Tag Archive | "United States"

MLS Cup Final Winners LA Galaxy

The Rise of the MLS

The USA’s top football league known as the MLS over recent years has undoubtedly grown in popularity. In fact, football, or ‘soccer’ as it is known in the US, has become a major thing in the country, even if not to the level of the NFL or MLB. This is thanks in part to the hugely positive performances in recent World Cups from the national team with them only just missing out on a quarter final spot to a strong Belgium team.

A lot of high profile names have made the move to the US in recent years; David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and most recently Kaka. However, all of these players have moved during the tail end of their careers when they’ve already made a name for themselves in world football. Will this change though? There are plenty of attractive options for players nearing the end of their career away from Europe’s top leagues, with China bringing in many players on extortionate salaries being an example of this. Didier Drogba during his time in China was reportedly earning $310,000 per week, so with offers like that going to players well into their thirties, why should they go to the MLS?

The recent acquisition of MLS franchises by both David Beckham and City Football Group (also made up of Manchester City and Melbourne City FC) will bring not only some high profile players, but also media interest from across the globe. David Beckham is known worldwide and has become almost synonymous with English football, and the sport in general. The media focus on his Miami based franchise, particularly in the Uk will be huge. He is one of the people in world football who would be able to attract the big names, and I think that all it will take for the popularity of the MLS to really sky-rocket would be one or two of these big names to turn down moves to the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid and opt for a move to the MLS instead. In practice however this will be a lot more difficult. The lure of Champions League football offered by Europe’s leading clubs has been attracting the biggest names in football away from teams competing at a lower level, and the lack of this in the MLS would undoubtedly deter a number of potential new signings. As I said before though money talks, and if enough stars make the move to the USA, who knows how big the league and sport will become over there.

There are a lot of ‘ifs’ regarding the potential success of the MLS. If a few wealthy investors turn up offering ridiculous salaries to players at the peak of their careers, few would turn the move down. Just look at Colombian striker Radamel Falcao who completed a move to AS Monaco for figures reported as anything between £300,000 and £450,000 per week when they were still competing in Ligue 2, the second tier of French football. Money talks (or shouts very loudly in the case of Falcao) and if an offer comes through to some of world footballs up and coming stars that includes a huge salary and the option to live in a place like New York or Los Angeles, we could well see the pool of talent in the MLS increase dramatically, and with it the popularity of the sport in the USA. American sports in recent years have been an exciting proposition for broadcasters in the UK such as Sky Sports and ESPN, and there is no sign of that slowing down. If the public interest is there, then there is no reason why the MLS can’t and won’t become as popular as Europe’s top leagues.

 

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Syria

Syrian Conflict

The protests began in March 2011; the Syrians demanded President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power. Assad’s autocratic leadership was compared to the dictators in history such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. The request for freedom from the protesters was met by violence. The peaceful people were kicked, punched and shot. Brutal actions sparked rebellion which created armies of angry dissidents.

 

On August 21st 2013, there were reports of chemical gas attacks in the capital city of Damascus, it was alleged that the Syrian regime carried out the attacks. UN officials tested out the samples taken from the location and discovered that sarin gas was used. The youngest person treated because of the gas attack was 7 years old. The attacks were the reason for a worldwide debate.

Unexpectedly, the Assad regime has lasted longer than the predicted 18 months although it has had a few setbacks e.g. Rebels seizer of hundreds of tanks. The rebels are receiving help from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but it is not enough. The United Nations claim that Russia and Iran are ‘fuelling’ the civil war by blocking their attempts at resolving the situation and arming Assad supporters. Russian President, Vladimir Putin in particular does not want the US involved as he is not comfortable with the US influence on the world. America, Russia, Iran and the UK continue to debate about actions to stop the war but they cannot reach an agreement due to the differing opinions of all sides. There are fears that this war will turn into the seemingly never ending wars such is the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, if the US are involved.

While the great world powers debate, the war’s impact on the population and environment is truly distressing. Homes are being destroyed, Schools obliterated and Hospitals overpopulated. Men, women and children are forced to flee their homes because of the dire conditions. Orphaned children have to look for food, water and shelter as they have lost all their families and constant battles take place on the streets between the rebels and Assad’s army with no concern about the safety of others. Some Syrians have fled to bordering countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Efforts have been made by thousands of people to aid the victims of a senseless war; there have been many events to raise funds. The attempts to help the innocent are much appreciated however, this war seems like a fire that cannot be extinguished. The death toll has reached a deeply unsettling 110,000 and continues to rise as the conflict goes on however there may be the possibility of an agreement in the near future.

 

Hamad Haroon

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