Coaching Blog

Can Andre-Pierre Gignac Lead Marseille to Ligue 1 Glory?

gignac
Gignac is gonna get you! – (Photo: Sabrinaalili.wordpress.com)

The critical importance of having a great striker certainly cannot be understated in professional soccer.  League leading goal scorer Diego Costa of Chelsea has the team perched well atop the English Premier League with his 9 goals.  But when it comes to Ligue 1 of France, the names that most fans are familiar with include Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Radamel Falcao, and Edinson Cavani.  But in the early goings of this season, someone different is bagging all the goals and leading his team to the top of Ligue 1: Andre-Pierre Gignac, also known as Dede amongst his teammates.

Gignac isn’t the type of superstar you’d be likely to hear of.  His career has largely been that of those second tier strikers who often lurk in the shadows at mid-table clubs and occasionally get an international call up or two when the main man is out injured.  But in all likelihood these players have decent careers and then disappear from memory as soon as they retire.

But while Gignac’s career has began that way, he is starting to hit his stride at the ripe old age of 28, which is often the beginnings of the peak years for most footballers.  After a solid season last year in which he netted 22 goals Gignac has now taken his game to new heights with 10 goals through just 11 games.  That mark currently stands as a goal higher than the dynamic PSG duo Ibrahimovic and Cavani combined!

But what’s even more impressive about the hot streak is that it has led Marseille to a first place standing in Ligue 1, 4 points ahead of big money spenders PSG, the French league’s reigning champion.  While few predictions will have even considered the idea of PSG losing this title given their squad of superstar players, even fewer would have predicted Marseille do be doing so well, especially considering their inability to even claim a Europa League position last season when they finished 6th.

However, owning a top striker can change that, which is exactly the type of player that Gignac has become.  At a goal-to-game ratio of nearly 1, he is top class and in top form.  The France national team has been quick to notice, and gave Gignac a call up in the recent international friendly matches.  Given a start against Armenia, he performed exceptionally well, earning 2 assists and scoring a penalty.  Often overlooked by France in favor of more established stars at major clubs (like Olivier Giroud, Kareem Benzema, and Loic Remy), Gignac earned his chance and proved his worth.  It will be interesting to see if the player becomes a larger part of his national team should his great play continue, especially given the EURO 2016 hosted by France not too far off in the future.

But for now we must wait and see if Andre-Pierre Gignac can continue his free-scoring ways and lead Marseille to a title in Ligue 1.  A major test will take place November 9th when Marseille faces PSG away, who remain undefeated despite their 6 draws.  Something tells me that Gignac might just be the hero on the day, and that perhaps his club will be listening from offers for the star striker from PSG and other big spenders by the season’s end…

Want to See the World? Become a Pro Soccer Player!

theworld
See the world through soccer! – (Photo: En.wikipedia.org)

One of the things that is on many peoples’ bucket lists is to travel the world.  Exotic locations in Asia and world-famous cities in Europe are all dream destinations for many people.  If they are lucky and have saved enough money, some of these people will get to spend their final years in retirement traveling around.  However, there is an easier way to live this dream (and actually get paid to do it!).  It does involve one hard piece of work though: becoming a professional soccer player!

And as tough as the training might be and for how many endless hours of conditioning you might have to endure, rising to the upper echelons of the sport can provide you with your dream of traveling all over the world.  So hang in there and tough it out; traveling the world via soccer is actually not that insane of a goal.

Soccer truly is the global sport, and that gives young players a massive opportunity.  Top talents get to attend prestigious college soccer programs.  With these school teams, you could have the chance to travel all over the country for various games and tournaments.  You many not be seeing the whole world just yet, but seeing half of the United States is a good first step to your travel wishes!

But at the pro level is where your mileage could really increase.  Professional soccer leagues exist in almost every corner of the globe!  Perhaps you have German ancestry and wish to play in the Bundesliga.  Or maybe you want to get in touch with the game’s roots by playing in the English Premier League.  Though if you’re a fan of good weather, perhaps you’d like to play in a more Mediterranean climate like Italy, Spain, or Greece.

And it’s not just Europe, though that’s where a lot of the big time teams exist.  Pro soccer teams exist throughout Asia, South America, and even Africa.  Or if you’re a homebody like Landon Donovan, the growing MLS might just be right for you.  But no matter where your team is based, get ready to do lots of traveling.  Major continental tournaments like the UEFA Champions League in Europe or North America’s CONCACAF Champions League ship teams all over the region, to foreign lands and major cities.  It’s on these sorts of trips that you’ll really see the world, and if your team wins, you might be headed off to a far-off land like Morocco or Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup, wherever the worldwide championships are held.

And of course, for those top top athletes who feature for the national teams, you will travel far and wide for friendlies and major competitions like the World Cup itself, soccer’s greatest event.  Such an experience will give you a broad definition of what world travel can be.  But with so many semi-professional leagues spread widely throughout the world, the opportunity to play soccer and travel is well within reach.  You may not be headed to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, but you might just be traveling throughout England on a Championship squad, or playing up and down the Eastern Seaboard of America in the NASL.  If you work hard enough and develop your skills, you can definitely become a pro soccer player, and it’ll be your golden ticket to world travel!

What’s the Best Kind of Goal to Score for Your Soccer Team?

goall
Another great goal scored! – (Photo: En.wikipedia.org)

There are so many different types of goals.  There’s the graceful and determined pure strike, seen so often by the likes of Robin Van Persie.  There’s the hard fought, almost angry penetrating blast showcased to perfection by Carlos Tevez.  And yet there is the mazy trickery we’ve become so used to by the Brazilians, namely Neymar in this present day. And of course, we cannot forget the simply majestic poise, precision, and power displayed by world greats such as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.  But which type of goal truly is the best?

There are countless different ways in which you can score.  Headers, penalty kicks, fortunate lucky bounces off your knee, top corner blasts, deftly placed low corner shots, banging it in off the goalpost, taking the ball past 5 defenders AND the goalie to stroll it right in, brilliant free kicks, and the list goes on and on.  Personally, I do fancy myself a fan of the bicycle goal.  But while such acrobatics were certainly well beyond my soccer skills, they do have a way of delighting the spectators!

But when you’re comparing the flair and unique style of all the millions of goals ever scored in the sport, we lose track of one vital point: they all count the same.  A goal is a single goal, and they all help a team win in the same way.  It doesn’t really matter how it goes in, so long as it does get into the net!

Youth soccer players need to be careful fretting over scoring the perfect goal, and instead just focus on the simple task of scoring.  When you seek that elusive Top-10 highlight reel kind of shot, you hesitate and forget to live in the particular moment or game that you are engaged in.  Legendary goal-scorers like Maradona or Pele didn’t imagine how the great goals they scored would go and plan accordingly, they simply acted in each moment and happened to bag some of the most incredible goals that the world has ever seen.  It’s about doing what’s right to get a goal.  The magical moment will come naturally, and you’ll be surprised even in yourself when that glorious wonder strike comes your way!

But for the sake of argument, we need to determine which goals are the best, and for me I can look no further than the late game-winners, those goals snatched in the dying moments of a game that give one team or the other the big win.  Late and deciding goals are so vital in the sport because they show which team or player had the fighting spirit to overcome their fatigue and all else to claim the victory.  These are the goals that inspire a nation and these are the goals that soccer stars are most remembered for.  And so, if you want to follow suit, be sure to get physically fit so that you can compete through to the end of every match and be prepared mentally and skill-wise so when those golden opportunities arrive to change a game, that you will be capable of taking them!

Manchester City Stumbles Again in Champions League

mannnn
Manchester City – (Photo: Chico101.deviantart.com)

While they continue to suffer from being handed tough UEFA Champions League groups stages matchups, Man City has done themselves no favors in the way they have started their European campaign this season.  In a competition where success has still eluded them despite their massive financial overhaul 6 years ago, the Blues of Manchester would have liked to have gotten this year off to a better start.  Through 3 games they sit in 3rd with just 2 points!  But while the poor run of results is a setback, there is still hope yet that Man City will qualify for the knockout rounds of Europe’s finest soccer competition.

City got the Champions League off to a tough start squaring up against Bayern Munich and half of the World Cup winning Germany National Team squad.  In Munich, Man City held on for nearly the whole match only to lose in the 90th minute via a late goal by Jerome Boateng.  From escaping Germany with a point away to the top seeded club in the group to a heartbreaking loss, it was the worst way to kick-start the campaign.

However, losing to your hardest opponent away isn’t the end of the world, and one would have expected Man City to come roaring back with their second match at home to AS Roma.  It was not to be.  The Italian club now features several Premier League veterans like Ashley Cole, Gervinho, and Gervinho, not to mention world-class stars like Francesco Totti and Miralem Pjanic.  In a game City largely controlled, they just couldn’t find the difference and stuttered to a 1-1 draw.

But their third match today has to be the most disappointing result.  While Bayern Munich and AS Roma are heavyweights in major soccer leagues like Serie A and the Bundesliga, CSKA Moscow is from Russia, where soccer is far less competitive.  Away from home, City went up 2-0 at halftime only to collapse once again.  The tragic moment would come in the 86th minute, when a penalty was awarded to the Russians.  Bebras Natcho scored the PK and tied the game up.  The final 2-2 result has now left Manchester City fans scratching their heads and bemoaning another falter in European soccer.

There is still hope yet as City will have 2 home matches ahead, but they desperately will need to win those games.  A trip to Roma with everything on the line is not ideal, but chances are it could decide the team’s fate.  With players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, and Joe Hart you’d expect the team to be flying, but it just feels like a concerning bout of weakness envelopes this club in the Champions League.  Such late disappointments have squandered a full 3 points from their clutches that would have given them a shot at winning the group.

And here lies the real challenge for City.  Even should they rally to finish 2nd in their group (which seems most likely), they will face a group winner like Real Madrid or Barcelona in the round of 16, similar to last year when they were eliminated at that stage by Barcelona.  Winning the group would be much more comfortable, though that hope is likely off the table at this point.  The club needs a boost of confidence in this competition and someone needs to step up and make the difference.  To me, Aguero or Toure need to take on this role.  Until such time, Manchester City will continue to flounder about in the Champions League to the chagrin of their fans and excessively affluent owners.

5 Things to Consider when Signing Up to be a Volunteer Youth Soccer Coach

coooooach
Can you handle a youth soccer team? – (Photo: Article.wn.com)

While the bright image of jumping up and down while celebrating yet another fabulous victory with a happy bunch of soccer playing kids inspires many adults to coach soccer, actually being a volunteer coach can be an entirely different story.  It takes a lot of hard work and sometimes things don’t go exactly how you planned them (did you envision that 7-0 drubbing when you signed up?).  Here are 5 things that any prospective volunteer youth soccer coach needs to consider when joining up:

1.  Are you good with kids?  This is quite possibly the most important thing regarding youth soccer coaching.  Some people in this world are good in handling children, and some people simply aren’t.  Kids think differently than most adults.  They have short attention spans, boundless energy, and can sometimes throw a major tantrum if not dealt with appropriately.  Can you handle this?

2.  Do you have the time?  Coaching a soccer team is a pretty serious time commitment.  Most teams will have 1 or 2 practices per week and then a game on Saturday.  If you like to go out and hit the town on Friday nights, you may not be ready and alert during the 8AM soccer game on Saturday.  Additionally, you need to consider your schedule.  Will you have evenings free to hold soccer practice, and will you be able to make each game?  If you are going to miss more than 1 or 2 games over the course of a season, you probably don’t have the right amount of time necessary to coach a team.

3.  Do you know the game?  This is a major problem in youth sports.  Someone’s dad decides to coach the team, yet they’ve never kicked a soccer ball in their entire life.  How do you think that’s going to pan out?  You shouldn’t be coaching soccer unless you’ve played soccer, and ideally played on at least your high school soccer team.  While the basic principles of the sport are quite simple, one’s ability to actually understand soccer and give out valuable tips and instruction is very important.  The more you know about the game, the more helpful you’ll be as a coach.

4.  Can you inspire the team?  Sports are often about passion and drive.  Are you a good motivator?  A great soccer coach not only teaches his or her players all about the game, but they get them ready and excited for each match.  During the game, you will need to be yelling encouragement and instructions from the sidelines.  Not everyone is good at this, but it is something to consider before agreeing to be a coach.

5.  Will you enjoy coaching?  Obviously no one knows this until they actually begin coaching, but you need to assess your own wants and desires in the world.  Don’t get into coaching unless you feel like it’s going to be a good time.  Too many coaches get into it with the best intentions but then hate the entire experience once it gets going.  You need to be patient with kids and grow slowly with them to foster a valuable coaching experience.  And while being a volunteer soccer coach certainly isn’t for everyone, it may be perfect for you!  Simply give the idea some serious thought before diving right in.

How to Give an Emotional Lift to Your Soccer Team

pumpedup
What will you say to pump up your team? – (Photo: Franklinmatters.org)

Like most sports, passion and strong emotions can often lead to great success in soccer.  When a team of players get pumped up, they play to a far higher quality, stringing together good passes, making smart runs for each other, working hard to win back the ball on defense, and inevitably scoring more goals than the other team to get a win!  But pushing those emotional buttons onto your team is no easy feat.  Different players respond differently to such tactics and getting the players to truly let go and believe in themselves can be a challenge.  Here are some tips on how you can give an emotional boost to your soccer team.

It makes no difference whether you are the coach or a player.  Everyone on the team can inspire on another, and this is often a crucial aspect to building passion within a side.  The first step is to embrace your own emotions.  The only way you’re going to inspire others is if your first feel it within yourself.  Know that you’re going to work hard and win the game.  Know that anything is possible.  Once you fully feel ready to burst with zeal and passion for soccer, instill it into those around you through positivity and zest!

Bring everyone together and start getting people amped up.  Raise your voice, look into players’ eyes, and completely embrace the moment of passion.  This is what team camaraderie is all about, and it will raise everyone’s level of play.  You want your team to be hungry and ready for the fight.  A good team huddle or pep talk will go a log way to raising the level of play in your team.

It is important to keep your emotions running high throughout the game.  In fact, due to the reason that so many games are decided in the last few minutes, the end of the match is really the most crucial time to be emotionally charged.  With many of the players running on fumes and with crucial seconds ticking, this is when your players need to be lifted the most.

From the sideline, you need to really be shouting encouragement to your team consistently throughout the game, especially when things aren’t going your way.  Make sure the players are keeping their heads up and hustling.

For players on the field, use the downtime before set pieces and throw-ins to voice words of confidence to one another.  If someone is slumping or just made a mistake, go over to them and pump them back up.  Belief is a very shaky thing, especially in youth soccer, so be sure to always push one another with positive, supportive words.  Remember, you can win every game.  No matter who the opponent is or what the situation is, on any given day your team can play to its best and win.  This only comes from belief and a team willing to fight to the end for each other.  If you can help lift your players’ emotions and intensity level, you’ll be doing a great service to the prospects of your season.

Will Landon Donovan Leave the Game as America’s Best Ever Player?

donovan
He shoots, he scores! – (Photo: Archive.wn.com)

There is little argument over whether Landon Donovan will be missed when he retires from soccer (and we certainly missed him at the 2014 World Cup!), but will he be leaving the game as the best player to ever put on an American soccer jersey?  This argument certainly has full merit, especially given his inspiring statistics with the national team, and with his exceptional record in the MLS as well.  Here, we will look further into the matter.

Statistically, Donovan was by far the greatest soccer player America has produced.  His 57 goals is the highest by a wide margin (Clint Dempsey is 2nd with 39, Eric Wynalda 3rd with 34).  His 58 assists are also more than double than Cobi Jones’ 22, who is 2nd on that list.  Meanwhile, with (soon to be) 157 international appearances, Donovan is 2nd only to Jones.  So with nearly as many USA appearances as anyone else and with far more goals and assists than any other American, Donovan is clearly our best player.

But an argument can certainly be made for two other key Americans who play in a position not normally blessed with goals and assists stats.  I’m talking, of course, about the position of goalkeeper.  And here lies the two true contenders against Donovan for greatest USA soccer player ever, Tim Howard and Kasey Keller.

Let’s start with Kasey Keller, who amassed a team record 47 clean sheets in 102 national team appearances.  He played a career far and wide throughout England, Germany, Spain, and the USA.  He competed in 4 World Cups, though he only started in two, and those didn’t go very well.

Meanwhile, Tim Howard has been an exceptional leader for both the USA and Everton, one of England’s best clubs.  He has 34 clean sheets in 104 caps.  He plays with brilliance and maturity at the back.  Howard came to the forefront of America’s team in 2007 and has manned the goal ever since.  His finest moment may have come in the USA’s loss in the 2014 World Cup to Belgium, where he made a World Cup record 16 saves, earning “Man of the Match” despite the loss!

But while either of these players could make the claim that they were greater than Landon Donovan, the answer is quite clearly no.  One of the problems with these goalies is that since just one can play each game, they’ve had to share the load.  With Brad Friedel having also been a superb goalie for America in recent times, Howad and Keller never were able to build as long a legacy as Donovan has due to competition amongst themselves.  While their professional club exploits may have been more impressive with European clubs, Donovan did more for the national team, despite spending the vast majority of his career in the soft, safe confines of the MLS with the Los Angeles Galaxy.  Donovan, for his part, did have several brilliant loan moves to Europe, including one in January of 2010 in which he was named Everton’s “Player of the Month”.  He clearly has proven his worth!

But in analyzing Landon Donovan’s incredible career, we must also look at how he performed in key moments, and that’s what truly separates him from the rest.  I look to his goal in the 2010 World Cup against Algeria that sealed America a place in the knockout rounds.  With just seconds left to play, he made a relentless run up the field and found himself in the prime position to shoot.  Of course he scored!  Moments such as those are what makes legends, and in having done so much for America, I fully believe that Landon Donovan is walking away from soccer as the best player to ever represent this nation’s soccer team!  He will be sorely missed.

5 Exciting EURO 2016 Qualifying Games to Watch in the Upcoming International Break

gerrrrmans
Germany got their EURO 2016 qualifying off to a good start, defeating Scotland – (Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org)

As we move on from the 2014 World Cup and look ahead to the EURO 2016 tournament, qualification matches have already gotten underway for most countries in Europe.  THe expanded event will now house 24 teams, meaning that reaching the EURO’s will be far easier (and nearly certain) for most of the continent’s major teams.  But what will be intriguing will be the competitions between those second-tier teams who often miss out on major soccer tournaments like these, as the door has now cracked a bit further open enabling 8 more teams than usual.  Here are 5 key matches to watch in the coming week:

1.  Turkey vs. Czech Republic – Oct. 10th – While both teams failed to reach Brazil, they’ve both done quite well in recent EURO tournaments.  But the big mark for the Czech Republic in their current campaign was their opening win over the Netherlands, courtesy of a Vaclav Pilar stoppage time winner.  Meanwhile, Turkey was stunned by Iceland 3-0 in their opener largely due  to a Omer Toprak red card.  Nevertheless, with stars like Burak Yilmaz and Arda Turan in the side, the Turks are very good.  With Group A seemingly wide open, both teams will be eagerly eyeing full points and a strong step forward.

2.  Wales vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina – Oct. 10th – Both of these nations look to benefit from the expanded EURO’s, but Wales looks the likelier of the two, especially given their Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale leading the attack.  Already with a win in the group, they will be looking to batter Bosnia (who played at the 2014 World Cup), a team that stuttered in surprise loss to Cyprus in their opener.  With Belgium as the strong force in Group B, both Wales and Bosnia will surely want to take the direct qualification of 2nd place instead of facing the tough playoff scenario likely for whoever finishes 3rd.  The result of this game should be an early indicator of how the group will finish, but while Bale will look to make an impact, so will Edin Dzeko of Bosnia be wishing to leave his own mark on this match…

3.  Poland vs. Germany – Oct. 11th – While Poland got qualifying off to a wonderful start with a 7-0 win over Gibraltar, they have never beaten current World Cup holders Germany.  Germany is the expected group winner and harbors a long list of stars like Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, and Mario Gotze, but the Poles will lead the line with one of the world’s best strikers, Robert Lewandowski, a teammate of many of the Germans at Bayern Munich.  And while Poland is certainly not favored, in front of their home fans with a burning fire to make a statement of intent, this could be the perfect time for Poland to stun the world and get that first victory over their neighbors!

4.  Estonia vs. England – Oct. 12th – While Estonia has never reached a major international tournament, with their 1-0 win over Slovenia they must be starting to believe that EURO 2016 could become a reality.  With few players of note on their roster, it would be an incredible achievement, though now they must face the group favorite England.  Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, and Jack Wilshere will certainly be looking to make mincemeat of Estonia, but if we know anything about England it’s that they often make work harder than it needs to be.  Away from home they could certainly struggle against a side eager to prove themselves.  Chances are England will win, but this could be a closer game than most expect.

5.  Denmark vs. Portugal – Oct. 14th – Portugal have been one of the more disappointing international teams of late, especially given their hero Cristiano Ronaldo playing in his prime years.  Despite his talent, the Portuguese never seem to click as a whole, and it was evident in their opening home loss to Albania.  Now they travel to one of the stronger teams of their group in Denmark.  The Danes feature several capable players like Nicklas Bendtner, Christian Eriksen, and Pierre Hojbjerg, and should definitely be believing in their ability to take points from the group favorite.  But who knows, Ronaldo has proven time and time again that he can single handedly take over any game, so it will be interesting to see what happens in this match.

How to Overcome a Striker’s Scoring Drought

sadronaldo
Even Cristiano Ronaldo has off days – (Photo: Article.wn.com)

No matter how great a goalscorer you may be, every striker in the world inevitably endures a dry spell where they stop scoring those goals.  The game gets too fast, or the competition seems ready for all your moves that fail to have the same impact that they once did.  It always seems to sneak up on strikers; they have one off day, and then they play against a good team and simply don’t get any chances, and then before you know it, it’s been months since you’ve scored a goal!  While such a drought can rattle the core of even the most confident strikers, it can take ages of hard work to overcome this challenge and get back on the good foot.  Here’s how you can get back to doing what you do best:

First off, once you recognize the problem, it’s likely already been there for a while.  You are down in the dumps and wondering how you can ever get back to that momentary thrill of scoring a goal.  You should start off by thinking of the positives in your game.  While goalscoring is key to playing striker, there’s tons of other ways that you probably help your team even without bagging goals.  Good passing and movement up top is key, as is pressing opponents off the ball and tracking back to help prevent goals.  You may have even saved your team on several occasions making clearing headers from defensive corners.  The thing is, while you may not have scored any goals, you could be helping your team in every game, a thing of vital importance.  Realize that you’re still a good player even if you haven’t been putting it in the net!

But let’s be clear about one thing: you want goals to feel complete.  For players suffering a drought, you need to clear your mind and stop worrying about how many games it’s been since you scored.  Thinking about your failures over and over again will simply lead to you repeating those same failures game after game.  If you want to change for the better, stop fretting over the past and work hard in each moment.

When you get a chance to score in a game, just focus on the basic aspect of finding space and shooting.  Stop dreaming of that perfect moment, just get a sense for the opportunity at hand and take it.  If you can simplify your game it will go a long ways to helping re-discovering your form and getting on the goal sheet.

This also pertains to your practice.  Having all the necessary tools in the striker shed is key.  Work on skills like finishing, speed, strength, and ball control.  Taking the right first touch on an incoming pass can often be the difference between a goal or an easy clearance by a defender.  Another thing to practice is heading.  Tons of crosses are sent into the area during every soccer game, and the players most adept at using their heads will win those headers.  Having a good all-around skill set is key to making you the best striker you can be.  If you’re failing to score goals, really work hard at all these skills so that you’ll be prepared to bag that next chance and get back on a hot streak of goals!

The Legend of Leonardo Ulloa Continues to Grow

ulloa
Look out: Leonardo Ulloa is ready to take on your team! – (Photo: Article.wn.com)

Apparently it’s often hard for a striker to find his groove with a different team in a new league, but that is certainly not the case for Leicester City’s main man Leonardo Ulloa.  Through 6 games he has 5 goals, and he has helped bring the side strongly into the English Premier League.  While they currently sit in 12th place on just 8 points, they have earned the respect of the league after enduring a tough early run of fixtures against Everton, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea.  Welcome to the Premiership!

Incredibly, Leicester City lost against just one of these opponents, Chelsea.  But through it all, Ulloa has emerged as a powerful force that is now expected to delight in the thrills of his first EPL season, at the ripe old age of 28.  Leonardo Ulluo had a tough road to this success.  Hailing from Argentina, he spent his early soccer years in South America.  His first European action came in the lower leagues of Spain, where he shined for Castellon and Almeria.

Only recently has he arrived in England, and he spent the past few years with Brighton of the Championship.  Leading the team with 16 goals last season, Ulloa showcased an ability to not only score numerous fine headers, but also to find goals in clutch moments of major matches.  His big goal last year came late in the final game of the season, and sent Brighton to the Championship playoffs:

While Brighton failed to earn a spot in the EPL, Ulloa was noticed by the Championship league winners, Leicester City, who made the Argentinean their club record transfer for £8million.  Widely expected to struggle alongside a newly promoted club, Ulloa has proved everyone wrong.

In the season opener he scored against Everton.  Two weeks later he helped the team take the lead against Arsenal.  He scored the winner the following week to earn Leicester City’s first win over Stoke City.  But on September 21st, he had a breakout two goal performance against Manchester United, leading Leicester to a shock 5-3 win over the Red Devils.  And so it’s not just 5 goals in 6 games that has me excited for this latest Premier League darling striker, it’s the fact that he’s scoring goals against the league’s major clubs in big matches.

Such performances are the types of things that managers dream of.  In the big games you need those players capable of producing magic.  Leonardo Ulloa looks to be a player of that caliber.

While Leicester City will need to continue their decent start to the year in order to maintain their survival in the EPL, the early signs reveal a team destined to compete and live well on throughout the season.  With Leonardo Ulloa at the helm, anything is possible and he could very well become one of the leading goal-scorers in England.  Currently his 5 goals are second best.

We will have to wait and see if this player’s form can continue throughout the season, but the early reviews suggest that Leonardo Ulloa may just have been the bargain buy of the summer!  Brace yourself for this awesome talent and get ready to watch him score more of his powerfully headed goals!