Top soccer clubs in Europe worth more than $33 billion

According to a report by KPMG, the combined enterprise value of the most popular soccer clubs in Europe exceeds $33 billion. The report “Football Clubs’ Valuation: The European Elite 2017” states that the 32 clubs on the list grew by more than 14% in the last year.

English football giants Manchester United lead the list with an enterprise value of more than 3 billion Euros. Second and third on the list fall to Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona. Amazingly, ten clubs are worth more than a billion euros.

The sport is reaping the benefits of its commercial and television deals:

“While this is partially explained by football’s broadcasting boom, the internationalization of the clubs’ commercial operations, their investment into privately-owned and modern facilities, and overall more sustainable management practices are also key reasons for this growth,” said Andrea Sartori, global head of sports at KPMG

Teams are making smarter choices when it comes to signing commercial sponsorship. It also helps that the English Premier League is a global sport, shown live across the world. This explains why six of the top ten clubs on the list are from the UK. The most recent TV deal awarded in the UK to Sky and BT was worth $6.6 billion.

There are no American clubs on the list, however, with the rapid growth in popularity of the sport, it is only a matter of time before we see an American in the top 10.

U.S. Soccer has $100 million in extra funds

Just after the last FIFA scandal, Traffic Sports and its partners lost the marketing rights to Copa America (The America’s Cup). The rights went up for auction, and the winning bid was from Soccer United Marketing. SUM is the marketing arm of Major League Soccer (MLS) and a partner of U.S. Soccer.

The U.S. men’s national team gets a share of the money from the tournament. Add that to the sale of marketing rights to Copa America and U.S. Soccer is now swimming in cash. The share from the tournament was $46 million which takes its total surplus to more than $100 million.

U.S. Soccer is now trying to figure out what to do with that money.

The first step was to double the payment to the U.S. Women’s national team. Although the women’s team did not get equal pay as the men’s team, they did get the structure they wanted:

“We’re trying to figure out where women’s soccer is going, so we may not have the same exact structure as the men. So equal isn’t the right word. It would be equitable because we are asking for a different structure.”

The bigger plan currently under discussion is to build a national training center. The training center will look to France’s world-renowned Clairefontaine for inspiration. Also, the plan is to set up some youth academies in areas that do not have Development Academy clubs.

Another suggestion is to increase the number of talent scouts, as there are only nine scouts for the entire of the U.S., which is 27 times the size of Germany.

How to warm up for a soccer game

Warming up is extremely important. Doing so reduces the chance of injury and allows a player to perform at his/her peak faster and for longer. Here is an example of a soccer warm up routine:


The first step is to increase circulation, especially from the parts of the body that have poor circulation like the ankles and calves. Professional players start with a light massage by the team’s physio or massage therapists. Next is some active warm-up with about ten minutes of light jogging. If you have seen a similar warm up, it involves jogging forward, sideways along with some backpedaling and rotations.

Dynamic stretching

Soccer coaches agree that as part of warm up, dynamic stretching is better than static. This is because static stretching does not move a muscle through its full range of motion, increasing the chance of injury. Dynamic stretches have you running through the full range of motion and increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the soft muscle tissue.

The typical set of dynamic stretching includes:

Hamstring stretches

Lunge walks

Back lunges

Glutes walk


Quad walk

Squat walk

Side lunge



Technical warmup

This is the final phase of the warm up. This is called technical because it involves actual soccer movements. Some teams run players through a compressed practice session to prime the nervous system.

It might seem a long process, but a good warm up will allow you to play at your best for longer, all while minimizing the risk of injury.

Tips and tricks on improving at soccer

Soccer ball and goal

Written by Soccer Garage

Here are some tips and tricks on how to improve your soccer game:

Practice – Although this might be obvious, the only way to get better, that is significantly better, is to practice. In sports, there are no shortcuts. Is there a player that is clearly better than you? That is because they practice and work harder. You cannot buy your way to an improvement.

Fitness – Soccer is a physical sport. Build up speed, agility, and your fitness levels and become a high-performance player. A well-trained body can make up for technical deficiencies. Training should involve strength work, plyometric training, sprints, core work, etc. Make sure you have several pairs of soccer footwear for various types of play.

Pressure – Train the way you expect to play. Too many players practice alone. It is easy to manage all the drills alone. Take the next step and practice at game speed under pressure from a defender. Playing at speed is how you iron out mistakes.

Diet and Lifestyle – You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. The basics are to eat healthily and get at least eight hours of sleep. With proper training, your body will need time to recover. Proper recovery is the only way to train every day without crashing.

Gear – Make sure you have everything you need regarding gear. Everything from your soccer socks to your shoes should be packed and ready for the next day or two days of training.  Hitting the training ground at 6 am means everything should be ready.


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The principles of endurance training for soccer

In the same way that strength training for soccer involves more than just lifting weights, improving endurance is more than just building an aerobic base. The typical soccer player has very specific endurance needs. According to soccer apparel vendor Umbro, soccer players spend on average 30% of a game walking, 30-40% jogging and at least 25% of the time running. These require very different modes of training to optimize each. Here are the primary principles of endurance training for soccer:


The training should be sport specific and tailored to each type of movement. For example, soccer players will run, and swimmers will swim. Above that, for each phase of the game, soccer players should optimize for walking, jogging, and running.


The training sessions should be intense enough to create training effort. Unless the player pushes beyond existing levels, they will not see any benefit from the training. Also, even when they do, they need to keep pushing until they reach a target performance level.


As per the above, when a player keeps pushing, they will eventually reach a point where it will be their new comfort zone. This is why a training program with a progression built-in. There must be targets, along with new targets for when they pass previous milestones.


This is the most important of all. Take enough time to recover from training. The above training programs are tough both physically and mentally. The central nervous system can only take so much of a strain.


The basic soccer skills children will need to learn

chicagofirerecsoccerSoccer is the most popular sport in the world. The main reason for this popularity, other than the sport itself, is the relatively little equipment that is required to play. At its most basic level, all you need is a ball. However, the skill level required to play can be quite high. Here are the most basic soccer skills a child will need to practice in order to become better at the game:


This is the most basic soccer skill. It is also the first thing that every child should learn. Practice dribbling by arranging pylons and asking the kids to dribble around them. Dribbling is done with the laces of the boots while not kicking the ball.


Once dribbling is under control and kids have decent ball control, the next step is to learn to pass the ball. It is one of the most important skills. They should learn to pass to teammates and to receive passes. They should use the instep and accurately pass the ball.


This is the most popular part of soccer for most kids. The ball should be kicked with the laces of the shoe rather than the toe. Kicking with the toe will result in inaccurate shots. The knee should be over the ball at the point of the strike.

These are three most important soccer skills for any young soccer player. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the more they practice, the better they will get.

Learn Everything You Need to Know about Goalkeeper Gloves

Goalkeeper gloves are two of the most important items in a keeper’s arsenal on the field, aside from water and a good towel. Gloves protect the fingers, and can help with grip. That’s especially useful in areas that have less-than-ideal weather conditions for play. With this brief guide, you’ll learn how to choose gloves to help elevate your game, without overspending on things you don’t need.


Good gloves are going to cost anywhere from $20-$80, with the higher price points being top of the line. We’ll discuss what that means in terms of soccer equipment in a moment, but paying more than $80 isn’t something you should do on a whim. Instead, consider fit, quality and your needs as a player.


You can tell a lot about a glove by looking at the fingers. You’ll see gussets (visible stitching where the leather overlaps) on some, but not on others. You’ll also notice stitching around the palm or backhand. Paying close attention to these details will prove useful in determining how snug of a fit you want, and the kind of grasp and mobility you’ll get around the ball. Do you want a wide palm for a snug fit on the ball? Go for a flat palm cut, which looks square and is modeled after the original soccer gloves first invented. A roll finger cut glove will have the palm directly attached to the backhand, and allow for better grasp around the ball.

There are also negative cut gloves, which are becoming popular among serious players. They have a similar construction to flat palm cut, but the seams are on the inside the glove. What you get is something that feels like a roll finger, but plays like a flat palm.


The main concept to keep in mind with goalkeeper gloves is protection. You want padding, especially on the palms, fingers, knuckles and backhand. This is to help catch a hard shot, punch the ball away and grasp a shot along the ground.

Smooth palms are better recommended than dimpled ones, but it depends on the type of player you are. Smooth palms tend to have a gripping agent, which will wear off. They aren’t ideal for street play. For practice purposes, dimpled palmed gloves might be a better option.

Newer gloves may have additional finger protection and support, such as spines sewn into the gloves. These may feel strange at first, but they are designed to help absorb impact and protect you. Remember, your grip is your best asset as a keeper. Protect your fingers!

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Becoming an elite soccer player

chicagofirerecsoccer-decBecoming an elite soccer player does not happen overnight. It takes dedication and hard work over several years to build up the skills and mastery required. Younger soccer players will learn the basic skills and movements and will slowly be introduced over the years to more advanced skills. Here we look at the five areas that players will need to master in order to become and elite player.

Ball skills

Young players introduced to the sport at about six to eight years’ old will be introduced to basic ball handling skills. They will progress with more and more complex movements up until around 14 to the 19-year mark, at which point they will need to have mastered ball skills and match application of those skills. Beyond that absolute mastery will need to be achieved and maintained.

Decision-making skills

As with the above, it starts out with basic decision making and combinations and moves on to the more advanced tactics. Ultimately at the highest level complete knowledge of team and opponent tactics will be required. Elite players are always aware of where they are in the game and what the opposition looks to be doing.

Physical training

At the start, it all about fun and getting some general activity in for the younger kids. As they grow older the game becomes more serious and they start to train with advanced aerobic training and glycolytic work. Once they move on to play professionally the training becomes much more position specific and individualized.

Soccer Basics

chicagofirerecsoccer-novAlthough soccer is the most popular sport in the world, most fans might not know some of the most basic tenets of the sport. In this article, we will cover the most basic soccer concepts.

The field

Although taken for granted, there are rules that govern the size of the soccer field. There is no set size. However, there are minimums and maximums that must be adhered to. This range makes it very likely that most NFL and other stadiums can also be used for soccer. International games require a length of between 110 and 120 yards and a width of between 70 and 80 yards.

The time

Top-level soccer games are 90 minutes long divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. The game ends after stopped age. Some countries refer to this as injury time. In soccer, the clock does not stop for any pause in the game. Any injury or issue that pauses the game is recorded on a separate clock. This time is what is used as stoppage time for the time that was lost. In soccer players do not stop playing until the final whistle is blown.

The cards

In soccer punishment for any on-field offenses are signified by two colored cards. The yellow card is a warning for breaking the rules. Then there is the red card. That is for serious offenses and sends the player off the field immediately. It also means that the team will have to play a man down since there is no replacement for the player sent off. Two yellow cards are the same thing as a red card.


Improving endurance for soccer

chicagofirerecsoccerSoccer is a sport that requires walking, jogging and running for long periods of time in a 90-minute game. The off-season is the best time build up the kind of endurance needed for weekly soccer games. Here is a three step process to improving endurance leading up to the season:

Interval training

The fastest way to increase endurance is with interval training. The method here is to do short bursts of all-out effort followed by a short rest period. This should be repeated for a minimum of four minutes. This protocol should be followed only once a week at most.

Endurance training

Building endurance will also take some time on the track of the treadmill. Daily runs will go a long way to building a good base that can be improved by techniques like interval training. The basic math here is that if you ran a mile for five days a week, you could run five miles in a single session. The increase in miles needs to be done slowly to avoid any injury. The recommendation is not to increase distance by more than 10% daily.

Long runs

The long run is a single weekly or monthly run that is several times longer than your daily runs. A two mile daily run should result in a long run distance of about ten miles.  It is probably a good idea to not run the day before and the day after the long run.