Sport Shorts

first_imgThe Matawan-Aberdeen Babe Ruth League will be holding its annual baseball registration for ages 5-15 throughout the month of January. Registration will be held at the Toomer Field clubhouse on Middlesex Road on Jan. 11, 18 and 25 from 10 a.m. to noon. Registration will also be held on Jan. 15, 22 and 29 from 7-9 p.m. All first-time players need to submit a copy of their birth certificate. The Hazlet Youth Athletic League will be holding registration for its upcoming baseball/softball season for boys ages 5-18 and girls ages 5-16. Registration dates are Jan. 8, 15 and 22 from 7-9 p.m. at Middle Road School and Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Raritan High School cafeteria. Registration fees, which include a $30 raffle book donation, are as follows: boys and girls ages 5-12, one child $85, two children $105, three or more $130; boys ages 13-18 and girls 13-16, $115 per child. A separate work deposit check of $150 dated April 1 is also required. Birthdate cutoffs are as follows: boys — July 31, and girls — Dec. 31, 2002. All new HYAL participants are required to provide proof of residency and a birth certificate. Call (732) 264-3060 with any questions. Middletown Youth Athletic Association Little League baseball and softball registration for spring 2003, ages 5-18, will be held as follows: at the MYAA Field House at Bodman Park on Jan. 11, 25 and Feb. 1, 8, 15 from 10 a.m. to noon; at the Middletown Public Library, New Monmouth Road, on Jan. 18 from 1-4 p.m. Call (732) 747-2410 or e-mail [email protected] Mail in registration forms are also available at The Aberdeen/Matawan Soccer Association is hosting the USSF Entry Level Referee Class in Aberdeen Feb. 8-10. The class is open to anyone from age 11 to adult seeking to get a license to referee games for the spring season or looking to better understand the rules of the game. Contact Brian at (732) 583-1524 or e-mail [email protected] for more information. The Middletown Wildcats U9 girls’ travel basketball team won the prestigious Colts Neck Derby, held Dec. 4-7, and the Howell Hoops, Dec 18-29. The Wildcats, a relatively new team, have had a very impressive season, leading their division and winning two top-notch tournaments. The Wildcats, under the coaching of Bob Haspel, John Rochford and Maura McGuinness, are 12-2-0. The players are Brenna Anderson, Jillian Callahan, Heather Rochford, Lauren Farrar, Samantha Slattery, Natalie Hayes, Kelly Haspel, Kerry Kinsella, Victoria Davila, Megan Patterson, Meghan McGuinness, Brittany Foster, and Samantha Guastella.last_img read more

Mustangs stun the nation’s No. 1 team, Christ the King

first_imgMustangs stun the nation’s No. 1 team, Christ the King Seize the moment. That’s what Marlboro High School’s volunteer coach Ed Zucker told the Mustangs before they took on New York’s Christ the King, the No. 1 ranked team in the country. And seize the moment they did. The Mustangs stunned the nation’s top-ranked team, rallying from nine down (49-40) in the final five minutes to score an uplifting 59-53 win at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall Sunday. It’s a win that brings legitimacy to the Mustangs. “It was just an incredible win,” noted Zucker. “The rap has been that Marlboro hadn’t won a big game. This turns the corner for the program. “The girls were excited about playing the No. 1 team,” he said. “They knew it was a great opportunity for them. It was the first time they didn’t feel the pressure to win.” Defense made all the difference for Marlboro as the Mustangs put the clamps on Christ the King’s offense in the final minutes, coming up with one huge steal after another. Sharnee Zoll and Chakhia Cole started the comeback with their steals, which were parlayed into five quick points by Cole and suddenly, the Royals were in for the fight of their lives. Marlboro’s momentum did not slow over the final minutes of the game as Zoll, Jenna Gatto and Brina Pollack all joined in the action. “They (Christ the King) were shocked,” said Zucker. “We backed them into a corner. The girls could sense that they had a great opportunity to win it.” Cole’s two free throws with 46 seconds left gave Marlboro its first lead of the quarter, 55-53. After a defensive stand resulted in another Royal turnover, Pollack sealed the upset, making two more free throws with 13 seconds left that opened up a 57-53 lead. When the Mustangs slowed the Royals down, their half-court defense proved too tenacious. Marlboro would outscore Christ the King 21-8 over the last quarter. “We did a very good job clogging the middle and getting steals,” said Zucker. “Zoll did a great job of defense on the ball. It was a team effort.” Also important was Marlboro’s offensive balance. While Cole was heroic with her game-high 21 points, Pollack added 13 and Christi Kastner chipped in with nine. Gatto and Zoll each contributed eight points as the Mustangs spread the wealth and made the Royals defend everyone. — Tim Morrislast_img read more

Mid North field hockey poised to do big things

first_imgAt 10-2, team is looking toward Shore Conference tourney With a 10-2 mark, including 9-1 in divisional play, the Middletown High School North field hockey team has clinched the Shore Conference Class A North championship and is busy preparing for the conference tourney. The Lions can expect a high seed and won’t play a first-round game until Monday. The play-in round begins on Friday. North’s success can be attributed largely to a stingy defensive corps, led by goalie Megan Trivett, a three-year starter that has permitted just seven goals against and only one goal in its last six matches. Trivett has seven shutouts to her credit. Two other third-year starters, sweeper Nicole Piner and junior midfielder Joanne Pichardo are also solid on the defensive side of the ball. Their fundamental play and leadership have rubbed off on the team’s younger players, coach Bill LaFalce said. Thus far, the Lions have lost to only crosstown rival Middletown South, a 1-0 decision on opening day, and 2-1 against Toms River East. “Our experience on defense has really helped us shut down other teams,” LaFalce said. “We don’t score a lot of goals, but because we give up so few goals we’re always in a position to win.” In addition to Trivett, Pichardo and Pinero, juniors Amanda Svenson and Jade Yelk patrol the back line, with junior Jessica Kurek providing depth off the bench. In the middle, North relies on junior Gina Bellifemine and Shannon Norton, along with sophomore Jaclyn Corr. Sophomore Danielle Freshnock is North’s top scorer with nine goals and five assists. Juniors Deanna Benjamin, Jerilyn Fix, Jen Nolet and Courtney Rotolo, as well as sophomores Jade Kauffman and Christine Mazzaro, see action up front. “The girls take pride in their defense and it shows in the way they play,” the coach said. “Knowing that we have the ability to hold teams down will help us in the tournaments. Defense is so important in those games.” Middletown North is looking to replicate last year’s strong showing in the NJSIAA North Jersey II Group IV tourney, where the Lions brought home the title before bowing to Bridgewater-Raritan in the Group IV event. Overall, LaFalce’s team went 18-3-1. “We graduated a lot of girls from last year, but we have good senior leadership from Megan Trivett and Nicole Piner, and an excellent mix of younger players who have fit in well,” LaFalce explained. “Our seniors know what it takes to win in the tournaments and they’ll help lead the way for the rest of the team.” BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer last_img read more

Gaffney thrilled to be playing in PGA

first_imgRumson head pro playing in this week’s Major BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Brian Gaffney did some soul searching during the winter. He was heading into his fourth year as the head golf pro at the Rumson Country Club. He had a great staff working for him, and he had learned how the club worked. Now, it was time to do more. Above right: Rumson Country Club head golf professional Brian Gaffney stands along the practice range at the country club on Aug. 6. Below: Gaffney hits some practice balls at the Rumson Country Club on Aug. 6. Above: Gaffney has qualified for the PGA Championship this week at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. “It all started with setting goals,” he explained. “I wanted to represent the club better in tournaments.” He had three very specific goals in mind: qualify for the United States Open, finish in the top 20 at the PGA Professional National Championship, and qualify for the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Championship. He’s achieved two of those three this year and as a result, he’s teeing off this week (Aug. 13-16) with the world’s finest golfers at the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota. “I’m thrilled to be going to the PGA,” said Gaffney, who went to the tournament in 2000, but, this will be his first appearance as a golf pro. Gaffney’s road to Hazeltine began at the New Jersey PGA where he finished in the top eight to qualify for the PGA Professional held at Twin Warriors Golf Club and Santa Ana Golf Club in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. He needed a top 20 there to punch his ticket to the PGA, which is one of golf’s four Major Championships. Gaffney finished in a tie for 13th to secure a berth in the PGA. He carded a three-under-par 281 for his four rounds of golf.G affney did more than just qualify for the PGA at that tournament. He played so well there (he could have moved into a first-place tie with a birdie putt on the 16th hole in the final round) that he believes he can win this tournament in the future. “Now I realize I can win it,” he remarked. Gaffney has certainly achieved his aim of representing the Rumson County Club better in tournaments. “I certainly hope the club is proud of me,” he said. “I’m thrilled to be the head pro there. I’m overwhelmed with how much support I’ve received.” Gaffney went out to Hazeltine late last month getting his first look at one of the country’s famed courses. He played 36 holes on the course and found it long and challenging. “For me, I have to hit a lot of fairways and my short game has to be good,” he said. “Holes 10,11,12 and 13 are tough holes. Getting through those holes is important.” In Hall of Famer, Gary Player, Gaffney found an inspiration. Gaffney, who weighs 145, doesn’t pound his drives long like most pros do. You could say he’s an atypical player. So was the diminutive Player, who wasn’t long off the tee either. That didn’t stop him from winning nine Majors including two PGAs, thanks in part to his conditioning. “I heard him at the Masters saying that he does 1,200 sit-ups a week,” said Gaffney. “I thought if he can do it, why can’t I.” That started Gaffney on a fitness routine in which time in the gym is as important as he time on the links, He has worked his way up to 200 sit-ups a day. He credits his improved play to his conditioning program. “It allows me to practice more,” he said. “It gives me the ability to hit more shots in practice.” A native of Westfield, Gaffney played his college golf at Montclair State University (1991-94). He worked as a club pro at Echo Lake and Manasquan River before, in his words, “chasing the dream” of making the PGA tour in the fall of 1998. Chasing the dream took him to Europe, South American and U.S. satellite events before turning his attending to becoming a golf club head professional. It started as an assistant pro at Essex Fells Golf Club in the spring of 2002 and would take him eventually to Rumson in 2006. Four years later he is putting the club on the map the way he wanted to and playing in the PGA with the best of the best. Having been to the PGA before, Gaffney, who lives in Monmouth Beach, knows it’s unlike any other golf experience. “You’re treated like a rock star for a week,” he said, adding that he will be driven to the golf course each day in a Mercedes. He can be sure he’ll be followed like a rock star by club members who will be watching his every shot at the PGA. We have someone local to root for.last_img read more

Matawan track looks to keep dual meet win streak intact

first_imgMATAWAN By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Matawan Regional High School’s boys track and field team has its biggest dual meet of the season on April 28 when it travels to Red Bank Regional High School for a Shore Conference B North Division showdown.Confident of a victory against Neptune High School on April 22, which would raise the Huskies’ record to 4-0, they face a formidable challenge against Red Bank Regional before concluding their dual meet schedule against Ocean Township High School.Matawan hasn’t lost a dual meet in eight years and winning the next two meets would run their dual meet win streak to 56 victories — continuing a streak of unbeaten seasons surpassed only by the 10 years of perfection from 1990 to 2000. “If we get this win, we’re in good shape,” coach Sam Turner said. “We’re young. Red Bank has sprinters and a good shot putter. We have good kids in the hurdles in Nate Bowie and Printinder Singh. They’re key for us. And we have distance relays. We have to double and triple our distance guys. That’s not easy.”Bowie, a junior, qualified for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC) in the high jump. Singh is a talented senior.Both were part of the Huskies’ great outdoor season in which they went beyond a runner-up finish to Livingston High School in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II championships and won the Group II title the following week. There’s no John Alston or Justin Love, who has embarked on a fine career at Cornell University, this season, but many perform well enough in their roles.“We have no holes, but no super studs either,” Turner said. “We have a lot to protect.” Instead, Matawan has depth and manpower to win relay meets and team championships, like its runaway sweep of the Rebel Relays, its own 21st annual Husky Relays and the Hudson County Relays. It set two school records in the Husky Relays on April 12 — a 3:34.74 mark in the sprint medley by senior Tyler Perlowin, junior Greg Edwards, sophomore Aliem Shaw and junior Matt Natoli; and the 10:49.30 time in the distance medley run by Natoli and his older brother, Tom (senior), junior Harrell Dixon and senior Dan Wills. They helped Matawan with 138 points, scoring double that of runner-up Long Branch High School (68).There’s the Lion Invitational on April 26, but Matawan will no doubt be holding back to stay ready and healthy for the Red Bank dual, the upcoming Monmouth County meet at Long Branch on April 30 and the Long Branch Relays on May 3. The state relays are on May 7 and 9. The 4×400-meter relay team reached the MOC last year, and Shaw, Perlowin, and Matt Natoli are back, with Edwards replacing Love in the anchor position. With the NJSIAA making the 4×100 a scoring event this spring, Turner believes he is developing talent for that event, which could lead to points that could make a difference in big meets.There are individual performances that can help, particularly by junior pole vaulter Matt Isaacson, who has reached 14 feet. Shaw can get points in the sprints, Edwards and Perlowin run well in the 400 and the Natoli brothers can be counted on in the distance events. Senior Brendon Howley also is capable in shorter distances.“We’re not a great individual team, but we can get points and do well in the relays,” Turner said. “We’ve had great kids and great assistant coaches who can teach them and just have a command of winning, which breeds more winning. That’s huge.”Turner said he is pleased that the team is working toward its main objective of progressing toward peak performances later in May.last_img read more

Swim showdown in A North

first_imgSTAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR Middletown High School North’s Alex Heim competes in the 100-yard butterfly during the Jan. 8 dual meet against Freehold Township High School held at the Western Monmouth County YMCA. The host Patriots won the dual meet and clinched the Shore Conference A North Division title.last_img

Benfica and Sevilla secure Europa League wins

first_imgBy Toby DavisA stunning late goal from Benfica’s Lima left Juventus’ hopes of reaching a home Europa League final hanging in the balance after a 2-1 first-leg defeat, while Sevilla won 2-0 against Valencia in Thursday’s all-Spanish last-four clash.Benfica scored early through Ezequiel Garay and were resolute in defence for 73 minutes, before Carlos Tevez calmly slotted home to end a European goal-drought stretching back to April 2009 and give the visitors a priceless away goal.Yet the smiles were wiped off their faces with a flash of Lima’s right boot as the Brazilian forward arrived late in the penalty area to drill the ball into the top corner and put the hosts ahead in the tie heading into next week’s return leg in Turin, where the showpiece final will also take place on May 14Sevilla took the lead with an improvised backheel from Stephane Mbia in the 33rd minute of their clash with La Liga rivals Valencia and doubled their advantage three minutes later through Carlos Bacca.Pitching the newly-crowned Portuguese champions against a Juventus side blazing a trail in Serie A, the match in Lisbon promised entertainment but delivered a typically cagey opening to a European first-leg clash.“It was a great game, a game of champions,” said Benfica coach Jorge Jesus. “We knew we had to be perfect defensively, we were almost there. Their goal was a great individual play by Tevez. But this is the first defeat of Juventus in the Europa League.”Benfica were unbeaten in 12 home European encounters and were quick out of the traps, snatching the lead when Garay was allowed to leap unchallenged to head Miralem Sulejmani’s corner powerfully past a scrambling Gianluigi Buffon.While the Italians were caught cold they swiftly recovered their composure and took the sting out of the tie by hogging possession and restricting space for the Benfica attackers.It all looked to be going to plan when Tevez kept his head and his footing to ride a challenge in the Benfica area and sidefoot beneath keeper Artur for his first European goal since scoring for Manchester United against Porto five years ago.The away goal had put the visitors firmly in the box seat, but Lima’s crunching 84th-minute piledriver means they will have win the return leg to have a chance of reaching final in their home stadium.“The fact that I scored is not important, the important thing is that the tie is still alive,” Juve’s Tevez said. “We still have 90 minutes to play and Juve can do it, we have a lot of hope.”Sevilla coach Unai Emery knew opponents Valencia inside-out having managed them for four years until 2012, and while his team got off to a slow start they grabbed the lead with a piece of improvisation from Mbia.The midfielder got his legs in a tangle trying to control Ivan Rakitic’s inswinging free kick, but showed sharp instincts to backheel the ball into the net from close range.If that was scrappy, the second goal came from an incisive break with Bacca playing a one-two with Vitolo before surging past the Valencia rearguard and coolly slotting home.The only sour note for Sevilla was their failure to increase their advantage and bury Valencia in the tie with Federico Fazio missing two good headed chances either side of halftime.Valencia are no strangers to dramatic second-leg comebacks having overturned a 3-0 reverse against Basel in the last round.“It was a good game from us against a strong rival in Valencia but despite this result it is still going to be difficult there,” Sevilla goalscorer Bacca told reporters.“One of the most important things was to make sure we didn’t concede a goal. We could have got a third but they also did well themselves. The game in Valencia is going to be like a final which anyone would want to play.”last_img read more

Finalists can make amends for Malabo disorder

first_imgBy Mark GleesonGhana and Ivory Coast can shift the focus of attention from crowd disorder to footballing skills when the two neighbours meet in the final of the African Nations Cup on Sunday.Ghana’s 3-0 semi-final victory over hosts Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Thursday was overshadowed by violence, 36 people being injured, one seriously.The game was halted for more than 30 minutes near the end as objects were thrown from the stands at the opposing team, officials and fans by locals angry at the demise of their team.Ghana and Ivory Coast have followed remarkably similar paths to the final, starting the tournament slowly with new-look teams as they tried to forget disappointing 2014 World Cup campaigns.The Ivorians spluttered through the Nations Cup qualifiers without retired talisman Didier Drogba.New coach Herve Renard said he risked alienating members of the squad by accusing some of his better players of pulling in different directions.He has also still to rid himself of the scowl that has been permanently etched on his face from the start of the three-week tournament.Renard did, though, drop his guard briefly after Wednesday’s 3-1 semi-final win over Democratic Republic of Congo to purr about strike pair Wilfried Bony and Gervinho and midfielder Yaya Toure.The Frenchman is hoping to become the first man to win the Nations Cup with two different countries, having led Zambia to the title three years ago.Ghana’s squad were pilloried for a World Cup strike over money and their problems in Brazil were exacerbated by the expulsion from the camp of senior players Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng because of indiscipline.“We realise we owe the fans and we have worked hard to win back their trust and affection,” said captain Asamoah Gyan.Both teams are expected to take an attacking approach to the game and have match-winning quality in abundance. Defensive frailties at either end also add to an intriguing contest.last_img read more

APOEL: we will make our supporters proud

first_imgBy Iacovos ConstantinouAPOEL moved a step closer to their third straight title despite drawing with fellow title challengers AEK as their closest rivals Apollon were unexpectedly beaten by the ‘indifferent’ Anorthosis. Almost 16,000 fans (large majority APOEL supporters) flocked to the GSP on Saturday to watch the crucial match between APOEL and AEK Larnaca. With both teams needing the three points, a tense but exciting game was expected.The replacement of German coach Fink with former fan favourite Manduca last week was done to change the mood in the APOEL ranks. However, for yet another game, the Nicosia team was second best and found wanting in all departments.Assistant coach Satsias admitted indirectly at the post –game press conference that APOEL have not been at their best in recent games and sent a message to APOEL fans. “In the last two games we will make our supporters proud, be sure about that,” he said referring, to the Cyprus Cup final on Wednesday and the final league game away to Ermis where APOEL need just a point to be crowned champions.Few would argue that AEK were the better side on the day and had Monteiro’s shot ten minutes from time not whizzed past the wrong side of the post AEK would have been in the driving seat to lift the championship for the first time in their history.The draw left a bitter-sweet taste for the team from Larnaca. Their Danish coach Thomas Christiansen was full of praise for his players after the game but also noted: “we should have been happy with what we achieved this season but in the changing rooms the mood is gloomy”.AEK took the lead after Tomas was felled by Vinicius in the box and referee Trattos awarded a penalty. Bolievic stepped up and smashed the ball past Chiotis.Much as they tried the home team were unable to penetrate the AEK defence and they needed a rather soft penalty to bring the game level. Defender Elias Charambous was adjudged to have tugged at Kaka’s shirt and Trattos pointed to the spot again.De Vincenti sent AEK’s keeper the wrong way to equalise.APOEL tried to increase the tempo in the second half and showed more resolve but were still unable to pierce AEK’s well-marshalled back line which had Murillo and Catala in outstanding form. The home team did hit the post late on in the game when a lucky ricochet allowed substitute Sheridan clean through, but other than that APOEL were toothless up front.Apollon continued their disastrous play-off form as they imploded to their fifth defeat, losing 3-1 to Anorthosis.It could have been so different for Ton Caanen’s team who missed a number of chances to take the lead in the first half. Poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping by Anorthosis’ keeper kept the Limassol team at bay.Even when Anorthosis took the lead early in the second half through Goncalves, Apollon found the strength to hit back and equalise through youngster Gouiler.With 20 minutes still on the clock everybody expected Caanen’s outfit to finish the job but the home team stood firm and scored twice in the final few minutes through Makos and Makris to all but end Apollon’s chances of the championship.Omonia, as expected, defeated Ermis 7-1 with top scorer Pote getting onto the scoresheet after a long time with a brace. Three teams, AEK, Apollon and Omonia are all level on points, with Omonia travelling to Limassol on the final day knowing that only a win can lift them above Apollon. AEK are at home to Anorthosis.last_img read more

Women’s World Cup offers hope amid FIFA crisis

first_imgBy Steve KeatingA World Cup that kicked off amidst one of the biggest scandals in soccer history ended in joyous celebration on Sunday as the United States defeated Japan 5-2 in a free-wheeling clash that offered some hope of better days ahead for the so-called ‘Beautiful Game’.The troubles that have rocked the sport’s governing body FIFA for more than a month seemed a world away as golden confetti rained down on a capacity crowd of over 53,000 at BC Place following an entertaining contest that showcased the good in a sport some had started to believe was rotten to the core.The U.S. returned to the pinnacle of women’s soccer with a dominating display to cap a riveting tournament that pushed the sport into new territory.The Americans last triumphed in 1999 but women’s soccer is a vastly different game than it was a decade-and-a-half ago with new nations forging their way into the elite and triggering unprecedented global interest in the tournament.Despite corruption scandals swirling around FIFA and a lawsuit filed by leading players against organisers for being forced to play on artificial turf, the tournament ended in triumphant fashion, smashing worldwide television ratings and attracting an eye-popping total attendance of 1.35 million spectators.Since the World Cup began on June 6 in Edmonton, the tournament had been waiting for the arrival of a star and on the final game she finally arrived, American captain Carli Lloyd grabbing the spotlight with an stunning three-goal masterclass that laid the foundation for the U.S. victory.As Golden Ball winner Lloyd demonstrated with her astonishing 13 minute hat-trick, that included a goal from the half-way line, the women’s game is delivering a level of excitement and quality beyond previous standards.“We always say that every women’s World Cup is special and another milestone in the development of women’s football and I truly believe that this seventh edition of FIFA women’s World Cup Canada has made history in many ways,” said Tatjana Haenni, the FIFA deputy director of the competitions division and head of women’s football.Certainly, the U.S. made history by becoming the first nation to win three World Cups while Lloyd rewrote the individual record books.The attacking midfielder’s hat-trick was the first by any player in a women’s World Cup final. In fact, no team had ever scored more than two goals but the 32-year-old Lloyd went one better all by herself.After losing to Japan on penalties in the 2011 final, the Americans were quick to seize control this time, scoring four times in the opening 16 minutes and leading 4-1 at half-time.Japan continued to push forward after the break and did pull one back, but had simply left themselves too much to do against an American side that had conceded just one goal en route to the final.“I will tell you this, I never doubted it,” said American goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was awarded the Golden Glove as the best keeper of the tournament.“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I didn’t have any doubt. We didn’t sit back and think it was our destiny and that it was going to come to us.“It’s been heartbreaking at times, it’s been emotional, it’s been a struggle, but we never took our eyes off the prize, not four years ago, not 16 years ago.”As the crowd, that included U.S. vice-president Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood and cheered, all seemed right in the football world.But there was a stark reminder of more possible turbulence ahead as loud boos echoed through the stadium when it was announced FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou would present the trophy.Normally that task falls to embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter but he opted not to come following corruption investigations by U.S. and Swiss authorities which include scrutiny of how FIFA awarded World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 men’s tournaments.Blatter has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but has retained an attorney and while he was absent from Sunday’s final, like the rest of the soccer world, his attention was diverted back to the events on the pitch.“A #FIFAWWC hat-trick for the #USA. Congratulations on becoming the 1st team to win 3 Women’s World Cups @ussoccer_wnt.” he tweeted.last_img read more