Brazilian great Socrates dies

Former Brazilian captain Socrates – who led the team in the 1982 World Cup, a team considered the best Brazilian side never to win the World Cup – died in a Brazilian hospital on Sunday from an intestinal infection, the Brazilian Football (Soccer) Federation announced.

The 57-year-old Socrates became a medical doctor after an illustrious career that started in 1974 with the Botafogo Football Club.

Officials at the Albert Einstein Hospital said the former captain had gone into septic shock and was placed on a ventilator and a dialysis machine. Socrates, who drank alcohol excessively, was hospitalized in August and September this year with bleeding in his digestive tract.

Considered to be one of the most brilliant players in the history of the Brazilian national team, Socrates made his name during his time at Corinthians F. C. from 1978-84 and ended his career with Italian club Fiorentina in 1985; he captained Brazil in the ’82 World Cup in Italy and also played in the 1986 World Cup.

Corinthians responded to Socrates’ death by honoring the player with the 2011 Brazilian championship. The club on Sunday played to a goalless draw with Palmeiras to win its fifth Brazilian title. Before the game, Corinthians midfielder Alex said, “We hope we can lift the title, to win it in the name of Socrates, for the idol that he is.” During the game, banners in the stands read: “Doctor Socrates, rest in peace.” There was a minute of silence observed before the start of all games in Brazil last Sunday.

Obama First In MLS

The Los Angeles Galaxy publicity department revealed that President Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to directly call to congratulate an MLS club on winning the MLS Cup. Mr. Obama called Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena days after to congratulate him and the team on winning the MLS championship on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Home Depot Center in Carson (CA). The

Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo, 1-0, to capture its third MLS Cup.

Arena was in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the Galaxy on a tour of Asia. The White House released a statement saying, “The president said, as a soccer fan, he wanted to let coach Arena know that the team inspired a lot of young soccer players, including his kids.”

“The president congratulated coach Arena on all that the team has done for the game of soccer and asked him to pass along his congratulations to Landon Donovan, David Beckham and the rest of the team,” the statement concluded.

The president also extended an invitation to the Galaxy for a White House visit to celebrate White House style. The Galaxy defeated the Indonesian national team on Wednesday, 6-1, at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. The Galaxy will also play the Philippines in Manila and the Melbourne Victory Club in Melbourne, Australia.

U. S. Soccer

The U.S. men’s national soccer team will kick-off its 2012 international friendlies schedule with two contests against Venezuela in Glendale, Arizona on Jan. 21, and versus Panama there on Jan. 25. The announcement came from the USSF on Thursday.

The Americans will kick off its campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on June 8 when it hosts Antigua and Barbuda in a CONCACAF Group A semifinal round game. The U.S. also plays Guatemala and Jamaica in group play.

The USSF also announced that it is holding discussions to play an international friendly in Italy on Feb. 29, a FIFA international date. The U. S. is still trying to find its way after a slow start under new manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who has won on two games in seven since taking over the team in July.

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