FOR A GOOD CAUSE: EDP to host EDP Futsal First Responders Cup March 21-22

EDP Soccer will host the EDP Futsal First Responders Cup 2020 from March 21-22 at The Fields Sports Complex in East Brunswick, N.J.

The tournament is open to all state, federal and local police departments, fire departments and EMS, current or retired, as well as family members of fallen officers.

The competition will feature a 5 v 5 format of 20-minute futsal games with at least six matches for each participant team.

There are three divisions:

* Men’s Open

* Women’s Open

* 40+ Men’s

Proceeds from the EDP First Responders Cup and the weekend festivities surrounding the event will benefit the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association Survivor & Welfare Fund, a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing support and survivor benefits to the families of PBA members.

“The NJSPBA is proud to partner with the EDP Soccer and to help enhance our public image through the sport of soccer, NJSPBA president Patrick Colligan said in a statement. “We are honored that EDP has created a Futsal event that is not only for our members to participate in but will benefit our members with the proceeds directed to the NJSPBA Survivor & Welfare Fund. The EDP First Responders Cup will bring police departments from across the state and the country together for a great cause.”

The tournament through the EDP Foundation, also will help to establish a $2,000 First Responders scholarship to benefit the son or daughter of a current or retired first responder, who is graduating high school, is an active soccer player and is planning to pursue a higher education.

Jim Oman, a retired US Secret Service Uniformed Division Police Sergeant and current EDP Regional Manager, is the organizer of the EDP First Responders Cup.

Formerly named the Stop the Violence Futsal Tournament and held in the Washington D.C. area, the EDP First Responders Cup was created to raise funds for community soccer and Police related programs, and ultimately, to help curb violence through social efforts.

Retired Lieutenant Ronald Mejia, a competitor in the upcoming First Responders Cup was looking forward to the competition.

“The NYPD soccer team is excited and honored to participate in the first-ever EDP First Responders Cup,” he said. “Jim, the organizer of this event, has an excellent reputation for hosting well planned and competitive tournaments, where members of the law enforcement community can participate in a friendly yet competitive atmosphere.”

Added East Brunswick New Jersey Police Department Chief Frank LoSacco, who is helping host the First Responders Cup: “The East Brunswick Police Department is honored to host police officers and other first responders from across the state and country in our township, during the first-ever EDP First Responders Cup. Being able to bring police officers together and to raise funds for a great cause is a win for everyone. We take great pride in our community and look forward to a fantastic police soccer tournament in our backyard.”

The World Cup Was a Prime Target for Amazon Counterfeiters

The US women’s national soccer team is extremely good at two things: scoring goals and selling merchandise. Even before it won a second consecutive World Cup championship Sunday, the players’ home jersey, which is designed by Nike, became the top-selling soccer jersey ever in one season on, according to the athletic-wear company. Sales were still going strong after the historic victory.

But on Amazon on Monday, another story unfolded. There, the best-selling women’s soccer jerseys weren’t made by Nike but instead appeared to be knockoffs selling for a fraction of the company’s $90 to $165 price tags. Some sellers on Amazon appeared to have taken Nike’s own photographs and simply photoshopped out the iconic swoosh. At least some of the product listings were taken down after WIRED reached out to Amazon on Monday evening.

The situation highlights Amazon’s unending fight against fakes, including when they’re dupes of high-profile items. After years of counterfeiters plaguing Amazon, the company warned investors about the problem for the first time in February. In March, Amazon unveiled a new initiative called Project Zero, which allows some sellers to automatically remove counterfeit listings, without needing to go through the typical bureaucracy. (Amazon did not share whether Nike participates in the program; Nike and US Soccer each did not immediately return a request for comment.)

“Nike has already reported great sales after the US team victory. However, dozens more companies are riding the wave by creating their own versions of the official merchandise,” says Juozas Kaziukėnas, founder of the ecommerce intelligence firm Marketplace Pulse, who first alerted WIRED to the knockoff jersey listings.

“Amazon strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products, and we invest heavily in both funds and company energy to ensure our policy is followed,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. “We employ dedicated teams of software engineers, applied scientists, program managers, and investigators to operate and continually refine our anti-counterfeiting programs. Amazon’s systems automatically and continuously scan numerous data points related to selling partners, products, brands, and offers to detect activity that may indicate a potentially counterfeit product and immediately block or remove it from our store.”

The spokesperson didn’t specify whether the company has staff specifically dedicated to monitoring merchandise and other products connected to major events like the World Cup. Other large tech companies like Facebook have deployed specialized teams to monitor their platforms for things like fake news during elections. While the two aren’t totally analogous, Amazon may be in need of something akin to a viral counterfeit task force to combat nimble merchants who offer new fake products each time news breaks or trends change.

As of Monday afternoon, at least six of the top 10 best-selling women’s jerseys on Amazon appeared to be Team USA knockoffs. To get there, sellers used a variety of tactics familiar to close observers of the company. Some merchants purchased Amazon ads for their fraudulent products, so the items would appear ahead of Nike’s officially-licensed USWNT jerseys, which are also available on the site. Other Amazon sellers offered their knockoff soccer shirts under official-sounding brand names, like “USA” (that merchant, for some reason, also deals in flavored condoms.) “On Amazon, a brand is a string of characters. It doesn’t need to be a trademark or exist anywhere really,” says Kaziukėnas. “So sellers abuse that for all sorts of reasons.”

Counterfeiting is a booming worldwide industry that affects brands that manufacture everything from makeup to hippie sandals. But sports merchandise is especially ripe for knockoffs, since official T-shirts and jerseys tend to be relatively expensive but not especially hard to copy. In January, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with other US law enforcement agencies, seized over 280,000 counterfeit sports-related items worth an estimated $24.2 million. Three months later, Customs and Border Protection intercepted over $11 million in fake professional and college sports rings. And last summer, CBP caught four shipments of fake World Cup soccer jerseys headed to Texas that were worth an estimated $66,000.

At least for now, Amazon likely can’t catch every sports-related knockoff that third-party sellers try to list on its site. But the Women’s World Cup was one of the biggest sporting events across the world for an entire month. Counterfeiters seized on the moment, and Amazon wasn’t there to stop them.

A Brazilian soccer team wore Stars of David on their jerseys as a tribute to Kristallnacht

Players for one of Brazil’s most popular soccer teams wore Stars of David on their jerseys on Wednesday to remember Kristallnacht, or the 1938 Nazi pogrom that most mark as the beginning of the Holocaust.

The Corinthians team’s players took the field with yellow stars embroidered above the club’s logo. Some 22,000 supporters watched them defeat Fortaleza by a score of 3-2.

Many of the seats in the stadium also displayed yellow stars, with the message “A star not to forget” printed on them. The team additionally opened a photo exhibit about the Holocaust.

On Nov 9-10, 1938, dozens of Jews were left dead and hundreds of Jewish storefronts were ruined, along with other buildings and synagogues in Germany and Austria. Tens of thousands of Jews were arrested by the Nazis in the days following the pogrom. The night’s name, which translates to the “night of broken glass,” refers to the shards of broken glass that littered the streets the following morning.

“In times of so much intolerance, hate speech, xenophobia and racism, this initiative is an example of love for the other, of commitment among peoples and nations,” Rabbi Toive Weitman, head of the Sao Paulo Holocaust Memorial, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The Corinthians team has the most support among Sao Paulo’s 60,000 Jews. Corinthians was founded in Bom Retiro, the Sao Paulo neighborhood that was once heavily populated by Jewish immigrants who arrived in the early twentieth century and is still today home to several Jewish institutions, including the Holocaust memorial.

The team’s Kristallnacht campaign was financed and promoted by the Holocaust memorial and a private, Jewish-owned advertising agency. The jerseys will be auctioned and the funds donated to the Holocaust memorial.

A Portuguese-language video about the team and why it decided to remember Kristallnacht publicly was premiered before the match and quickly went viral on social media, gaining massive media coverage in Brazil.

“Corinthians’ message shows that Brazil is an example of peaceful coexistence, everyone must respect one another,” Daniel Bialski, who serves as Corinthians’ attorney and is president of the Hebraica Jewish sport club, told JTA.

In January, the Corinthians posed for a photo on their home field holding a poster with the hashtag #WeRemember in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which got some 50,000 likes on social media. In 2018, the team wore uniforms featuring the names of the 11 Jewish victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

“I feel greatly represented by the (team’s) message. Fighting the hatred against Jews must be emphasized and disseminated for all,” Persio Bider, president of the Organized Jewish Youth organization, told JTA.

“On behalf of the State of Israel, I would like to praise you for your inspiring decision,” Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev wrote in a letter to the president of the team, Andres Navarro Sanchez, on Thursday. “I hope that many will adopt your most motivating campaign against Holocaust denial, hatred, prejudice, racism and antisemitism.”

Founded in 1910, Corinthians is one of Brazil’s most popular soccer teams with over 30 million fans. It was listed by Forbes as the most valuable soccer club in the Americas in 2017, worth $576.9 million.

Daryl Dike leads Virginia over Wake Forest in men’s College Cup semifinals

There were two things Wake Forest was incapable of stopping Friday night at WakeMed Soccer Park.

The first was the frigid rain, which seemed to come down colder and harder as the game dragged on, slowing the play of the ball and soaking the jerseys of all 22 men on the pitch in the men’s College Cup semifinals. The second was a 6-foot-2, 220-pound sophomore striker for the Virginia Cavaliers.

Daryl Dike bulldozed his way through the No. 9 Demon Deacons’ defense to bag a pair of goals for the No. 1 Cavaliers. Despite a 79th minute penalty kick, the Cavaliers held strong and beat Wake Forest 2-1 in front of an announced crowd of 9,862 drenched fans.

The victory puts Virginia (21-1-1) in the College Cup final for the first time since 2014. It will meet No. 3 Georgetown there on Sunday.

“We’re thrilled to be competing Sunday for a national championship,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “I give a lot of credit and have a lot of respect for our opponent tonight. I thought it was a pretty good game, given the conditions… I really did feel like goals were coming (for Dike). I think it was his time.”

Dike scored his first goal for the ‘Hoos in the 19th minute. When Andreas Ueland played a long ball over the top of the Wake Forest (16-5-2) defense, Dike sprinted past two defenders, caught up with the ball and unleashed a right-footed shot from the right side of the box that banged into the roof of the net. In his celebration, Dike screamed, shouted and tapped his chest.

“He had two chances and buried them both. That’s what great strikers do and you’ll see that at the next level,” Wake defender Alistar Johnston said of Dike. “He’s a good striker. He’s going to finish his chances and he punished us. It’s a bit of a bummer.”

Added Wake head coach Bobby Muss: “Great finish. (Dike) poses a problem every time he gets the ball. If he gets faced forward, he can be a handful. He probably just punched his ticket to the MLS today against Wake Forest.”

But Dike wasn’t done. Less than four minutes later, he doubled Virginia’s lead, scoring off a corner kick. Daniel Steedman lofted the ball into the box in the 23rd minute and Dike – with a defender hanging onto him – jumped up and twisted his head, guiding the ball past Wake’s goalkeeper with a knock from his noggin. This time, the oversized forward ran around and mimed the act of riding a motorcycle in praise of his score.

A native of Edmond, Oklahoma, Dike leads the Cavaliers in goals (9), assists (7) and points (24) this season. Dike has also been stellar at drawing fouls this year, earning Virginia two penalty kicks in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals and one in the ACC title game.

“Daryl works extremely hard off the pitch, so I’m not surprised when I see him score goals like that. He gives us a bit of credit, but sometimes it’s all him,” Virginia midfielder Joe Bell said. “Having a player like Daryl up top that can give you that switch of momentum is huge.”

Virginia wouldn’t need any penalty kicks to secure Friday’s win though, as their world-class defense prevailed. While Wake Forest controlled 54 percent of possession, none of their 10 shots from open play found the back of the net.

Entering this game, Virginia led the nation in goals-against average (0.40), save percentage (.859) and clean sheets (15).

The ‘Hoos’ keeper, redshirt junior Colin Shutler, came up with a career-high seven saves. The only ball that got past him was a Demon Deacons’ penalty kick in the 79th minute that was converted by Bruno Lapa, an All-ACC First Team selection.

“We always make a huge emphasis on getting a clean sheet. We didn’t get it tonight, unfortunately, but I did everything I could to just keep them off the board,” Shutler said. “We bent, but we never broke. All credit to the guys on the field. They worked their asses off.”

The ‘Hoos beat Clemson for the ACC crown on the pitch at WakeMed Soccer Park just four weeks ago. With a menacing striker and the nation’s top defense, they’ll look to double their 2019 trophy total Sunday.

Vermont equal pay movement lands in top year-end magazines

Vermont Business Magazine Change The Story and the Burlington High School girls soccer team received yet another accolade for standing up for pay equity: in Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year story. The publication recognized the U.S. Women’s National Team, and noted the #EqualPay jersey collaboration. Read the story here:

Change The Story – the statewide non-profit initiative who supported the team to make the jerseys – is releasing a report with Vermont data on women’s economic status (including a significant section on equal pay) on December 18th. The report shows that Vermont women working full time still earn about $8,000 less per year than men.

From the Time Athlete of the Year article:

Most important, the team’s fight for their fair share has been taken up far and wide. This fall, Australia’s soccer federation reached a landmark deal with its players: total revenue generated by both the women’s and men’s teams will now be split equally. In Burlington, Vt., a girls’ high school soccer team partnered with a local nonprofit, Change the Story, to sell athletic shirts emblazoned with #EQUALPAY.

“It’s scary that these women can be the best in the world and they’re still fighting for pay equality,” says Maia Vota, a senior on the Burlington High School team. “I don’t want to see that in my future.”

The team’s campaign went viral when four players received excessive-celebration yellow cards for peeling off their uniform jerseys after scoring a goal, revealing the #EQUALPAY shirts. The money raised—more than $100,000—will help broaden access to soccer for girls in under-served communities and fund women’s economic-empowerment efforts in the state.

Among those who bought a shirt was Roger Ranz, the referee who issued the penalties. He says protocol required him to hand out the cards, but he fully supports the cause. “I believe in what they’re doing,” says Ranz. “I believe in what the U.S. women’s national soccer team is trying to accomplish as well.”

The team also was recently featured in the “Sportsperson of the Year” edition of Sports Illustrated. The annual publication recognized Megan Rapinoe, US Women’s National Team soccer player. The Burlington teens were included as an example of how Rapinoe and her teammates are inspiring activism on and off the field and advocacy for equal pay. Change The Story – the statewide non-profit initiative who supported the team to make the jerseys – is releasing a report with Vermont data on women’s economic status (including a significant section on equal pay) on December 18th. The report shows that Vermont women working full time still earn about $8,000 less per year than men.

The young women’s advocacy began long before their game-stopping “excessive celebration” on October 18th. When the season began, the Vermonters wanted to raise awareness for pay equity, an international movement by women’s soccer teams. They reached out to Change The Story, a statewide collaborative effort of the Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women and Vermont Works for Women. Jessica Nordhaus, Director of Strategy and Partnerships for Change The Story, said, “We had the great honor of supporting the team to professionally print the jerseys, providing them with Vermont wage gap data, and assisting with logistics, strategy and communications.”

The now famous #EqualPay jerseys began as a casual fundraiser for the Greater Burlington Girls Soccer League, in an effort to increase access and diversify the sport starting with the youngest local players. Change The Story helped the team think even bigger, drawing on decades of work from leaders in the Vermont women’s movement. “We set the conditions that informed and supported these young women, and later young men, to take a stand for gender equity,” said Jessica Nordhaus, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Change The Story. “We’re just beginning to see what change this team can bring to life with their commitment to justice, dedication and inspiring energy”

After scoring during their senior game, the athletes in their exuberance removed their regular uniform jerseys and reveal the #EqualPay shirts beneath. This led to a yellow card penalty for “excessive celebration” and then ultimately many national and international press appearances for the young women to share their reasons for advocating for equal pay.

The newest report on the status of Vermont women will be released on December 18th at 8:30am at the Barre Labor Hall.

Meg Smith, Director of the Vermont Women’s Fund said, “These young women are the result of our 25 years of work to give women and girls stable and productive lives. Because we have built a foundation for action, this new generation can take the work further toward systemic, cultural change.”

Three WSU women’s soccer players to represent USA national teams

Three Washington State women’s soccer players will go from wearing crimson jerseys to red, white and blue jerseys as they represent United States national teams.

Forwards Morgan Weaver and Makamae Gomera-Stevens were invited to join the senior national team camp in Bradenton, Florida. Mykiaa Minniss will play for the under-20 team in Lakewood Ranch, Florida for the 2019 Nike International Friendlies.

Weaver and Gomera-Stevens are the first Cougars to be called into camp with the United States National Team. They will be training alongside 24 professional and college players in the Identification Camp. However, none of the players from the 2019 World Cup championship team will be at the camp.

The Cougs are coming off a historical season for the program. Washington State reached the College Cup semifinals for the first time in school history. They lost in the semifinals to national runner-up North Carolina.

Nike Logo Plastered On Front of 2020 MLB Jerseys: Great or Awful?

Nike premiered the designs of what all MLB jerseys will look like in the 2020 season, and it’s suffice to say the new look received a mixed reaction at best.

The upcoming season marks the first on-field example of Nike’s partnership with the MLB as its official uniform provider, and instead of the Nike swoosh being featured on the sleeve, as it has for decades, the logo is now prominently positioned smack dab on the front of the jersey, which was met with both indifference and outrage online.

“We’re excited to kick off our partnership with Major League Baseball with the unveil of next season’s uniforms,” Hal Melhart, Senior Product Line Manager for Nike Diamond, said in a statement. “Each franchise has a deeply personal history, with a visual identity that continues in this update. In the future, we look forward to preserving this integrity while still bringing more of Nike’s creativity to uniform designs, as we build energy around the game for its players and its fans.”

Fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the new MLB jerseys. Generally, it’s hard to fix what’s not broken, so to mess with a look fans have grown to love for decades, naturally, there would be some backlash.

It appears the jerseys getting the most hate are from fans of teams that have stripes on their shirts. The logo appears to just cut into the natural design, the swoosh being nothing but a weird and unnecessary distraction. Twitter user Billy Ballas wrote, “New MLB jerseys with nike logo on the chest look tacky, like something you would get at a discount store, not an authentic jersey to be worn on the field by the players.”

Frank P. Jr. tweeted, “The Nike logo on the front looks awful and I’ll never let it go.”

Upon seeing the “Nike Logo” becoming the No.1 trend on Twitter, users online wished fans could get outraged about something else other than MLB jerseys. Others simply just love the new look and wanted the naysayers to go away and shut up.

One Twitter member shared, “Would I have preferred the Nike logo go on the sleeve like the Majestic one was? Yes. Is the Nike logo being on the chest “ruining” the tradition of the #Yankees? No. By the time the All-Star Break rolls around no one will notice it.”

Some users online compared the Nike MLB jerseys to professional soccer jerseys, which are all front-loaded with paid logos.

However, many of the people online trashing the complaints about the 2020 MLB jerseys are not baseball fans at all, they’re merely annoyed at seeing such passion toward professional sports.

Mexican National Team 2020 U.S. Tour to Kick-Off with March Games

The Mexican National Team will once again tour the United States in 2020, entertaining its millions of devoted fans from coast to coast. Now in its 18th year, the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF) and Soccer United Marketing (SUM) today announced the 2020 #MexTour will kick-off on Thursday, March 26, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC – presented by Allstate, followed by the previously announced game at the 5G-enabled AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Sunday, March 29 – presented by AT&T. The teams are expected to bring their top rosters as the games will be played during the March FIFA dates.

Opponents, kickoff times, as well as additional matches for the 2020 Mexican National Team U.S. Tour, will be also announced at a later date.

Tickets for the two matches will go on sale to the general public on Monday, December 9th, at 10 a.m. (local time in each market) via For the ultimate fan experience at MexTour Dallas, All-Access packages are available, which include an autographed jersey, meet and greet with former national team legends, VIP hospitality at the MexTour Live concert, and a post-game field experience at AT&T Stadium. Inventory is limited.

To pre-register for future ticket information, fans are invited to visit, the ultimate fan destination page with the latest information related to the team’s visit to U.S. cities throughout the year, including full tour schedule, on-sale dates, gameday guide and activities, public events and more. Also, fans can visit the official Mexican National Team U.S. e-store,, featuring the latest team gear, including jerseys, hats, team merchandise and more.

The City of Charlotte and Bank of America Stadium have hosted Mexico on several occasions since 2010, including #MexTour and Concacaf Gold Cup matches. They last played in North Carolina on June 23, 2019, defeating Martinique 3-2 in a first round Gold Cup match in front of nearly 60,000 fans.

Since its opening in 2009, AT&T Stadium and North Texas have become a second home for the Mexican National Team; the Tricolor have played eight games at the home of the Dallas Cowboys – a facility Mexico inaugurated – and have enjoyed a winning record of 6-1-1 and an average of nearly 80,000 fans in five MexTour matches at the stadium. The match is being played as part of a four-year agreement – now in its second year – with the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), FC Dallas (MLS), and the Dallas Sports Commission. The week-long celebration also includes the #MexTourLive fan festival and concert on Saturday, March 28, as well as a number of social responsibility events. More details will be shared when available.

Mexican National Team U.S. Tour matches have become one of the most popular events in the sport, with an average of nearly 54,000 fans per game during the 2019 edition. With nearly 90 games played since 2002, the Mexican National Team has been able to use the matches not only to prepare for important competitions like the FIFA World Cup and Concacaf Gold Cup, but also to reach their fervent fan base across North America.

The Mexican National Team U.S. Tour, sponsored by adidas, Allstate, AT&T, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Coca-Cola, Delta/Aeromexico, Estrella Jalisco, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nissan, POWERADE, The Home Depot, and Wells Fargo. The tour will visit various cities across the United States in 2020 and be broadcast nationally on the Univision family of networks and Fútbol de Primera Radio Network.

Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s next stop might be Major League Soccer

The most popular Mexican soccer player to ever kick a ball in Southern California has never played in MLS.

Jorge Campos was the first Mexican to do that, starring for the Galaxy in the league’s first two seasons. And Carlos Vela is the latest, setting scoring records for LAFC in that team’s first two seasons.

But neither reached the demigod status Javier Hernandez achieved here, where his national team jersey has been among the bestselling through the last two World Cups.

“I didn’t know that,” Hernandez — best known as Chicharito — said when given that information in a recent phone call.

Hernandez, 31, is in Spain, not MLS, three months into a three-year contract with Sevilla that will reportedly pay him $3.3 million a season, less than half of what he made last season at West Ham. When the deal ends in 2022, he’ll be 34.

By then Hernandez will likely be well past the crossroads that have kept many players in Europe over MLS.

Although he’s Mexico’s all-time leading scorer, his meaningful days with the national team may be over. He hasn’t appeared in a competitive match for Mexico in more than 16 months and played in just three friendlies this year, his fewest since 2009.

And he’s still finding his footing in Sevilla, appearing in 10 of the team’s 19 games in all competition heading into Sunday’s match with Leganes.

All that suggests a move to MLS would be the natural next step for a player whose popularity, good looks and fluency in English and Spanish would make him the best thing to hit the league’s marketing department since Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

So has Hernandez thought about it?

“Yes. Definitely,” he said. “Look, I am always thinking about my future. I want to be as open as I can to any opportunity.

“MLS is a league that is improving. It is an opportunity. Every league is an opportunity.”

And the most obvious MLS opportunity would be with the Galaxy, a team in the middle of another winter makeover.

The loss of Ibrahimovic — who made more than double what Chicharito will earn this season — leaves them without a scorer or a box-office draw at a time when the team, playing in the largest Mexican market outside Mexico City, is losing the battle for local soccer hearts and minds to LAFC and Vela, its Mexican star.

Plus no MLS executive knows Hernandez better than Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese, who was scouting director at Chivas de Guadalajara when Hernandez was part of its youth program, then worked for Mexico’s national soccer federation during Chicharito’s prime.

However a Galaxy spokesman said last week Hernandez is not currently in their plans. And if he were, he could cost them a handsome transfer fee paid to Sevilla, which has made itself into a top club by mastering the art of buying low and selling high.

Spanish soccer has long been dominated by two teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, whose deep pockets allowed them to sign players such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Sevilla, meanwhile, entered the 21st century playing in the second division, so far in debt it looked as if it would have to sell its stadium to pay its bills.

After surviving that financial crisis, the team’s budget is still less than half of what Barcelona spends. But Sevilla has made up for it by being smarter, playing the transfer market as well as — or better than — any team in Europe and winning three of the last six Europa League titles along the way

It’s unbeaten five games into this season’s continental tournament.

“The key to the success is being able to know how to improve ourselves and having intuition,” said Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, better known as Monchi, who is the club’s director of soccer.

Under Monchi, Sevilla has become the Oakland A’s of soccer, finding value where others see risk.

“Our objective is to be a different and rebellious club, a club that does things its own way and knows how to compete with clubs who have bigger resources,” said Monchi, who began his latest rebuilding project last spring, returning to Sevilla after two years at Roma.

Among his last acquisitions this summer was Hernandez, who came on a reported $8.5-million transfer in September. MLS, it appears, will have to wait.

Or pay.

Monchi is fine either way.

“Javier will give us a lot because at 31 years old, I see him at the peak of his career. He arrived completely convinced by the project. Rarely have I seen a player who has sacrificed so much to sign for this club,” he said, referencing the pay cut.

“How he has gambled on coming to Sevilla, it’s a huge example of the level the club is now at.”

Given the level the Galaxy are now at, Chicharito is a gamble the club would be wise to consider.

Marlboro’s pro soccer players donate jerseys for Recreation Department display

Three young men who were raised in Marlboro and grew up to become professional soccer players were honored in a ceremony at the Marlboro Recreation Community Center, Wyncrest Road.

Alex De John, 28, and brothers Hunter Gorskie, 28, and Jason Gorskie, 30, visited the Marlboro Recreation Department on Nov. 25 and presented municipal representatives with signed soccer jerseys which will be placed on display in the department’s trophy case.

DeJohn has played professionally for Ekenas IF and TPS in Finland, IK Start in Norway, Dalkurd FF in Sweden and Orlando City FC in Major League Soccer.

Hunter Gorskie has played professionally for the New York Cosmos in the National Independent Soccer Association, Miedz Legnica in Poland, the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL Championship, Thisted FC in Denmark and most recently for Loudoun United in the USL Championship.

Jason Gorskie has played professionally for Wisla Pulawy in Poland, Lyn FC in Norway, Pieta Hotspurs in Malta and Bnei Sakhnin in Israel.

De John presented Marlboro’s representatives with his jersey from Orlando City FC, Hunter Gorskie presented his jersey from the New York Cosmos and Jason Gorskie presented his jersey from Wisla Pulawy.

The athletes spoke about what it means to be honored in their hometown.

“It’s been nice to come back and get recognized and to give a path for people to dream to be professional athletes because that was our dream as young kids when we were growing up playing on the fields and in our backyards,” De John said. “It’s nice to give hope to kids to continue to work hard and to pursue their dreams.”

“It means a lot to come back to where it all began with the Marlboro Soccer Association and CTR Soccer,” Hunter Gorskie said. “It was there that each of us laid the foundation for all of our professional moments to be possible.

“It’s great to come back here and hopefully, we can set an example for every other young soccer player in Marlboro to have the same aspirations, to see it’s possible and to continue to dream and to work hard. It’s an honor to be able to set an example for them,” he said.

“It’s an honor being back and it’s an honor to be honored this way,” Jason Gorskie said. “I remember growing up … it looked like the odds of making it (as a professional) were a lot more difficult than I think it is now.

“It’s great to be able to add to the collection of people (who became professionals) so other kids can grow up and see more people have done it and that becoming a professional is more possible than they may think,” he said.

The event at the Marlboro Recreation Community Center was attended by members of the players’ families, by Marlboro Councilwoman Randi Marder, and by their former coaches – Frank Rizzi of CTR Soccer and Dave Ryden from Marlboro High School.

“This is a proud moment for Marlboro,” Marder said. “To have three professional soccer players who went through the Marlboro soccer program is amazing. CTR Soccer deserves recognition for training these athletes. Congratulations to Hunter, Jason and Alex on their success. We thank you for taking the time to come back and for donating your jerseys to share with your hometown.”