that when you attended the U.S. Women's National Team match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in September, you were in the presence of greatness.
On Monday, FIFA announced that former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage was named the FIFA Women's Coach of the Year, and USWNT forward Abby Wambach became the first U.S. women since 2002 to be named Best Female Soccer player in the world (pictured above celebrating her goal at DSGP in a 6-2 win over Australia). That capped off a tremondous year for the U.S. ladies, who had won the 2012 Olympic gold medal.
Fans of the women's 2012 know already knew that Pia was known to break out in song, as she did before her last game as coach on that night in Colorado. So it was fitting that she thanked her staff, and sang one last time to her players when she accepted the award:
A few months ago we told you about Rapids Academy midfielder Bryan Windsor's trip to Barcelona, where he got to train at Barcelona's La Masia facility and receive first-hand instructions from the same youth coaching system that developed the world-player of the year, Lionel Messi, among others.
On Sunday, CBS's famed-program, 60 Minutes, profiled the story of Barcelona FC, giving arguably the best club soccer team in the world - in this era - a huge platform to be seen by millions of people in the United States. There's a lot of good stuff here, give yourself 15 minutes and watch it:
It's nearly impossible to tune out the Denver Broncos buzz, especially when "PFM," as Broncos fans and covering media have appointed Peyton Manning, is leading the team to the playoffs. And I suspect many Colorado Rapids fans are also Broncos fans, or least enjoy the local sports teams' successes, and are also optimistic for the Broncos' playoff hopes.
But for many Rapids fans, "PFM" was already in town quite a few years before the future hall-of-fame quarterback came to the Rocky Mountains. That's our own Pablo 'Freaking' Mastroeni.
As I thought more about the two local pros and their impact on their respective teams, I came across a few more similarities than the PFM acronyms, their 36-years of age (Peyton is five months older than Pablo), or that both of their team's missed the playoffs in the same year the respective superstar was forced to sit out with head / neck injuries.
Here are some I came across...post in the comments if you think of others.
Mastroeni began his professional career in 1998.
Manning began his professional career in 1998.
Mastroeni has one League championship - the 2010 MLS Cup.
Manning has one League championsip - the 2007 NFL Superbowl
Mastroeni was the first overall pick in the 2001 MLS Allocation Draft
Manning was the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Mastroeni was named an MLS All-Star in 9 consecutive years
Manning was named an NFL Pro Bowler (all-star) in 9 consecutive years
Mastroeni's last Final appearance was in 2010 (Nov)
Manning's last Final appearance was in 2010 (Feb)
Mastroeni was the 2012 Team Humanitarian of the Year, nominated for MLS award
Manning won the 2005 NFL Humanitarian Award
Mastroeni has played in at least 14 games for his team in 14 different seasons
Manning will play at least his 14th game for his team in his 14th different seasons (Dec. 16, 2012)
Mastroeni has 65 international caps and played in two FIFA World Cups
Manning has won four NFL MVP honors
Mastroeni missed nearly all of 2012 with concussion symptoms before announcing he's coming back for Major League Soccer's 18th season in 2013...
Manning, who brought back the retired #18, missed all of 2011 with a neck injury before returning this year to lead the Broncos back to the NFL playoffs...(and TBD)
Next month, Broncos fans will be pulling for Peyton to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the 5th time in his career. When Pablo advance past the first round for his fifth time, in 2010, he advanced all the way to the Cup...
The debate of who is the best soccer player of all-time usually brings quite a few opinions. But for me, it's easy. It's Lionel Messi.
See, I never had a chance to watch Pele, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Franz Beckhenbaur, or Johan Cryuf play - at least not live or at an age where I could remember how good they were. Of course I've seen video highlights, and, like others, can't help but be impressed.
With today's technology we can watch pretty much watch every game in the world, club and international. I did watch Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho, Zinadine Zidane, and other stars the more modern era play, and until recently, Diego was the best I'd seen. I've also been lucky to watch Messi and Christian Ronaldo play in person. And while Cristiano is awesome, given one choice, I take Leo.
Last Sunday Messi scored his 86th goal of the calendar year to pass Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most in a calendar year. Mueller scored 85 for Bayern Munich and West Germany. Leo scored 74 in 57 games for Barca (still has three games left in 2012) and 12 in 9 games for Argentina. Here are some more Messi stats and all 86 goals from 2012:
Nicknames are fairly common among soccer players.
We've heard of Lionel 'la Pulga' Messi, Carlos 'el Pescado' Ruiz, and even our own Jeff "the Ginger Ninja" Larentowicz and Luis "el Morumbi" Zapata.
And today I heard a nickname that I think will stick with Colorado Rapids fans.
During Wednesday morning's training session I heard Stew Ceus call for the ball by raising his arm and shouting "Patrón, Patrón." That's the spanish word for "Boss," or a figure of that nature.
Hendry Thomas looked up, saw Ceus, and delivered the ball.
And there he was: The Boss, El Patrón!
Afterwards I asked Hendry how that name came about. He explained that in Honduras he was often called "El Doctór," because of his use of glasses. But this time, he said it was the Colombian duo of Zapata and Jaime Castrillon that started calling him that, and then many of the English speaking players and even some of coaching staff followed.
"I thought it was funny," Hendry told me, laughing about it. "It was funny but I still had to ask them why they gave me that name and why it has stuck."
"We named him that because whenever he talks, everybody listens. He's is el patrón, the boss."
I'm thinking his dominating play may also have something to do with this name...
A few months ago MLSsoccer.com came across and vintage footage featuring Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo when he played for the team, um, taking a fall after scoring a goal. SEE IT HERE
Last week we came across different types of old-school videa...commercials from the early years.
The first was discover on a tweet by TheOffsideRules, featuring Uruguayan midfielder Adrian Paz. We'll post a few others in the coming days, featuring Bravo and Marcelo Balboa.
— Shawn Francis (@TheOffsideRules) October 4, 2012
This commercial was a Clio Award winner and I was the Director of Photography. It was filmed with an Arriflex SR2 16mm camera and a Canon 8-64mm lens.
Rapids goalkeeper Ian Joyce gave me a heads up the other day that his neighbor is Mark Abbattista, a contestant on the reality TV show, The Amazing Race.
Mark is hosting a fundraiser on Sunday at the Buffalo Rose to benefit the Outdoor Lab & Jeffco Schools. The keynote speaker is fellow Amazing Race contestant Amy Purdy, who, as the poster explains, has overcome 'amazing' difficulties to excel in her sport.
No offense to Ian or Drew, or even the Erik Weihenmayer, who has summited Mount Everest seven times, but I don't think any of their stories can match what Amy went through. If you can't make it to the fundraiser but still want to hear Amy's story, watch her speech at a TED event last year.
It's one of the most timely give-aways a Colorado Rapids partner has had.
When the Colorado Rapids host the Western Conference-leading San Jose Earthquakes Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the forecast is calling for a potential of snow flurries and temperatures ranging from the mid-30's to low 40's. Enter Cricket Wireless.
The club's wireless partner will be giving away these burgundy and onyx (grey) striped scarves to the first 4,000 fans entering the stadium Saturday evening. The gates will open at 6 pm with kickoff set for 7 pm MT. Get there early, and dress warm.
On September 8, Kroenke Sports Charities hosted an equipment drive to benefit non-profit A Precious Child in honor of Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, who once interned for one of our sister properties. The response from the community was awesome, collecting over 25,000 items and $30,000 for the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Sports Journalism Scholarship. NBC national recognized the efforts in this clip below.
Pia Sundhage coached for the U.S. WNT to two Olympic gold medals and a second-place finish at the World Cup in her five years at the helm. However, on Wednesday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Pia coached her last game for the U.S. She will return to her native Sweden to head that Women's team starting in December.
Players on the team have shared their sadness in losing their coach, but also excitement and gratitude for Pia's contributions.
In the locker room hall way prior to the game, Colorado Rapids President Tim Hinchey gave Pia a crystal vase as a gift on behalf of the club. The attached card read as follows:
For the last five years, the United States Women’s National Team that you coached has impressed and inspired us with their skill, tenacity, style of play, and dedication. It has been a joy to be a fan of your teams, and everyone here at the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is honored to be a part of your final match at the helm of the USA Women. Thank you for all your hard work, and we wish you the very best of luck!
President, Colorado Rapids
On behalf of the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park