Each week I will take a look at random soccer tidbits. Today is my first edition…
The Keystone Derby – Will Now Be a Battle for the Turnpike Cup
When Pittsburgh Riverhounds new President Richard Nightingale met with the team’s loyal supporters last month, he announced that in addition to battling for points in their league, the team that wins the annual Keystone Derby series with the Harrisburg City Islanders will now also be awarded the Turnpike Cup.
In fact, as the excitement builds between the two teams small, but loyal fan bases, there is even a Turnpike Cup twitter account, @TurnpikeCup
Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to the Harrisburg game in June with the Riverhounds Steel Army supporters (see photo as the Army invaded our Capital). In the eyes of the loyal Hounds fans, the City Islanders are clearly their primary rival. So, it’s nice to see that they’ve added this little extra incentive to the series.
No word yet on what the Cup might look like. Seems to me that would it would somehow have to include orange cones. I wonder if the City Islanders would be able to get our Governor to be on hand for the presentation of the Cup in Septmber at City Island.
Soccer on Pittsburgh’s Airwaves
Tonight there will be soccer talk featured on 970 AM ESPN Radio, at 6 p.m. at goalkeeper Ryan Thompson will be the guest on the Soccer Talk show that will emanate from Pipers Pub on the South Side.
Riverhounds Launch Specific Soccer Training Platform for Youth Players
Last week, the Riverhounds announced the launch of a new Specific Soccer Training platform under the guidance of Erik Eisenhut. Here’s some information from their recent announcement:
Specific Soccer Training is designed to provide tailored training programs for young players within the Western Pennsylvania region. It will feature routines specifically targeted to the different field positions as well as strength, conditioning and speed development sessions similar to those undertaken by the Riverhounds’ professional team.
Training programs will run throughout the year to provide young players with a consistent method to improve their game.
Eisenhut developed as a goalkeeping coach under the tutelage of former United States women’s national team head coach Tony DiCicco. He holds state, regional and national goalkeeping coaching diplomas from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
“We are thrilled to welcome Erik to the club,” said Riverhounds sporting director Jason Kutney. “He is a charismatic spark plug on the personal end and a fantastic teacher on the coaching end.”
Eisenhut’s first task will be to roll out a comprehensive course for goalkeeper training. The revamped Riverhounds Goalkeeping Academy will include six coaches that have cumulatively gained experience from playing in the UEFA Champions League, national team games and NCAA College Cup championships.
IN THE SOCCER WORLD
International friendlies are in swing this week.
Two Riverhounds players, goalkeeper Ryan Thompson (Jamaica) and 20 year-old defender, Tyler Pasher, will be playing for their senior national teams respectively. Pasher is already training with Canadian team while Thompson will meet up with the Reggae Boys in Florida on Sunday prior to their Monday match with Cuba.
The U.S. men will be in action later today (at Denmark, 3 p.m. EST – ESPN2) and then Tuesday, March 31 at Switzerland. These will be good friendlies as they prepare to compete in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.
In the heart of March Madness on Sunday afternoon, El Clasico provided another fun match. Of course, Luis Suarez had the game winner, and it was a classic Suarez goal. In Pittsburgh, and in the U.S. the only way to watch the game was on BE IN Sport Network. Although it’s harder to find and have to pay extra for it, most of our local cable/broadband providers now have the network. It’s also available for $10 month on the internet or as an app. If you ever get a chance, BE IN’s Ray Hudson is just a gem to listen to his commentary during games — especially El Clasico.
Manchester United are one of the iconic names in the sport, and the most recent Chevy ad featuring the United and Wayne Rooney is terrific. If you haven’t seen it, here it is.