World Cup berth would bolster US soccer

Posted Nov. 30, 2010, at 7:50 p.m.

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Thursday is an important day in the world of sports.

That is the day FIFA will announce which countries will host the men’s World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

England appears to be the front-runner for 2018 but Russia is also in contention along with joint ventures involving Spain/Portugal and The Netherlands/Belgium.

The United States is in the running to host the 2022 World Cup along with Japan, Australia, South Korea and Qatar.

The U.S. last hosted the World Cup in 1994 and did an outstanding job.

Interest in soccer has continued to grow in this country and advancing out of the group stage of the World Cup this past summer was a noteworthy accomplishment for the U.S. team although losing to Ghana 2-1 in extra time in the round of 16 was a bitter disappointment.

The United States already has the facilities in place and it has experience hosting a World Cup by itself. Japan and South Korea co-hosted the World Cup in 2002. Australia and Qatar haven’t hosted yet.

ESPN has significantly increased its soccer coverage, adding English Premier League games to its already-impressive list that included the World Cup this past summer.

Hosting a World Cup would provide thousands of jobs and a huge economic boost to the country.

The 12-year buildup would benefit soccer and the host country is guaranteed of a spot in the Cup.

The United States takes great pride in hosting world events and we have always been innovative.

Former President Bill Clinton, actor Morgan Freeman and U.S. World Cup soccer star Landon Donovan of the L.A. Galaxy will head to Switzerland for Thursday’s festivities.

Hopefully, the U.S. will win the bid.

HAS THERE ever been a more anticipated Monday night game than Monday night’s New England Patriots-New York Jets match-up? Both teams are 9-2 and tied atop the AFC East Division standings.

The loser could very well be a wild-card team and wind up playing most of its playoff games on the road, even against teams with inferior records.

Jets coach Rex Ryan has already begun trash talking. That’s the way he is: brash and arrogant.

But he reached the AFC title game last year so he has earned his bragging rights.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick won’t brag. It’s not his style. Why would you want to give your opponent bulletin board material?

You may not like Ryan but his cockiness will fuel the rivalry and create more interest in the game.

The ratings should be off the charts.

The Jets have a better, more experienced defense, the Pats have a more experienced quarterback (Tom Brady) with three Super Bowl rings.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is a second-year man who can be very good or average.

Let’s hope the game lives up to expectations.

THE BOSTON Red Sox have lost catcher-first baseman-designated hitter Victor Martinez to the Detroit Tigers. Slugging third baseman Adrian Beltre is testing the free agent market but could re-sign with the Red Sox.

The Red Sox can live without Martinez. He did hit .302 with 20 homers and 79 RBIs in just 127 games.

But he was average defensively, at best.

Beltre was exceptional, defensively and they should do what they can to re-sign him.

The return of Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed large chunks of last season due to injury, will fortify the lineup and better years from pitchers Josh Beckett and John Lackey will also help.

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