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Today’s Nutrition Tip

Women's Soccer Nutrition Guide

Here is today's nutrition tip from Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women's Soccer. And now there are 8.....teams left in the Women's World Cup, that is. The quarterfinals are set, and in terms of taking care of themselves off the field, the teams must go the 'extra mile' for the optimum preparation. As it states in Food Guide for Women's Soccer, just as each teammate depends on the others to be fit, focused and ready to play, so too with being well-nourished. When you eat right, you do so for yourself and for the team effort, since what, when and how you fuel has a direct impact on your performance. Parents, coaches, team captains and/or managers: take a poll before games. Ask players what and when they ate before arriving. If it isn’t up to speed (often that means not enough), pass the pre-game snacks. Eventually, players will learn to eat well on their own. Stay tuned for more from the Women’s World Cup


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The Penalty Shot: People Remember



 "It's a Battle of the Mind" “When you miss a chance in open play, people don’t remember. When you miss a chance on a penalty, people remember,” said Alan Shearer, all-time leading goal scorer for Newcastle United of the EPL. Years later people talk about a missed penalty shot. People still talk about Baggio’s missed penalty kick at the 1994 Men’s World Cup Final in the USA. Certainly people remember most when a missed penalty shot costs you the game. Yesterday, Alex Morgan bailed out Abby Wambach after her missed penalty shot against Columbia at the FIFA Women’s World Cup by scoring shortly after the miss to erase some people’s memory. Later in the contest, the USA was awarded another penalty and everyone was wondering whether or not Wambach would be given another chance. She couldn’t miss two in a row could she? Instead Lloyd stepped up to the spot and scored. The USA won the game 2-0 to get to the quarter finals. It’s not often that a player gets a chance to take two penalty shots in one game but when it happens, the coach has a big decision to make. In one way, you would assume that your best shot taker will regain their composure to do what they have done for you many times. In another case, you figure that their confidence may be a bit shattered and you cannot put them under that kind of pressure. Penalty shot taking is all in the mind isn’t it. Even for the coach! In Sunday’s MLS match with the Vancouver Whitecaps the New York Red Bulls’ coach gave striker Bradley Wright-Phillips a second chance at taking a penalty shot in the game after missing his first. Consequently, Wright-Phillips became the first player in MLS history to miss two penalty shots in the same game. The Red Bulls lost 2-1 and ultimately, Wright-Phillips’ two missed scoring chances cost his team the game. In my book, The Last 9 Seconds, I spend a full chapter on the psychological aspects of the penalty shot. Taken right out of the book, Shearer said, “It’s a battle of the mind. When I missed in one game, it was my responsibility that everyone went home miserable that evening. It took a while to get over that. Penalty shots don’t get any easier just because you have taken lots.” In the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final, Brandi Chastain scored that memorable penalty shot goal that got her so excited that she took her shirt off after the ball went in the net to give the USA the World Cup. But fortunately for her, she had taken a shot on the Chinese goalkeeper before. She said, “She (Gao Hong) had psyched me out earlier. I looked up and caught her eye. Her gaze rattled me and my shot dinged off the crossbar.” In her book It’s Not About the Bra, Chastain said, “There is no way I’d look into her eyes again. A penalty kick is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. No one really expects a keeper to save a PK, so she has nothing to lose. All the mental pressure weighs on the shooter.” And how ironic is it that the USA’s quarter final match is against China. Should it go into penalty shots again, Wambach will certainly be asked to step up to the spot. Wow, what pressure. Thanks for Reading, John DeBenedictis http://www.thelast9seconds.com/      


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WWC US vs. Columbia



US vs. Columbia By Shane Stay, author of Why American Soccer Isn’t There Yet (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2014) In last night's WWC, US vs. Columbia, the US wins 2-0, getting past Columbia as expected but as the team prepares for a strong China side, there are still questions. Julie Foudy speaking on the ESPN Freddie Coleman Show said. “Get stuck in,” with a laugh, responding to his question on how the US can defeat China on Friday in the Quarterfinal match. The echo chamber is more or less: “There needs to be more cohesive play; there needs to be more aggressive tackling; better chemistry; more offense.” All this is true as the squad is not playing the best soccer, but they’re moving on. In similar fashion to the men’s Brazilian team last summer in 2014, they’re getting by, however it’s not very eye pleasing. The problem is, on paper, they have great talent. There are moments when the talent is clearly on display. The players have the skill and commitment, but there’s a quality lacking that’s holding them back from really getting things into high gear. There’s a lot of pressure on the team, particularly in the showdown with China: the rematch of 1999, when the best team in US women’s history, led by Akers and Hamm, were full throttle. The US should win, but enthusiastic fans are hoping for a thrilling show, which the team is more than capable of. http://www.shanestay.com/   US Maintains Composure, Ousts Columbia By Whitey Kapsalis, author of To Chase a Dream (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2014) The intent of the Columbian Soccer team leading up to their game vs the US was to try to turn it into an emotional battle. They wanted to test the US Team’s mental toughness with pre-game rumors and innuendo’s, but it did not work. The US maintained its composure, even after ending the first half at 0-0 and even after missing a potential go-ahead penalty kick in the 2nd half. Those situations did not demoralize the US effort; instead they inspired the US effort. This US Team is savvy, this US Team is poised and this US Team accomplished the task at hand with relentless offensive pursuit in beating emotionally charged Columbia 2-0, and advancing to the next round of the World Cup. Megan Rapinoe was outstanding on both ends of the field and a healthy Alex Morgan is a handful for opponents to deal with. This veteran, focused US squad simply took care of business and let their actions do the talking.    http://www.tochaseadream.com/   Women’s World Cup Nutrition Tip By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women's Soccer (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2015) Particularly in the summer heat of the Women’s World Cup, both players and fans likely turn to salad for a meal. Food Guide for Women’s Soccer offers the following advice for athletes or anyone filling their salad bowls. Choose a variety of colorful vegetables—dark green lettuces, red tomatoes, yellow peppers, orange carrots—for a variety of vitamins and minerals. If the vegetables you buy for salads tend to wilt in your refrigerator, consider frequent trips to the salad bar at the grocery store and deli as an alternative to tossing veggies that spoil before you find the chance to eat them. And here’s a tip: dig from the bottom, to make sure to get the coldest (and therefore best preserved) part of the salad bar. Also, watch the dressing. If you choose to use regular dressings, try to select ones made with olive oil for both a nice flavor and health-protective monounsaturated fats, or dilute them with vinegar or other liquid for a lighter touch. Stay tuned to more from the Women’s World Cup http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/ http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/  


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Food Guide for Women’s Soccer



Women's World Cup Nutrition Tip By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women's Soccer As the remaining teams in the tournament contest the round of 16, the players spend their off days training, resting and refueling. Many soccer players and their parents misunderstand the role of protein in a sports diet. According to Food Guide for Women's Soccer, many wrongly believe protein should be the foundation of their sports diets. While you do need adequate protein, it should be a accompaniment to the carb-based meals that fuel your muscles. Smaller amounts of protein—about 10% to 15% of your calories—can adequately build and repair muscles, make red blood cells, enzymes and hormones, and allow hair and fingernails to grow. This translates into a small-to-medium portion (20 to 30 grams of protein) at each meal. Stay tuned for more from the Women's World Cup http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/ http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/


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Wambach is Back



Just like I predicted in my blog last week, after Wambach missed a great scoring opportunity against Australia, she’d bounce back better than ever. Folks, “Wambach is back”. Her goal against Nigeria put the USA through to the next round in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and was the only goal of the match. When the pressure is on to score key goals, the best find their way back to putting the ball in the net. It’s just the way it is. For the best to stay the best, that’s the way it has to be. Sometimes you wonder why the top goal scorer’s continue to be the top scorer’s year after year, even though often other players seem to have similar or more technical skills than they do. They just fail to register as many goals as them. The answer is that the best goals scorer’s in the World have that special mental make-up that others don’t. I like to call it their “inner game” is better. And of course, I talk about that extensively in my Golden Goal Scoring Courses and in my book, The Last 9 Seconds. I believe it’s the 9 seconds before a goal is scored that counts the most. What is the player thinking, doing, and where are they going? What’s going through their mind so they get to the right spot at the right time and what are they doing with their final touch? Seems simple but it’s the hardest thing to do. That’s why consistent goal scorers are highly sought after and make the most money. When a striker fails to score for 5 straight games, everyone wonders what’s wrong with them even if they are getting absolutely no decent balls that anyone can possibly score with. If a striker doesn’t score often, they will disappear into obscurity, sometimes without ever getting another chance at the big leagues. If a striker goes into a slump, especially once they approach 30 years of age, they are often labeled as being finished and ready for retirement. How unfair. I recall consulting Jeff Cunningham of the MLS. He was one of the all-time leading goal scorers in the MLS before getting to Toronto. After a terrible season with Toronto FC, where he could not find the back of the net much, I had the pleasure of meeting him and started consulting him. Players can be very fragile when the pressure is on them. Jeff was a true gentleman and very receptive to my advice. He wanted to improve and listen to my comments even though he was an experienced goal scorer. The following season he got back on track and won the MLS scoring title with FC Dallas at the ripe old age of 33. That’s’ practically unheard of in soccer. But if you can clear the mind and get your “inner game” back in form, great goal scorers will put away their past misses and poor performances and get right back on track. Strikers have to have that special makeup to be able to score goals year after year especially after getting hacked, butchered, and fouled all the time. If they don’t, they’re gone. The striker position is so unforgiving. That’s why I knew Abby would bounce back. Her goal against Nigeria required deep concentration and focus. She was there and did her thing. Way to go Abby! Best of luck the rest of the way. Thanks for Reading, John DeBenedictis www.thelast9seconds.com   Women's World Cup Nutrition Tip By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women's Soccer (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2015) As the tournament moves on, the question becomes: how do players stay energized? Do vitamin supplements help players? As Food Guide for Women's Soccer tells players, your best bet for fighting fatigue is to be responsible with your choices and nourish your body with the right balance of wholesome foods. Make the effort to eat a variety of foods and fluids from the different food groups every day to consume not only the amount of vitamins and minerals you need, but also the calories your body needs to prevent fatigue. If you are tempted to take supplements for health insurance, do so only if you simultaneously choose to eat responsibly. Remember, no amount of supplements will compensate for an inadequate diet--but you will always win with good nutrition. Eat wisely, eat well!  Stay tuned for more from the Women's World Cup  


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Women Play Tough But Fair



As I sit and watch the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup I sense that there seems to be something different about the women’s game than I’m used to seeing with the men’s. There is a refreshing quality about the spirit that the games are played in that’s noticeable. But at first, I could not figure out what that was. The women play the game as tough as men. There are some tough bone- crunching challenges in the game that make you want to look away. At the same time, we see some great finesse and strategic play that did not exist 20 years ago. The women’s game has come a long way. I find it very enjoyable to watch. But what I noticed most is that they play the game fairly most of the time. I do not see cases where players are deliberately attempting to injure an opponent. Also, and this is the part that took me a while to figure out, I don’t see feather-like contact turn into academy award, “I just got shot”, performances. The women play tough but fair. You know that when someone is down, they are probably injured in some way and not faking it. And I’m not the only one to have noticed this. When I’ve brought this up with avid soccer fans, they have all agreed. In the event of tough challenges, it often results in a badly timed tackle and not any intention to cheat or disobey the rules. Of course there are some exceptions but generally this quality is refreshing. I wish that more men players played in this spirit.   Thanks for Reading, John DeBenedictis, author of The Last 9 Seconds: Follow on twitter @JohnD_Soccer Like on Facebook


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US Women Beat Nigeria, Win Group



US Women Beat Nigeria, Win Group By Whitey Kapsalis, author of To Chase a Dream (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2014) The US Women beat Nigeria in an important final game of the first round, winning the group and advancing on to the next round. A late 1st half goal by Abby Wambach was the difference in a game dominated by the US. A few counter-attack opportunities by Nigeria kept the game interesting, but the US was in control throughout. The highlight of the game was Lauren Holiday’s presence and composure in the midfield. She orchestrated the offense by being around the ball a lot and by playing balls that kept the Nigerian defense off-balance. Once again, the back five of the US defenders were stingy and disciplined throughout the game, breaking down most of Nigeria’s attack in the defensive third. http://www.tochaseadream.com/   US vs. Nigeria By Shane Stay, author of Why American Soccer Isn’t There Yet (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2014) Columbia vs. England will likely determine who the US plays next in Edmonton, Canada. The Women’s World Cup is getting more exciting! Wambach’s goal, a volley with her foot – not her head – put the US past Nigeria, as predicted, to win Group D. The midfield was better, with room for improvement. This win avoids a second round game against a strong Brazilian side. As Wambach and Morgan got more playing time, maybe that was the key as Abby’s goad in the first half finished the score against Nigeria, 1-0. Coming off a tie against Sweden this was a great confidence builder for the team in the next few days. Furthermore, Morgan’s start was the first in two months, due to an injury comeback. US fans are hoping to see more from her. Combined with Lloyd, and other midfield talent, things are coming together for the US, gaining momentum heading into the knock out rounds. Some keys to look for will be the US remaining composed in possession and not getting rattled when they don’t score right away, with a solid and relaxed defense, who, up to this point, has played well, keeping the US in games, but has also looked jittery at times. http://www.shanestay.com/blog   Women's World Cup Tip--Get Your Sleep! By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women’s Soccer (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2015) As the tournament moves on to the crucial knock-out rounds, every aspect of players caring for themselves both on and off the field becomes more crucial. In addition to good nutrition, other lifestyle aspects come into consideration. According to Food Guide for Women's Soccer, in addition to fatigue, lack of sleep directly affects athletic performance. According to research quoted in the book, cumulative sleep deprivation has been shown to reduce cardiovascular performance by 11%. It also affects other measures of performance, such as focus, perceived exertion, and alters the supply of energy to the muscles. Stay tuned to more from the Women's World Cup http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/ http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/  


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Women Coaches Produce More Goals



Here is an interesting statistic from this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. Teams coached by women have scored more goals and also given up more goals than teams coached by men in the competition thus far. The top two scoring teams so far are Germany and Switzerland and between them they have scored 21 goals. Each team has only played 2 games. The good news is that both teams are coached by female coaches. At the other end of the spectrum, the top two teams that have conceded the most goals so far are Ecuador and Cote D’Ivoire. The bad news is that those two teams have conceded 29 goals in 4 games and are also coached by female coaches. It seems as though that teams with women coaches produce more goals both for and against. It’s interesting that female coaches are at the helm at both extremes. (I shall refrain from making a comment here). In this World Cup, only 7 head coaches of the 24 teams are female. If we look at the total goals for and against record of those 7 female coaches, we see a total of 33 goals were scored and 39 goals were conceded. The combined total from the remaining 17 male coaches shows only 41 goals scored and only 35 goals given up. This could be purely coincidental but based on those numbers I would say that, from an entertainment point of view, watching teams coached by females would provide a lot more excitement. In fact the numbers suggest that games would be filled with goals if all teams were coached by females. Maybe we should consider forcing all teams in the Women’s World Cup to be coached by females. That could make things interesting. Come to think of it, if this is a trend and not just a coincidence, the MLS, which is traditionally a low scoring league, should consider banning male coaches and forcing all teams to hire female head coaches. That may help boost TV ratings for the MLS as well! Please don’t comment on that last sentence because I’m just kidding. But it is an interesting observation isn’t it? Will it continue? Keep an eye on it. Thanks for reading, John DeBenedictis, author of The Last 9 Seconds: The Secrets of Scoring Goals on the Last Touch (DeBenedictis Books) Follow John on Twitter - JohnD_Soccer  


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Soccer Experts Weigh in on US, Sweden Game



  Shane Stay and Whitey Kapsalis, two soccer experts weigh in on US, Sweden game.  Also included is a helpful nutrition tip from Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark. Here is what they have to say:  US Women Build in Confidence Against Sweden Shane Stay, author of Why American Soccer Isn't There Yet (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2014) Even though it turned out to be a tie, the US women looked much better in this second game against Sweden. That is, in the second half of this second game. Despite strong defense from the US in the first forty-five, the front side of the attack was lacking a connection, as opportunities in the box were missed, with a through pass massively over-paced as the first half came to a close, missing out on a prime opportunity to create danger in Sweden’s box. As the team regrouped at half, the pace to the next forty-five was much better. As the Winnipeg-based crowd picked up the spirits’ of the players, there was good patience in possession, the spacing was exploited in Sweden’s defensive third, along with good footwork from Lloyd, Krieger, and very good composure from Christen Press. Lloyd came very close to scoring near the Swede’s goal-line which turned into a clash of heads, leaving both players on the ground momentarily. There was a close call for a penalty kick as the ball ambiguously glazed off a Swedish defender’s hand, but the real attacking threat came from a delicate shot past Solo which a US defender deflected off her head into the crossbar, averting a near certain score from Sweden. In the end, a 0-0 score will do for now as the US moves on with a point, on top of Group D with four points. Wambach and Morgan came on late, with little impact. Overall, the US outplayed Sweden and things should pick up on the scoreboard carrying this confidence into the next match against Nigeria, which should be a walk in the park. http://www.shanestay.com/blog      Unusual lackluster performance by US ends in scoreless draw with Sweden By Whitey Kapsalis, author of To Chase a Dream (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2014) Perhaps it was the fact that they were playing their old coach, or perhaps it was just one of those days, but the US Women’s Soccer Team gave an atypical lackluster performance last night in drawing even with Sweden. The US was unable to sustain any momentum in the attacking third and did not create any real scoring threats. Passes in the final third were not connecting and play in the midfield was a bit methodical, contributing to the lack of firepower we have grown accustomed to seeing. Defensively we were strong and had another huge save off the goal line to prevent what could have been a big loss. Let’s hope the game next Tuesday produces a more inspired effort, the kind of effort that has always made this team so special and fun to watch. http://www.tochaseadream.com/   Women's World Cup Nutrition Tip By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women's Soccer (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2015) As the tournament progresses, history shows that the most successful and experienced teams know how to build: they have to get better as they go along. Refueling is an important part of the equation. According to Food Guide for Women's Soccer, the best post-exercise snacks include a foundation of carbs to replace the depleted glycogen (muscle energy) stores, and a small amount of protein (10 to 20 grams) to repair the muscle damage. The target is about three times more carbs than protein. Good choices include a fruit smoothie made with Greek yogurt, or an energy bar plus chocolate milk.   http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/ http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/


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If They Don’t Score You Can’t Lose…But



I just finished watching the Women’s World Cup match between Canada and New Zealand that ended in a 0-0 tie. Although there were a few crossbars and a few great saves by the keepers, there were not that many chances manufactured by either team. In the past, it was not uncommon for a coach to say to his or her team, "If they don't score, you can’t lose." Teams would play defensive soccer and hope to steal a victory with a chance goal. It was after the 1982 Men’s World Cup that FIFA probably started considering changing their point structure to encourage attacking soccer. In that tournament, Italy played 3 first round games without winning a game and only scoring 2 goals but they managed to advance because they also only gave up 2 goals. That was enough to allow Italy to go through to the next round. As it turned out, they ended up winning the World Cup but it only came after they started scoring. In their last 3 games they scored 8 goals. But playing negative soccer was not attractive so FIFA introduced the 3 point system whereby a win was worth 3 points instead of 2 while a tie was still worth only one point. Today, it would be unlikely that a team can go to the next round with only 3 ties. Nonetheless, goals are still hard to come by thus far in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. If you take away some lopsided scores, which are probably a result of some weaker teams being entered into the competition due to more teams being allowed in the finals, scoring would still be very low. Courtesy of Les Jones, Covershots, Inc. So far, in 62.4% of games only 1 goal was needed for a team to win the game. Staggering when you think about it isn’t it? Only 1 goal can win you over 50% of soccer games. Are the goalkeepers that good? Maybe teams are playing as though they are afraid to lose in fear of being eliminated from the tournament. We did see goal scoring go up in the 2014 Men’s World Cup, so let’s hope that as we move to must-win games that teams will need at least 2 goals to win a game instead of 1. That would be more enjoyable to watch too. And don’t forget, that you also cannot win without scoring a goal! Thanks for reading. John DeBenedictis – Author: The Last 9 Seconds: The Secrets to Scoring Goals on The Last Touch (DeBenedictis Books 2013) Go Like my Facebook page The Last 9 Seconds by John DeBenedictis http://www.thelast9seconds.com/   Nutrition Tips By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women’s Soccer (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2015) http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/ As the competition ramps up, here is a key fact to consider from Food Guide for Women's Soccer. Some statistics reveal that the majority of goals are scored in the last five minutes of the first and second half of the game. And according to a 2002 men's World Cup analysis, the peak of scoring was between the 76th and 90th minutes of the matches. This indicates that fatigue and/or lack of focus has a major impact on allowing opponents to score. That's why smart nutrition can keep you in the game, and competitive until the final whistle.  Stay tuned for more from the Women's World Cup http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/ http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/


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