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Malcolm Johnston: Champion Australian Jockey

Malcolm Johnston was from the Theo Green School of jockeys that produced many champions like Gordon Spinks and Darren Beadman to name a few. Born in 1956, Johnston grew up in Orange, Western NSW, before joining Theo Green at Rosehill and then at Randwick. His fist victory in a big race was in the 1976 VRC Lightning Handicap on Desirable, trained by Colin Hayes. He was also a stable jockey for trainer Tommy Smith, which was the beginning of his partnership with Kingston Town.

‘Miracle’ Johnston, as he was known as, soon became a superstar in the world of racing with a record breaking partnership with Kingston Town. The duo won 25 races out of 30 which included five Group One titles when Kingstown Town was a three-year-old which included the 1980 Cox Plate. The duo almost took the 1982 Melbourne Cup but lost to Gurners Lane as Johnston admitted to starting the finishing run early, leaving Kingston Town drained towards the finishing line.

He won 3 premierships as an apprentice and finished his career with 3 Sydney premiership titles and 3 runner-up titles. In his first season as an apprentice during 1973-74, he finished second in the premiership. The next season he won the Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership title as an apprentice, breaking Jack Thompson’s record with 107.5 wins. His skills took him across the globe to England, France, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and New Zealand. At the time of retirement, Johnston had 39 Group One victories and over 2000 winners to his credit. His major wins include the Caulfield Cup, two Epsom Handicaps, two Oaks, five Derbies including the AJC and VTC Derbies, the W. S. Cox Plate, a Doncaster Handicap double, two Lightning Stakes, the 1980 Sydney Cup, the STC Tanvred Stakes, the STC Rosehill Guineas and an Adelaide Cup.

Johnston was virtually unbeatable especially during his partnership with Kingston Town from 1979-1982. He was also suspended on 56 occasions, which cost him a few titles including the 1981 MVRC Cox Plate. On one occasion, Johnston was suspended by stewards for a careless riding charge in the 1978 Wyong Cup, and he was ordered to pay $121,490 in damages to rider Glenn Frazer. Frazer sued Johnston for fractured left thigh, a severe back injury and other injuries. Johnston denied any act of negligence but the New South Wales Supreme Court ruled in Frazer’s favour. The court stated that a competitor could be held liable for an injury caused by an error of judgment.

No matter what, Malcolm Johnston was a naturally gifted jockey who later made the decision to take up training in 1997. He established his headquarters at Hawkesbury, training over 200 winners that included Stakes winners like Stella Maree and Shags. With his wealth of experience in riding he joined the team at Racing NSW as ‘Training Officer – Hunter & North West Region’, in charge of 200 trainees. The legendary rider is also a corporate speaker, known for adding a few laughs to everything he says. Naturally, Johnston statess to have been the courtroom jester in the jockey’s room.

But there is one thing that Johnston is serious about. Malcolm Johnston honestly believes that the Kingston Town should be the only yardstick for the term ‘Champion’.

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Building and Managing a High School Soccer Program

The following interview is with Coach Bill Bratton, who was my Soccer Coach at Cross Keys High School in Atlanta, Georgia for the school year 1989-1990. I asked him for an interview to share his thoughts on Soccer. He has been involved with Soccer for over 25 years so I wanted to pick his brain on the subject.

Stafford:

Hello Coach, you have been coaching high school soccer for over 25 years. How did you first get involved in the sport?

Coach Bill Bratton:

Hi Stafford and thank you. Well I started coaching soccer in 1982 in DeKalb County in my first year teaching at Sequoyah High. The previous coach had left and the school needed someone to coach. The principal offered me the opportunity to take over the program.

Stafford:

How was that experience for you and how did you prepare for this new role as a High School Soccer Coach?

Coach Bill Bratton:

I will admit I had never played or coached soccer before. In the off season I spent time preparing and learning by reading books and going to clinics. I will also admit that the players knew more about the skills, the formations and what it took to play the game than I did but it was the coaching organization of putting a team together to play as a team that was my strength. I really enjoyed coaching soccer once I mastered the knowledge I needed.

Stafford:

How long did you coach at Sequoyah and how did you end up at Cross Keys?

Coach Bill Bratton:

I coached Sequoyah for 4 years before DeKalb began a consolidation program and I transferred to Cross Keys in 1986. I had the privilege of coaching the Keys program for the next 20 years. I earned my Georgia class D coaching license as well as a Class C level National Coaching license from the USSF. The situation at Cross Keys was much like Sequoyah, they needed a new soccer coach and the AP who would become the principal offered me the position.

Stafford:

How was the situation at Cross Keys, and what did it take to build the program?

Coach Bill Bratton:

It took hard work and discipline to build the program. My job involved rebuilding a program. It had lost its organization, discipline was amuck, and the program wasn’t winning, just 2 years from finishing 3rd in the state. I had to incorporate discipline into the program and to teach players what playing on a school competitive team meant and was needed to win. This progress was going to take many years to complete.

Players would tell me “Coach we just want to play”. Cross Keys was a highly transient school. It was a constant rebuilding progress every year. They had no understanding of playing as a team, that they had to come to practice, to commit, and to be successful they had to play as a team. As I look back that took 2-3 years to get across. Once we reached the point of players returning consistently, I started instilling in the players that we were playing to win. They were playing in a competitive environment. If they just wanted to play there were rec teams, club teams, and other leagues they could go and “just play”.

There were teams that we could beat just based on talent and skill alone so we had to start winning those games. Slowly players started to understand, but they had no knowledge of what playing for a State Championship” was or meant. But we started to win games we should of and it was time to go to the next level, winning games that were 50-50. Again this level took 3-4 years to develop. I constantly had to preach to the teams what we were out there to accomplish. We wanted to win games and develop. After getting to the point of winning 50-50 games, we needed to win games that we were not expected to win. Our goal was to make the region playoffs to go to the state playoffs. The final step in the development was to defeat teams no one expected us to. It was always my belief that we had the ability, the skills to play with anyone and defeat anyone on any given day. In my last 5 years at the Keys we had two teams to reach the 2nd round (sweet 16) level of the state playoffs.

Stafford:

Awesome! I see a pattern here and a valuable lesson to be learned. An opportunity was presented; Rather than turn it down because you had no prior experience in soccer at that time, you made the effort to learn about the subject by spending time ” preparing and learning by reading books and going to clinics”, etc. You mentioned it took work and discipline and eventually you mastered the knowledge that was needed to coach high school soccer, which I saw when my old high school merged with Cross Keys and I ended up playing for you in my senior year. You seemed to have had a passion for soccer and knowledge of the game and the know-how to get players excited for the game and team unity. But all of that was accomplished through your own hard work and effort. How important is “discipline” for the aspiring soccer player and anyone in general?

Coach Bill Bratton:

Let me start out by saying that I believe discipline is an important attribute for anyone to have. To achieve individual or team goals one must have self-discipline. Discipline can have many different meaning to each person. It can be a commitment to attending practices, to going beyond what is asked of one to do to prepare. Discipline comes from having goals and achieving goals come from being disciplined. Some say that my teams were disciplined. On a team there can be only one chief who must lead and lead by setting the discipline of what is expected from others. The others must be willing to accept the standards and work together to achieve for the benefit of the whole and not the individual. If the team has discipline many other honors will come their way.

For many years as the coach I would tell the teams our goals, the purpose of what we will be trying to achieve, and that to reach these ideals we must all be on the same page. Some years I would have players who as the season would progress would disagree with the discipline and feel that certain things were unfair. They would question the purpose, the lineup, and the style of play or other team discipline. Of course I would try to talk with them, explain what was being done and why, listen to their side of the picture. I always had an open door if a player wanted to talk or discuss issues but not in public or at practice or during a game. I recall one instance where 5 players who I had taken out of a game and disagreed with my decision that they left the team bench and set in the stands. These players were removed from the team immediately after the game. On another team years later the players felt the formation we were playing and the players in those positions was wrong. This time I gave that team the chance to play the players and the formation they felt we needed to be playing. I said you have a half to show me that I am wrong and if it doesn’t work it will be done my way and there will be no more discussion and if you cannot agree with my decisions you have a decision that only you can make. Well the team’s way didn’t work so at halftime I told the team I gave you your opportunity now it will be done my way.

I always in my 26 years of coaching have told every team that I coach (you might recall this)… I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how good you are (even if you are the best player), or who you know… If you have to be disciplined you will be disciplined. No matter how much it might hurt the team, you know the rules and you know if you break the rules you will be disciplined and I will discipline you.

Stafford:

Thanks Coach. Have you had any experience with Club Soccer (soccer outside of the school system)? What is your thought on Club Soccer and its impact on High School Soccer? For example, some players who play high school soccer in the Spring may have Club teams that they play for that trains Summer, Fall and even Winter!

Coach Bill Bratton:

My experience on coaching Club has been limited as I coached one year with a U-14 boys’ team with Roswell Santos club league. We won the Fall and Spring season championship. A few years later I worked with Concorde Soccer coaching a U-12 boys team for a year.

If a player is looking to be seen and has the dream of playing at the college level then the club system is the way to go. But keep in mind that this is for elite level players. If they are good enough there is a program that they can go through to reach a higher level of play if they have the talent. First is to be selected on a top level team, to try out for the State select teams, to reach Regional recognition, etc. In the summer they should attend a quality soccer camp to improve their skills and to be seen by college coaches. In high school some club coaches look down at the high school programs and encourage players not to play on their school teams for a lack of quality coaching, getting injured, lack of talent, and low level of play from many schools.

I encourage my players to find a club team to play on in the off seasons as it can only help to make them better. In the Fall if they are not playing on a club team, I encourage players to practice Cross Country to start developing their stamina and if possible to go out for wrestling in the Winter. Some club players come into the High School level and will tell me they can only play a midfield or an outside wing position. I try to teach my players that even though they played center midfield on their club team they are a great fit in the defense on the school team. Players need to keep an open mind and be willing to play the position that will give the team they are on the opportunity to be competitive and a chance to win.

Stafford:

Thanks Coach! Having been a club coach for several years, I can relate to the statement “some club coaches look down at the high school program and encourage players not to play on their school teams from a lack of quality coaching, getting injured, lack of talent, level of play from many schools.” Not that I have ever made that statement. However, that statement may have had some validity in the past, but do you see this changing as new generation of teachers who may be coaching high school or middle school presently are actually former soccer players who are also teachers, but may want to use the high school experience as a career path for some form of College/Professional coaching? This may be the case for some private schools.

Coach Bill Bratton:

Yes I see this getting better. The coaching at the high school level has shown major improvement in the coaches’ knowledge of the game. High schools teams now, like club teams can hire community coaches to help coach teams now and pay a stipend. These individuals must take the state required courses to become a community coach and follow the rules of the school, the county and state as they coach. So high school coaches who might lack in the skills and able to find someone willing to coach to teach/work coaching the players the skills or to work on the strategies and tactical aspects of the game. This is what many club teams do now. They have a person to run the run but pay hundreds of dollars a month for a named/quality individual who was a former player, etc to actual do the coaching.

Stafford:

****Coach Bratton retired in 2006, but after 7 years he wanted to get back into coaching and took over the varsity boys position at a High School in Fulton County (Georgia) as a community coach. It was great speaking to him again after so many years. ****

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A Short Biography of French Soccer Player – Just Fontaine

His complete name is Just “Justo” Fontaine. Fontaine was not born in France, but in Marrakech, Morocco on August 18, 1933. He is an ex-soccer player of French. He is an ex-soccer player of French. Fontaine’s playing position in the field is as Striker. He will always be considered for his performance of 1958 World Cup. In the competition he made 13 goals in only 6 games. Just Fontaine was the man of goals and the first “golden player” of the French. Full of admiration, the supporters entitled the man “Monsieur Dynamite”. In March 2004 Pelé name him as one of the 125 greatest living soccer players.

In his first year with AC Marrakesh He got his way playing soccer and succeeded the national youth championship. His way led passing through USM Casablanca. With the club Fontaine became top goal scorer of Morocco, to France at the age of 20 years old.

With his national team of France, his statistics are even more remarkable. In December 17, 1953, on his first appearance together with the side, he made a hat trick when France team beat Luxembourg 8-0.

To list his role in club level, Just Fontaine experienced playing soccer with the clubs such as US Casablanca in 1950-1953, OGC Nice in 1953-1956, and Stade Reims in 1956-1962.

In 1961 in 1961 Fontaine founded the National Union of Professional Football Players with Eugène N’Jo Léa. The French Football Federation elected Fontaine as the best French player of the last 50 years in the UEFA Jubilee Awards.

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Football Players – Born in One Country and Playing For Another

If in some cases these players have an emotional connection to the country for which they became naturalized, in other cases that no longer happens.

At a time when it is quite normal for football clubs to field foreign football players, clubs like Athletic Bilbao from Spain and Hrvatski Dragovoljac in Croatia, go against the grain in their insistence on fielding only local players.

However, when it comes to most national teams, the acceptance of foreign players is viewed differently, when they include players that can only be described as nationals in a very loose sense.

Yet this is not a recent trend and in fact the practice had been going on prior to World War II as is the case of the German team that absorbed the best Austrian players and even forced Ernst Wilimowski of Poland into its squad during the occupation of Poland.

Before the 1934 World Cup, Italy naturalized a number of fantastic South Americans of Italian descent, like Demaria, Orsi, Monti, and Guaita who helped the “azzurri” win the World Cup against Czechoslovakia.

Ferenc Puskas became a Spanish citizen after the bloody Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. Spain also gave passports to another Hungarian Ladislav Kubala, as well as the Argentinian national Alfredo Di Stefano who was of Italian descent. More recently, Donato Silva of Brazil represented the Spaniards.

Picking naturalized players for national teams knows no borders.

The World Cup 2010 in South Africa will have many players that were born in one country but chose to represent another. In many cases they came from former colonies, a situation quite common in the French team that won their only world title with the precious help of players born in former French territories.

Would “Les Bleus” have been so successful without great African players like Zinedine Zidane (Algeria), Patrick Vieira (Senegal) or Marcel Desailly (Ghana), Caribbean Islands reinforcements like Lilian Thuram and Thierry Henry (Guadalupe) or Christian Karembeu (New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean) as well as Robert Pires (Portugal) David Trezeguet (Argentina), Youri Djorkaeff and Alain Boghossian, both from Armenia? It looked more like a World XI team that brought the World Cup and European Championships trophy home, to France. Michele Platini one of the best French players of all time was Italian.

Germany soon filled the absence of Klinsmann, Bierhoff and Kirsten when they retired. Players like Rink and Cacao (Brazil), Bobic (Slovenia), Dundee (South Africa), Neuville (Switzerland), Asamoah (Ghana), Mehmet Scholl (Turkey) Kurany (Brazil) as well as Littbarski, Klose and Podolski (from Poland). Poland’s national team has also adopted Emanuel Olisadebe of Nigeria.

Holland started using many fantastic players like Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Ruud Gullit, Patrick Kluivert, Frank Rijkaard, Pierre van Hooijdonk and Aaron Winter just to name some of the best, all from Surinam, a former Dutch colony in South America. Philip Cocu was French but played for the Orange team.

Despite being a recurrent process, FIFA has been battling to reverse the growing trend of naturalized players. Some measures however, have been taken to change things in the right direction.

FIFA has increased from two to five years the time required in which the player must live in a country, before beginning the process of naturalization. There is also the requirement that the player had never represented his nation of origin, including at youth level.

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Spanish Famous Soccer Players

Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain. The Spain soccer team is a superior team and has produced the famous Spanish soccer players for years. As a national team, Spain was not able to achieve any success in FIFA world cup except the 1998 world cup. The team reached the quarterfinal stage by winning eight matches. This was only the best impressive performance in FIFA games where they lost to France. Spain participated in eleven world cups and it was ranked number four in 1950.

Though superior, the world cup squad never gave good results. The famous Spanish soccer players are Luis Suarez, Raul Gonzalez Blanco, Kubala, Alfredo Di Stefano, and the goalkeeper Zamora. Also, Michel, Santillana, and Butragueno are the rising stars of Spanish national team. Most interestingly, the world famous Spanish clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have provided Spanish soccer with best world famous players. The Spanish clubs are more popular around the world and let us have a look at few big names.

Raul Gonzalez Blanco was born in Madrid, Spain on June 27, 1977. On the club level, Raul as a member of Real Madrid is the most impressive soccer player who was responsible for the victory in Champions League in 1998. Again, in 2002, he was the leading player who allowed Real Madrid to win the Champions league. He was a real hero in the whole tournament and scored the famous two goals that turned the whole situation of the game.

The famous Spanish soccer players include names of world famous goalkeepers. Ricardo Zamora was named as the best goalkeeper in 1958. The place of Zamora has remained unchallenged and not a single goalkeeper in Spain is able to reach his height. He is the greatest goalkeeper produced by Spain and played with the national team for more than 46 occasions. Also, he played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Spain has managed to provide steady goalkeepers like Luis Arconada and Andoni Zubizarreta. Edson Arantes Do Nascimento also nicked as Pele, is regarded as one of the famous Spanish soccer players of all time.

Most of the star players from around the world are involved in the famous Spanish soccer players list. The players signed by Real Madrid include big names such as Roberto Carlos, David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Robinho, and so on. To add on the world famous Barcelona soccer club granted Spanish nationality to Brazilian world famous player Ronaldinho and Mexican player Giovani.

The world cup winning captain of Argentina, Diego Maradona is related to world famous Spanish club Barcelona. The other famous players related to Barcelona club are Marcelo Trobbiani, Alberto Acosta, Marcelo Saralegui, Nicolas Hernandez, etc. Barcelona club from Spain is considered to be one of the top 10 clubs in the world.

Though the Spain soccer national team is not successful on international level, the Spanish soccer has got great respect on world sports platform. The Spanish soccer has great future and the list of famous Spanish soccer players is definitely going to rise in coming years.

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The History of World Cup Football

The FIFA World Cup (often called the Football World Cup or simply the World Cup) is the most important competition in international football (soccer), and the world’s most representative team sport event. Organised by Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s governing body, the World Cup is contested by the men’s national football teams of FIFA member nations. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930 (except in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II), however it is more of an ongoing event as the qualifying rounds of the competition take place over the three years preceding the final rounds.The final tournament phase (often called the “Finals”) involves 32 national teams competing over a four-week period in a previously nominated host nation, with these games making it the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world.[1] In the 17 tournaments held, only seven nations have ever won the World Cup Finals. Brazil are the current holders, as well as the most successful World Cup team, having won the tournament five times, while Germany and Italy follow with three titles each. The next football World Cup Finals will be held in Germany.

The first international football match was played in 1872 between England and Scotland, although at this stage the sport was rarely played outside Great Britain. As football began to increase in popularity, it was held as a demonstration sport (with no medals awarded) at the 1900, 1904 and 1906 Summer Olympics before football became an official competition at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Organised by England’s Football Association, the event was for amateur players only and was regarded suspiciously as a show rather than a competition. The England national amateur football team won the event in both 1908 and 1912.

With the Olympic event continuing to be contested only between amateur teams, Sir Thomas Lipton organised the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy tournament in Turin in 1909. The competition is often described as The First World Cup,and featured the most prestigious professional club sides from Italy, Germany and Switzerland. The first tournament was won by West Auckland, an amateur side from north-east England that was invited after the Football Association refused to be associated with the competition. West Auckland returned in 1911 to successfully defend their title, and were given the trophy to keep forever, as per the rules of the competition.

In 1914, FIFA agreed to recognise the Olympic tournament as a “world football championship for amateurs”, and took responsibility for organising the event. This led the way for the world’s first intercontinental football competition, at the 1924 Summer Olympics. Uruguay won the tournament,before winning the gold medal again in 1928, with another South American team, Argentina, taking silver. In 1928 FIFA made the decision to stage their own international tournament. With Uruguay now two-time official football world champions and due to celebrate their centenary of independence in 1930, FIFA named Uruguay as the host country.

The 1932 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles, did not plan to include football as part of the programme due to the low popularity of football in the United States. FIFA and the IOC also disagreed over the status of amateur players, and so football was dropped from the Games.FIFA president Jules Rimet thus set about organising the inaugural World Cup tournament to be held in Uruguay in 1930. The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team, but the choice of Uruguay as a venue for the competition meant a long and costly trip across the Atlantic Ocean for European sides. Indeed, no European country pledged to send a team until two months before the start of the competition.Rimet eventually persuaded teams from Belgium, France, Romania, and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In total 13 nations took part — seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America.

A spin-off tournament, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, was first held in 1991. It is similar to the men’s tournament in format, but so far has not generated the same level of interest.

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Amazing murals in Russia: Ronaldo, Messi and _____

Amazing murals in Russia: Ronaldo, Messi and _____

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