Benjamin Palandella dribbles around a bigger boy who comes charging at him and shoots to the goal with shocking force for a 7-year-old player. Nearby, children jump to head a ball tethered on a rope, tiptoe over hoops and dribble around orange cones. The kids training in this concrete court in a Buenos Aires, Argentina, play for Club Social Parque. It’s the same soccer talent factory where such international stars as Diego Maradona, Carlos Tevez and Juan Roman Riquelme polished their skills as children. Spain’s “La Masia” youth academy may be the famed bedrock of Barcelona’s success and where Lionel Messi started training at 13 when he emigrated from Argentina. But Club Social Parque, a humble
Arsène Wenger will target Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan in an effort to replace the departing Mesut Ozil, according to a report. Turan, 30, does not fit into Wenger’s policy of buying youth but he may be a viable target, having become marginalized at Barcelona. Barcelona is about to undergo its own rebuild with head coach Luis Enrique on his way out at the Nou Camp, with Turkish international Turan likely to be surplus to the new manager’s requirements.
Chris Wondolowski didn't have to travel far when he got the call to join the U.S. national team ahead of two key World Cup qualifiers. The U.S. will be playing Honduras on the home field of Wondolowski's San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night as the Americans look to bounce back from an 0-2 start in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region. "To represent your country is the ultimate pinnacle, especially as a soccer player in a World Cup qualifier in your hometown," Wondolowski said. "I couldn't have drawn it up any better. I'm very excited. I'm very honored to be a part of such a big game. It's not necessarily the place we want to be, but it is an exciting place for