Paper plate masks and balloon animals

This is not football related but today some of us from SoccerShirtsOnline went to volunteer at a local elementary school art fair, with kids age 4-6.  We decided on doing paper plate masks and balloon animals.  We got ambushed by about 300 kids at the same time!  But just about managed to keep it together and ended up having a great time, so did the kids.

I’m now able to turn out quite a few balloon swords per minute.

Check out some pictures below:

FIFA 10 or Pro Evolution 2010?

Torres Pro Evolution 2010If you are anything like me you love sitting down and playing a good game of football on your PC or console.  And it’s gotten to that time of year when the current games have become a bit stale and I’m waiting for the new versions to come out in September or October.

For a few years now we have been treated to having the choice between two football titles; Fifa and Pro Evolution (ok why make the choice, I usually buy both).  But it’s worth comparing this years prospects.

I previously had an Xbox 360 and was really impressed with Fifa 07-08 on the Xbox 360…then it blew up (RROD) due to the very hot climate here in Thailand, and I didn’t fancy buying another one, so switched over to gaming on a PC.  And getting Fifa 09 for the PC was a real kick in the teeth at first, seeing as it’s basically a more primitive version of Fifa 08 for the 360.

After the Fifa disappointment I went straight out and bought Pro Evolution (PES) which I really enjoyed, especially the Become a Legend system; the game play and graphics in PES are great.   But recently I’ve found myself switching back to Fifa due to it’s “manager” mode which far exceeds the “master league” in PES.  There’s nothing quite like starting with a 3 division team and making it all the way up to the Premier League.

I feel that it’s come to a pivotal year; if Fifa 10 is as good on the PC as it is on the Xbox they’ll surely get me hooked.  But if PES gets an in-depth management system with multiple levels of domestic leagues I will definitely be playing Pro Evo.

However from what I’ve been reading so far it seems like both titles could fail to produce in these areas.

I have not heard any news of improved licensing for PES 2010; without this it would be impossible for them to have all the lower league teams, and thus no good management mode.  It seems their improvements will be mostly graphical.

And it appears that Fifa for the PC may again be a lesser version (what they refer to as a “PC specific experience”), which would be really disappointing.  And no matter how good the PC version is it will still leave a bitter taste knowing there is a better Xbox360 or PS3 version out there.

Online Football Calendar

New online football calendarDuring some of my free time I have been working on a new wiki-style football calendar.

I have often found it difficult to find a complete list of all upcoming events for a club or multiple clubs in a single location.  Which is why I have created this online football calendar.

People can create an account and login to post events to the calendar, and select different teams to browse.

Currently it has a calendar for all 20 premier league teams, but I plan to add more leagues and teams if the site gains any interest.  And also plan to expand it in the future so that users can create their own person calendars for their own team.

Here are links for all the premier league team calendars:

Galáctico vs Youth Development

Cristiano-Ronaldo-Kaka-an-001This summer we have seen a huge amount of spending especially by Real Madrid, and to a lesser extent Manchester City.

Whereas other teams such as Arsenal and Manchester United have remained faithful to their young players and youth academies.

This season will be the ultimate test of whether money can buy success and trophies.  Will Real Madrid manage to walk away with everything or will the Galácticos fail to jell…

In my opinion the big spenders will see some short term gains, but much less than they might expect.  It takes a long time to forge a brilliant team, not just 11 talented individuals.   In the long term the teams which develop their own players and buy to fill in the gaps will be the most successful.

However it’s the wannabe Galáctico teams which are in the most trouble.  Such as Chelsea; they wanted to buy big name players, and have neglected their own development programs, and now the money is drying up they could be in real trouble.

Michael Owen rises again

owenmanunitedOn Friday the news broke that Owen has signed a 2 year contract with the Red Devils, prompting widespread debate as to whether Owen can still perform, whether Sir Alex has lost his marbles, or if it’s a brilliant masterstroke by the old Scot.

I believe Ferguson has played the situation perfectly, and picked up a great signing.  He shrewdly kept under wraps any interest that he had in the 29 year old England striker.  With only the likes of Hull and Stoke taking an interest in Michael, and his contract at Newcastle already expired, Owen must have been starting to get a little nervous as to just where his career might be headed.

Then along comes Sir Alex and offers Owen the chance to be great again, at a highly discounted wage compared to his old 110K a week deal with NUFC.  He knocked his salary down by more than 50% to 50K a week, but when the choices are Manchester United, Stoke or Hull…it’s fairly obvious where any ambitious player would go.

Many people are saying that it is a “gamble” by Ferguson, but I don’t see it as such at all.  Manchester United can easily afford 50K a week salary even if Owen were to get injured tomorrow and never set a foot on the pitch, United would hardly miss the 50K.  And to get a player of his caliber for FREE, is fantastic.  It could only be considered a gamble if Ferguson doesn’t sign any other strikers this summer and uses Owen as a direct replaced for Tevez; which remains to be seen.

I think Owen will easily bang in 15-20 goals this season even he starts most games on the bench; behind Rooney and Berbatov in the peaking order.

One must not forget that it takes a certain kind of player to play for United, one who is willing to put the team first, sit on the bench if needed, act professionally on and off the field.  Owen has all of these traits, and while he may not be as skillful as departing winger, Christiano Ronaldo, he will be a far better roll model for the United youngsters.