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Rich Sport, Poor Sport: Wednesday Reader

While one of the underlying messages of the FCEarth community is that soccer is a truly universal sport that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, of any socioeconomic status- and can be inspirationally adopted by young athletes with nothing more than a makeshift ball and competitive spirit- we are also often reminded of the other extreme, the sports wealthy luminati, led by the mind-bogglingly valuable clubs of the European leagues. Case in point: Forbes' list of the most valuable soccer teams in the world.

#1, not surprisingly: Manchester United (EPL) at $1.8B.

Trivia: the most valuable Major League Soccer Club is...(answer below)

Photo: Man. U owner Malcolm Glazer sitting on a $1.8B club. Or is he?

South African Schools Adopt-a-Nation, Learn and Compete
Inspiring story from BuaNews (South Africa) on a recent youth tournament in Johannesburg. The next World Cup host nation's "2010 School Adventure Program" has nearly 8,000 South African schools competing to qualify for next year's scholastic Confederations Cup tourney. In some districts, schools adopted FIFA nations- US, Iraq, Italy, etc- for the recent tournament and spent time learning about their adopted countries' culture, geography and music. A glowing example of how the sport can be used as a tool to educate and inspire kids to learn more about the world.

Soccer Fitness: Better than Jogging?
Here's a reprint, found at the homepage of Northport Cow Harbor United Soccer Club, of a 2007 Newsday article by Maria Cheng. Cheng reports on a Danish study of 30+ males who played soccer vs. those who jogged and found greater benefits in the footballers. This is why my grade school gym teacher would call soccer a "life sport." You can play it at any age and it literally makes your life longer.

To Loan?
Something most American sports fans don't easily relate to: the concept of "lending" players between pro clubs. US teen star Freddy Adu is currently on loan from Portugese club Benefica to Monaco (France), while it appears David Beckham will join Italian super power AC Milan following the current Major League Soccer season of LA Galaxy, which has been a huge disappointment for the club. There's nothing like it in sports. Can you imagine the Yankees lending A-Rod to the Yomiuri Giants of Japan? But Beckham's desire is sound- he needs to be in playing shape to be considered by English coach Fabio Capello for qualifying matches next year. And besides, this is a tradition that has gone on for years in soccer.

Trivia Answer
The most valuable Major League Soccer team is LA Galaxy at $100M, according to Forbes.

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