Soccer Training Programs by the Pros

Epic Soccer Training Improve Soccer Skills

The Epic soccer training program was developed by Matt Smith, a former All American professional soccer player who has also trained players of different skill levels, so he knows exactly what hes talking about. This training content consists of a Pdf format workbook and 4 modules (each module consisting of between 21 and 10 videos). In fact, the program uses exercises and drills that are designed to quickly improve users touch. Unlike other programs using those soccer skills to teach people slow movements, the Epic Soccer Training system focus on dynamic touches where people are moving at the fast pace are more effective in increasing your skills. With the help of this e-guide, you will be able to get more efficient touches in a short period of time. Around 90-percent of the methods and drills provided and demonstrated by Matt Smith inside his program can be executed without the assistance of another person. More here...

Epic Soccer Training Improve Soccer Skills Summary

Rating:

4.7 stars out of 13 votes

Contents: Ebook, Videos
Author: Matt Smith
Official Website: www.soccertraining.net
Price: $39.97

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My Epic Soccer Training Improve Soccer Skills Review

Highly Recommended

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Soccer

With tickets costing just R20, attending a soccer game is not only cheap, it's also a hugely fun night out with Capetonian supporters taking every opportunity to blow their plastic trumpets - bring your earplugs The season runs from August to May. Ajax Cape Town, who is affiliated with the Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam, sometimes plays matches at Newlands Rugby Stadium (below). Matches are also played at Green Point Stadium (Map pp252-3), off Fritz Sonnenberg Rd in Green Point, and Athlone Stadium (Map pp244-5), off Klipfontein Rd in Athlone. This last stadium is home to Santos soccer team. Tickets can be purchased through Computicket.

Soccer Football

Soccer (o f tbol as it is known here) is the national sport, followed fanatically by millions of Mexicans. Even if you are only mildly interested in the game, attending a partido can be very entertaining. In general, games are an appealingly relaxed affair, with rival fans sitting close to each other exchanging good-hearted competitive banter that rarely resorts to violence - aside from the occasional good-humored soft whack in the face by a toilet roll (or similar) on its missile route to the pitch. Face painting contributes to the good time atmosphere, together with the steady supply of drinks and food that are sold directly to spectators at their seats. The capital stages two or three soccer matches almost every weekend in the national Primera Divisi n. Mexico City's four teams are Am rica nicknamed Las guilas (the Eagles), and the most popular in the country Las Pumas, of UNAM, which come second in popularity followed by Cruz Azul (known as Los Cementeros) and lastly, Atlante (Los...

Catch a Soccer Match

In Europe, soccer is like packing all the cheers, joys, agonies, and devoted fandom of American baseball, football, basketball, and hockey into one sport and one season. Except for a few oddball games cricket in England, or hurling in Ireland this is the only sport that most Europeans follow, making it a close second to Christianity as the national religion in each country.

Football Soccer

Soccer attracts quasi-religious devotion here. The violent hooliganism that's marred the national game has declined with the building of all-seat stadiums, but it still happens and can be an ugly spectacle. The football season runs from August to April, and matches usually kick off at 3pm on Saturdays or 7 45pm on Wednesdays. The capital has more than a dozen clubs in different leagues. Tickets cost from 8 to 30 ( 13 48), and more for gold-dust Premiership games. London's glamour clubs are Arsenal, Arsenal Stadium, Avenell Rd., N5 (& 020 77044000, or 020 7704-4040 for the box office www.arsenal.co.uk Tube Arsenal) Tottenham Hotspur ( Spurs ), White Hart Lane, 748 High Rd., N17 (& 020 8365-5000, or 020 8365-5050 for the box office www.spurs.co.uk Tube Seven Sisters) and Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Rd., SW6 (& 020 7385-5545, or 020 7386-7799 for tickets www.chelseafc.co.uk Tube Fulham Broadway).

The Orange Revolution Beyond

During WWII, when Kyiv was occupied by Nazi Germany, the members of the talented Dynamo soccer team were challenged to a public match with a team of German soldiers. The Ukrainians formed a team called Start, and despite physical weakness brought on by the occupation, they started off ahead. At half-time German officers came into the locker room and commanded them to let up. Nevertheless, Start continued to play hard, and before the game finished the referee blew the whistle and called it off (with a score of 4-1).

Planning Your European Rail Trip

Speedy trains zip across northern Europe at up to 186 mph (300kmph) slower trains stop in the depths of Swiss mountain valleys and meander past quaint Dutch villages. And somehow, trains make people open up in ways they never would if they were traveling by air, bus, or car. In a car on a French night train, we once met a college student from Nashville, an artist from Florence, and five members of an Ethiopian soccer team. Riding a high-speed train along the backbone of Italy, we were charmed by a young man, heading to his exams for the carabinieri, who led us, patiently, through the chaos of Rome's Termini Station.

The Patron Saint of Ladiesin Waiting

But he retained the jumbled medieval look the differing heights of the tower stumps and houses give the place. Nothing other than the occasional market and kids playing soccer interrupts the oval space ringed with lazy cafes and a few shops. The floor of the amphitheater is about 3m (10 ft.) underground, but you can make a circuit of the piazza's outer edge to see the imprint of the stadium's ancient arcade and poke your head into the entrance halls of apartments, a few of which contain interrupted spans of tufa arches and other Roman remnants. Piazza Anfiteatro. No phone. Free admission. Daily 24 hr.

Getting There Away

There is a landing strip soccer field at the eastern end of town that is the dividing point between Rais Ta and Bel n. Half-way down one side of it is a small wood building that houses the SAMI office (h 6 30am-5pm Mon-Sat). Be sure to check in at 6.30am since flight departures change on a whim. Prepare to wait anywhere from half an hour to a day or two.

The Active Vacation Planner

Like most cities in health-conscious Switzerland, Geneva has many sports facilities. However, locals often pursue activities outside the city. They're more interested in following their own personal sports program than they are in spectator sports, except for soccer, which is played in various stadiums. (Matches are announced in the tourist office's monthly List of Events. ) The big spectator event of the year, a soccer tournament known as the Bol d'Or, takes place sometime in June (the Swiss National Tourist Office abroad will provide exact dates).

Near the Puerta del

If you like to mix food and fun, this may be the place for you. Tavernas and tascas (see Dining in Madrid, later in this chapter) line the street, and the lobby TV is a magnet for soccer fans. Even though the rooms are boringly contemporary, all are in good condition and many feature sitting areas.

Sombrero Resort Lighthouse Marina

Centrally located in the Middle Keys, Sombrero Resort offers 123 con-dos and efficiencies in two three-story buildings, plus 70 marina slips for boats up to 100 ft long. Condos have a living room with sleeper sofa, dining area, kitchen and bedroom with king-sized bed or two doubles and full bath. Rooms were newly painted and carpeted in 1999. A nice sundeck encircles the Junior Olympic heated pool. Chef's Steak-house & Bar on the premises opens nightly from 6 pm to 10 pm. A poolside tiki bar serves frozen island drinks from 12 noon to 11 pm. The gameroom buzzes with video arcade games, billiards and table soccer. Outdoors, four lighted tennis courts, a sauna, small fitness center and

Tsim Sha Tsui East Hung Horn

Bahama Mama's goes for a 'Caribbean island' feel, complete with palm trees and surfboards. It's a friendly spot and stands apart from most of the other late-night watering holes in this part of town. It's also the place to come for a foosball (table soccer) showdown. On Friday and Saturday nights there's a DJ spinning and a young crowd out on the bonsai-sized dance floor.

Catching Calcio Fever

To Italians, calcio (soccer) is something akin to a second religion. You don't know what a fan is until you've attended a soccer match in a country like Italy, and an afternoon at the football stadium can offer you as much insight (if not more) into Italian culture as a day in the Uffizi. Catch the local team, the Fiorentina, Sundays September through May at the Stadio Comunale, Via Manfredi Fanti 4 (& 055-262-5537 or 055-50-721 www. acfiorentina.it). Tickets go on sale at the stadium box office 3 hours before each game.

Other Denver neighborhoods

Ii The Washington Park area is alive with young professionals of all ethnicities who have bought homes around Denver's largest park. The area, known to locals as Wash Park, spans from Broadway east to University Boulevard, and from Alameda Avenue south to Evans Avenue. Washington Park itself is a glorious piece of greenspace with two large lakes (popular with local fishers) and is the place to rollerblade, sunbathe, and play soccer and volleyball.

Beaches Parks Natural Areas

People cross to Siesta Key mainly for the beach. Shopping and dining are a sideline. Not all ofits beaches are created equal, however. Siesta Key County Beach on Midnight Pass Rd. at Beach Way Drive is a half-mile long and luxuriously wide. Its porcelain-white sands are plush, and a dream-come-true for recreationists. The park contains volleyball nets, tennis courts, a fitness trail, ball fields, a soccer field, playgrounds, lifeguards, and rental and food concessions. For slightly more seclusion, park on the street, rather than at the huge parking lot, or walk to the public beach's outskirts.

Rise Of The Strongmen

THE SOCCER WAR There's little love lost between most Hondurans and Salvadorans, who seem to despise each other with equal vigor. Much of the enmity can be traced to a brief but embittered war the two countries fought in 1969, known commonly as the Guerra de F tbol - the Soccer War. That same month, by chance, the two countries were competing against each other in a World Cup soccer qualifying match. At the game, which was played in San Salvador, Salvadoran fans attacked Hondurans, and destroyed and ridiculed the Honduran flag and anthem. Back in Honduras, angry Hondurans assaulted Salvadorans on the streets. The Soccer War lasted just four days around 2000 people died, mostly Honduran civilians, and as many as 100,000 Salvadorans fled or were expelled. Relations between the countries took years to mend, and in many ways never have. (The official peace treaty wasn't ratified until 1980.) Relations between the two countries were tested again not long thereafter, when El Salvador erupted...

Childrens Grand Park Map pp

A glasshouse botanical garden has cacti up one end, a tropical jungle and bonsai trees at the other end and a small folk museum upstairs. A wetland ecoarea has a boardwalk, and nearby pony rides (W3000) and camel rides (W4000) are other options. The 30-minute AnistoryShow (adult teenager child W5000 4000 3000 S 11 am, 1 pm, 3pm, 5pm & 7pm) is fun and features a cute parrot, a chimpanzee act and eager performing seals. The 30-minute Elephant Theme Show (adult child W6000 5000 S 11.30am, 1pm, 3pm & 5pm) has nine elephants that play soccer and basketball and also features six Laotian female dancers.

The Lake Balaton Region

An excellent spot for rail travelers of all ages looking for some fun and sun in Hungary, Lake Balaton may not be the Mediterranean, but it is the largest freshwater lake in Europe. Throughout the long summer, swimmers, windsurfers, sailboats, kayaks, and cruisers fill the warm and silky smooth lake, Europe's largest at 50 miles (80km) long and 10 miles (15km) wide at its broadest stretch. Around the lake's 315 miles (197km) of shoreline, vacationers cast their reels for pike play tennis, soccer, and volleyball ride horses and hike in the hills.

Tibes Indian Ceremonial Park

In 1975, floods caused by Hurricane Eloise washed away layers of topsoil north of Ponce, revealing an Indian ceremonial site dating back to AD 700. Only five of 35 designated acres have so far been fully excavated, revealing ceremonial plazas, or bateyes, used by Tainos for ritual ball games similar to soccer. Also uncovered was a star-shaped formation of flat stones laid out in triangles pointing directly to the sunrise and the sunset during solstice and equinox, the meaning of which remains unclear. So far, around 140 skeletons have been dug up, most of which were found buried in the fetal position - a practice typical of the Igneri, Pre-Taino and Taino Indi-

Quepos Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio Park and its many hotels sits on the other side of a mountain ridge from the small town of Quepos, about two hours south of Jaco. Before the tourism boom, Quepos survived on fishing and agriculture. It began its life as a company town, built in the 1930s to support the United Fruit banana plantations that lined the coastal plain. By the 1950s, production of African palm oil became the main source of income, after Panama disease destroyed the banana crop. On the long drive in, you'll pass rows and rows of tightly packed palm oil trees, as well as some surviving banana plantations. Afew small company towns live on, distinguished by the geometrical arrangement of the turquoise houses, some built on stilts, usually around a soggy soccer field. Other agro-industries As you might guess, Quepos offers lower rates for hotels and cheaper eateries than the Manuel Antonio area, which begins on the twisty road that runs over the mountain and down to the park. Turn at the last left...

Portrait Of Scotland

The Scots are a gregarious people and enjoy company, whether this be in a small group at a Highland ceilidh (literally, a visit ), a bar, or as part of the colourful Saturday armies of football (soccer) fans. Sometimes they have to travel far to find company the Highland region has a population density of eight people per square kilometre (20 per sq mile), and the lack of public transport means a car is vital.

Gare De Lyon Nation Bercy

The southern part of the 12e arrondissement is a fairly well-to-do quartier, and at the weekend hordes of cyclists and soccer players head for the woods. Walkers can stroll along the Promenade Plant e, a path along the viaduct above av Daumesnil. Within the arches, there are upmarket shops, galleries and caf s. On the other side of the Gare de Lyon, there's the Parc de Bercy, where an orchard, vegetable patch and garden have replaced the old wine market.

World Cup Stadium Mall

Costing US 151 million, the spectacular 64,000-seat World Cup Stadium was built to stage the opening ceremony and some of the matches of the 2002 World Cup soccer finals, which Korea cohosted with Japan. Under the stadium is CGV ( 1544 1122), a five-screen cinema multiplex that shows films from 10am to after midnight. Also in the mall are lots of small shops, a food court (meals W3000-9000), Starbucks (drinks W4000) and Carrefour (S 9.30am-midnight), a giant hypermarket with food and household goods on the lower floor. Around the stadium are large parks that have been cleverly reclaimed from landfill sites and returned to a natural state. To arrive by bicycle see p115.

Solidarity In The Sticks

From a distance Apuela appears as a scattering of Monopoly-game homes, balanced on a mountain shelf. On Sundays locals flood the center to play soccer and browse the market for provisions and blue jeans. Coffee addicts should visit Caf R o Intag, a cooperative coffee factory. The beans are produced by Asociaci n Rio Intag (jai 664 8489 aacri andinanet.net near plaza), a group of local farmers and artists. They also sell handbags

Indo Fijian History Culture

Indo Fijian Music

In larger urban centres, fashion and popular culture are also breaking down barriers. Visit Fiji during the Hindu Diwali festival (held in October or November) and you will see many indigenous Fijian women wearing Indian fashion. More generally, indigenous women are now wearing Indian jewellery and using sari cloth for traditional outfits. Nightclubs are playing Bollywood DJ mixes and bars are serving bowls of curry with drinks the way Indo-Fijians do in their homes. Across the country, sport, in particular soccer, plays a role. Team members hold regular curry, beer and kava (a narcotic drink) nights and banter in Hindi or Fijian. Indo-Fijians are now even playing the indigenous Fijian-dominated rugby. When victorious national rugby sides return from overseas, Indian dancers greet them alongside the thousands of Fijian spectators. Fairground activities accompany Fiji's soccer season, which runs from February to October. Club soccer matches are played on weekends and culminate in the...

The God Fearing Tainos

The Tainos were not great warriors, and tended to put their fate in the hands of deities, which they called cemies, as well as a heavenly creator called Yocahu, a good god named Yukiyu and a number of lesser gods. They constantly prayed to fetishes made of wood, stone or seashells, which represented the cemies. They used tobacco for mystical and medicinal purposes. Most were afraid to be alone in the dark of night, when the dead walked around in human form and could be distinguished from the living only by their lack of a navel. Each village was built around a plaza known as the batey - which served as ceremonial site, town hall and ballpark -where a soccer-like game between two teams was played as a religious ritual. SUDDEN-DEATH SOCCER

West Of Puerto Escondido Bajos de Chila

The Mixtec ball game of pelota mixteca - a five-a-side team sport descended from the pre-Hispanic ritual ball game - is played every weekend in the village of Bajos de Chila, 10km west of Puerto Escondido along Hwy 200. Games usually begin at 5pm on Saturday or Sunday - check with the tourist information kiosk in Puerto Escondido - and the playing field, called the patio or pasador, is easy to find in the village (though you'll probably notice a lot more soccer being played than pelota). Colectivos to Bajos de Chila (M 5, 15 minutes) leave from the corner of Calles 2 Nte and 3 Pte in Puerto Escondido every 30 minutes. For more on the ball game, see the boxed text on p73.

Spectator Sports

Like most Greeks, Thessalonians are keen soccer and basketball fans, rooting for the home teams (confusingly, the Aris and PAOK stadiums are home to both basketball and soccer teams). Your best bet if you don't speak or read Greek and want to catch a game is to check with the concierge at your hotel, or at the GNTO tourist office in Aristotelous Square (don't attempt this by phone). In general, soccer games are in the spring and fall, basketball year-round. The Aris stadium is in the suburb of Harilaou ( 2310 305-402), while the much-eas-ier-to-reach PAOK stadium is on Ayios Dimitrios, 2 blocks northeast of the International Fairgrounds (& 2310 238-560).

Music Metropolis

Few cities in the world offer so many star-studded classical concerts every evening - and few cities have so many internationally renowned conductors as the Bavarian capital. Munich's music scene throbs to the batons of Christian Thieleman, Zubin Mehta and Mariss Jansons, and it thrives through concerts of new music and chamber music, piano recitals and open-air events highlighting operas or symphonies. The city where Mozart would have liked to be court conductor and where Richard Wagner had some of his greatest triumphs, has started the third millennium with a musical agenda that other cities can only dream of. On average, an audience of some 15,000 attends a musical performance each day. This means more concert-goers in one week than the spectators of a single top-notch Champions League or Bundesliga soccer game.

Lifestyle

For those people too exhausted after work to go out, it's the TV that's the main source of entertainment. Korean soap operas are hugely popular, as are soaps from Taiwan. Reality TV shows such as Supergirls, the Chinese version of Pop Idol, draw massive audiences too and have caught the imagination of the younger generation who feverishly cast votes for their favourites. But if there's a big NBA game or soccer game on, then there'll be a tussle over who watches what.

O Castel Sant Angelo

Originally built by Emperor Hadrian in a.d. 135 as one of the most impressive mausoleums in the ancient world, it was adapted for use as a fortress, a treasure vault, and a pleasure palace for the Renaissance popes. Visit its interior, noting the presence near the entrance of architectural models showing the castle at various periods of its history. Note the building's plan (a circular tower set atop a square foundation) and the dry moats (used today for impromptu soccer games by neighborhood kids), which long ago were the despair of many an invading army.

Legal Matters

In principle there's a 'limited' requirement for anyone over 12 years of age to carry ID. For the visitor this basically means on public transport, at soccer games or, increasingly, in designated 'security-sensitive' areas such as Rembrandtplein or the Red Light District, where the police can conduct random checks for illegal weapons and drugs. (It's all part of a national law-and-order, anti-terrorism campaign, but most visitors won't even notice it.) Foreigners should carry a passport or a photocopy of the relevant data pages a driver's licence isn't sufficient.

Tipping And Taxes

Cantinas are the traditional Mexican watering holes. Until not long ago, women, military personnel and children were not allowed in cantinas, and some cantinas still have a rusted sign stating this rule. Today everybody is allowed, although the more traditional establishments retain a macho edge. Beer, tequila and cubas (rum and coke) are served at square tables where patrons play dominos and watch soccer games on large TV screens. Cantinas are famous for serving botanas (appetizers) like quesadillas de papa con guacamole (potato quesadillas with guacamole) or escargots in chipotle sauce.

Sport

Five of the 14 soccer teams in the Tunisian first division are from Tunis, including rivals Club Africain and Esp rance Sportive de Tunisie. Both use Stade Olympique (Map p68 El-Menzah) as a home ground. Admission starts at TD7 and matches are usually at 2pm on Sunday. To get there, take m tro l ger line 2 from R publique to Cit Sportive.

Sports

Like any Central American country worth its stripes, Belize is a soccer-playing nation and has national tournaments contested by a number of semi-pro clubs. The Regent Insurance Cup competition runs from about January to June, and the Prime Minister's Cup starts in August. Leading clubs include Kulture Yabra of Belize City, Juventus of Orange Walk, Sagit n of Independence and San Pedro Seahawks. Games are played on Saturday and Sunday. The stadiums are easy enough to find in each town you'll be in a crowd of a few hundred at most.

Entertainment

On Sunday afternoon, spirited games of football (soccer) are played at the stadium (off Avedu G n ral Leclerc),near the train station. There are also occasional beer festivals here, attended by university students from as far away as Antananarivo. Look out for posters around town.

Hockey

Dutch (field) hockey teams compete at world-championship level. In contrast to football (soccer), which is played mainly by boys in school yards, streets and parks, hockey is still a somewhat elitist sport played by either sex on expensive club fields. For this reason, visitors will have a hard time playing unless they can become affiliated with a team. The season is similar to that for soccer. For information and matches, contact Hockey Club Hurley ( 645 44 68 Amsterdamse Bos, Nieuwe Kalfjeslaan 21 S 4pm-midnight Mon-Fri, 8.30am-6pm Sat, 8.30a m-8pm Sun).

Braving a Bullfight

El toro, or bull, is a creature of mythic proportions in Spain and a pillar of Spanish popular culture. The bull is central to rituals Spaniards hold dear, such as Pamplona's annual encierro, or running of the bulls, and la corrida, the bullfight, which has followers every bit as faithful and passionate as soccer does. The life-and-death drama of a bullfight something aficionados elevate to art and theater rather than mere sport is a quintessential Spanish experience. But it's not for everyone, or even for most people. It's bloody and it's cruel death in the afternoon is what you'll go to see, and applaud, when the matador almost inevitably slays the beast. Whether or not you're swayed by such demonstrations of machismo, you're unlikely to forget your first experience of either one. Madrid's Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, Seville, and Ronda are the top three spots to see a corrida, with Ronda home to Spain's oldest bullfighting ring being especially evocative. See Chapters 13, 15, and...

Parque Cuscatln

This is a pleasant park (Map pp320-1 h 6am-6pm Tue-Sun), with lots of benches beneath the shade of large trees. Kids play soccer on islands of grass, while women sell pupusas and other snacks from stands set up on gravel roads between them. Around the park are three excellent stops - Tin Mar n children's museum (p327), the Sala Nacional de Exposiciones (National Exposition Hall) and the sobering Monumento a la Memoria y la Verdad (Monument to Memory and Truth). This neighborhood is home to both the Estadio M gico Gonz lez (Estadio Flor Blanco Map pp320-1 49 Av Sur), where soccer games and occasional rock concerts are held, and the Gim-nacio Nacional Alfredo Pi eda (Map pp320-1 Parque Cuscatl n), whose basketball and volleyball courts, and steep bleacher seats go largely unused. However, the park and three sites around it are well worth visiting.

The Lowdown

Starbucks could learn a thing or two An essential part of Italian culture, coffee bars are a dime a dozen in Rome. Romans stop in at the bar all the time, as much for the caffeine as for the chance to socialize and rehash the previous day's soccer results. Wherever you go, the coffee is nearly always great and always espresso bean-based. If you ask for a caffe americano, it won't taste like what you're used to at home it'll just be espresso with more water. And don't even think of brandishing any of that offensive Star-bucks-ese words like nonfat and soy will only draw blank stares, and if you ask for a latte, you'll just get a glass of milk. (Caffellatte is the proper name of the coffee drink.) Locals, however, pretty much stick to the classics, starting the day with a cappuccino and taking several more breaks for caffe (espresso) throughout the day. Coffee at the bar is served in ceramic cups with saucers and taken standing up. To-go orders not this country's forte are put in...

Seeing The Sights

Perugia's public living room is Corso Vannucci tff, a wide promenade that's the stage for one of Italy's most lively and decorous evening passeggiate. People saunter up and down the Corso at twilight to see and be seen, to pause in the cafes for an espresso, and to discuss politics and soccer scores. One end of Corso Vannucci is anchored by the 19th-century Piazza Italia (see Perugia's Medieval Pompeii, below), while along one side of the other end undulates a huge solid mass of crenellated travertine called the Palazzo dei Priori.

Queens Park Savannah

'The Savannah' was once part of a sugar plantation and is now a public park. Appreciative residents play soccer and cricket and fly kites in the park's expansive grassy field. It's a great place to walk or simply hang out and people-watch, especially in the crowded early evening when the scorching heat subsides. Many people jog here despite the thick traffic zooming around the perimeter. You'll find fresh coconut juice and snow cones being sold and many benches on which to enjoy them. Concerts and

Casinos

Sports lovers flock to Lightning Casino on Airport Road to place bets on boxing, baseball, soccer, hockey, football, basketball and horse racing shown on giant closed circuit TVs. Pelican Casino at the Pelican Resort in Simpson Bay offers slots, roulette, craps and blackjack and Golden Casino at Great Bay Beach Hotel features gaming tables and slots.

Down on the Farm

HCOOPRENA (fa fax 506 259-3605, www.agroecoturismo.net). Eight agricultural cooperatives, ranging from Monteverde in the north to the southern Osa Peninsula, offer guests a rare opportunity to tour their farms and interact with resident families. Participants stay in rustic lodges, the proceeds from which are used for communal projects, such as fixing up roads, improving schools and cleaning the local soccer field. Good family-style food and fresh milk. They have their own tour company called Simbiosis Tours, specializing in local initiatives in ecological and land tourism. It's an admirable effort to convert tourist dollars directly into grass-roots conservation projects, encourage local people to follow sustainable practices and improve the quality of life.

Sports Activities

Sporting facilities are pretty good, but for the most part they're in private hands - there are only a handful of public tennis courts in the whole city, for instance (and they're not that good) - which means that you'll have to pay some kind of fee or membership to participate in most sports. We assume you're only visiting, so there's little point in telling you how to join one of the city's myriad soccer, rugby or GAA teams instead, you'll have to settle on watching them play.

Frommers Discounts

Hotel La Residenza finds Feel like a doge spend like a pauper. This is an excellent slice of old Venice at a fraction of the usual Venice cost. It's just a block up from the priciest real estate of the Riva degli Schiavoni, but you'd never know it. A few of the rooms at this pensione-style small hotel in a 15th-century palazzo overlook the very Venetian campo out front where kids play soccer and old ladies sit in the sun. Others open onto the surrounding quiet streets of a neighbor's garden. Stuccoes from the 1750s, 17th-century paintings, and a baby grand piano decorate the absolutely fabulous lobby breakfast room. Though half the rooms still have carpeting, half were refurbished in 2001, and their polished wood floors support hand-painted 18th-century Venetian-style furnishings under Murano chandeliers. There's no elevator (it's 25 steps up to the reception). The whole hotel is now nonsmoking.

Football

With so many other codes to compete with, the original game of football is most often referred to as soccer in Australia, despite the Football Federation of Australia's official assertion of the football tag. Despite all the competition, the game's rise in Melbourne has been spectacular. A new A League national competition was formed in 2005 and with it came a large supporter base and a higher profile for the game. Australia's solid performance in the 2006 FIFA World Cup also contributed to its new-found popularity, as does its status as the 'world game'. There are eight teams in the national competition (including a team from honorary 'state' New Zealand). After winning the FFA Grand Final in 2007, Melbourne Victory did not fare so well in 2008. The team has amazingly vocal supporters (including a British-style cheer squad) with the Dome's cauldronlike acoustics it makes for some atmospheric play. Melbourne Victory plays its

Outdoor Activities

Soccer, ice-skating, cycling, tennis, swimming and sailing are just a few activities that keep the locals fit - and of course jogging, which is popular in the Vondelpark and other parks. The Amsterdamse Bos has several walking and jogging trails for serious exercise. Bikes are available for rent in many corners of town (see p240) and bike tours are available (p249).

The Fast The Furious

Gaelic games are fast, furious and not for the faint-hearted. Challenges are fierce, and contact between players is extremely aggressive. Both games are played by two teams of 15 players whose aim is to get the ball through what resembles a rugby goal two long vertical posts joined by a horizontal bar, below which is a soccer-style goal, protected by a goalkeeper. Goals (below the crossbar) are worth three points, whereas a ball placed overthe bar between the posts is worth one point. Scores are shown thus 1-12, meaning one goal and 12 points, giving a total of 15 points. Gaelic football is played with a round, soccer-size ball, and players are allowed to kick it or hand-pass it, like Australian Rules football. Hurling, which is considered by far the more beautiful game, is played with aflat ashen stick or bat known as a hurley orcamdn. The small leather ball, called a sliothar, is hit or carried on the hurley hand-passing is also allowed. Both games are played over 70 action-filled...

Getting into Sports

No matter where you go in the world, you'll find a national pastime. In the United States, it's bangqiii (bahng chyo baseball). In most of Europe, it's zuqiu (dzoo chyo soccer). And in China, it's pingpangqiu (peeng pahng chyo Ping Pong). The following are popular sports you may encounter. yingshi ziiqiii (eeng shir dzoo chyo soccer (literally English-style football) soccer field

Festivals Events

Unsurprisingly, there are also loads of sporting events held on Rarotonga throughout the year. Rugby, athletics, soccer and cricket tournaments are ten-a-penny, but there's also a triathalon held around Anzac Day in April and a gruelling Round Rarotonga Road Race in October. A couple of intriguing new events have also recently booked their place in the calendar, including a String Band contest in June, a Fire Knife competition in July and the hugely popular Vaka Eiva canoe races in November.

The Paralympic Games

Athletes will compete in 19 major sports at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, 15 of which are also part of the regular 2004 Olympics. The full medal sports at the Paralympics are archery, athletics (track, throwing, jumping, pentathlon, marathon), basketball (wheelchair), boccia (the Italian bowling game played by athletes with cerebral palsy because the object is to roll balls along a earthen alley and place the balls closest to a white target ball), cycling, equestrian, fencing (wheelchair), football (soccer), goalball (played by blind competitors who try to throw balls equipped with bells into the opponents' goal), judo, lawn bowls (like boccia except played on open grass field), powerlifting, rugby (wheelchair), sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis (wheelchair), and volleyball. The Paralympic Games include some 700 medal events more than twice the number of Olympic events because Paralympic athletes compete according to degree of disability and functional level,...

Wao Touaourou Goro

All the way to Goro, the road runs along the coastline through luxuriant vegetation. The hills rise on one side and you can catch fleeting glimpses of the sea on the other. Wao is the first tribu you pass through and you might catch a game at its roadside soccer field. About 5km kilometres further on is Touaourou, on the sea front. Turn off the main road here to have a peek inside the church with its traditional wooden carvings around the altar.

Leaving Town

After this hotel, the road runs south, past nooks and crannies ofcoast, secluded sandy beaches, freshwater streams, rocky shores, a little fishing village and lots of forest. It leads to the town of Cabuya, and two km 1.25 miles farther brings you to the entrance of Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve (no relation to the vodka). This is a great drive, even though the road is a bit bumpy, and the last time we did it we came upon a pig-slaughtering affair in Cabuya - preparation for the next day's big soccer match against a neighboring village. We returned to see the match and pig out. These kinds of events make for tales and memories for years to come. Also extraordinary is the Cabuya town cemetery, located on a small, wooded, rocky island about 100 meters 329 feet offshore, not far past Hotel Celaje. You can walk to it when the tide is out, and local funerals are scheduled to coincide with the tides. A metaphor of life's continual ebb and flow.

Phoenix Park

Measuring 709 glorious hectares, Phoenix Park (Map p80 admission free) is Europe's largest city park and a green lung that is more than double the size of New York's Central Park (a paltry 337 hectares), and larger than all of London's major parks put together. Here you'll find gardens and lakes pitches for all kinds of British sports from soccer to cricket to polo (the dry original one, with horses) the second-oldest zoo in Europe a casde and visitor centre the headquarters of the Garda Siochana (police) the Ordnance Survey offices and the homes of both the president of Ireland and the US ambassador, who live in two exquisite residences more or less opposite each other. There's even a herd of some 500 fallow deer.

Pubs Bars Kowloon

Delaney's This very successful, upmarket Irish pub is decorated in old-world style with its old posters and photographs. Its convivial atmosphere gets an extra boost from a DJ Thursday nights and a live Irish band Friday nights, both free of charge. Big soccer and rugby events are shown on a big screen. In addition to a set carvery lunch offered weekends, it also has an a la carte menu listing Irish stew, beef and Guinness pie, corned beef and cabbage, and other national favorites. Happy hour is from 5 to 9pm daily open hours are daily from 10 30am to 2 30am. There's another Delaney's in Wan Chai at 18 Luard Rd. (& 85 2 2804 2880). 71-77 Peking Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui. & 852 2301 3980. MTR Tsim Sha Tsui.

Northwest Tampa

At 3501 W. Tampa Bay Blvd., the new Raymond James Stadium hosts the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, s 813-879-BUCS, in winter and major league soccer's Tampa Bay Mutiny, s 813-289-6811, April-October. The state-of-the-art stadium features lounges, sports bars, luxury suites, and a 20,000-square-foot replica of a 19th-century seaport village with a 103-foot-long pirate ship. Single-game Buccaneer tickets for the September-December season cost 30- 54. Mutiny tickets are 13- 17 for adults, 8- 10 for children.

Fitness Centers

Island Garden, 45 Cherry Valley Avenue, West Hempstead, n 516-292-4956, www.islandgarden.com, is a 42,000 square-foot multi-purpose complex featuring a full-service fitness center, basketball, softball, baseball and soccer. Day fee for fitness center, 7. Call ahead for other facilities. Sportime has 11 locations on Long Island, four on the South Shore of Nassau County, with a reciprocal arrangement for members. Some specialize in fitness or multi-sport, others in tennis, and some combine both. The toll-free number is n 888-NY-TENNIS. 60 The Plaza, Atlantic Beach, n 516-239-3388, open from May to early October 175 Merrick Road, Lynbrook, n 516-887-1330, has a full-service fitness and multisport facility with six indoor tennis courts (visitors must come with member) 4105 Hempstead Turnpike. Bethpage, n 516-731-4432, is strictly a multi-sport facility offering basketball, roller hockey, soccer, lacrosse and volleyball and 5600 Old Sunrise Highway, East Massapequa, n 516-799-3550, with...

To Be Continued

Nightclubs are playing Bolly wood DJ mixes. Bars a re serving bowls of curry with drinks the way Indo-Fijians do in their homes. Across the country, sport, in particular soccer, continues to play an important role. Team members hold regular curry, beer and kava nights and banter in Hindi or Fijian. Indo-Fijians are now even playing the indigenous Fijian-dominated rugby. And when victorious national rugby sides return from overseas, Indian classical dancers greet them along with the thousands of Fijian spectators.

Snapshot

The national passion is football, or 'soccer' as it's sometimes known (but never in Britain), with cricket and rugby not far behind, and there's more interest than usual in other events thanks to London's hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games. As well as world-class competition, the Games will ensure the arrival of large numbers of overseas visitors (and the money they spend), a raised profile for British tourism, new stadiums and housing, plus increased fitness and improved health for the entire nation. Or so say supporters. Detractors claim that the billions of pounds spent are unlikely to be recouped, local groups protest that a nature reserve, garden allotments and even popular sports venues will be bulldozed to make way for the Olympic Park, and infamously dour commentator Will Self wrote about 'the ludicrous notion that many hours of vegetating on couches watching toned young athletes is going to make any ordinary person more sportive'.

Wildlife Animals

Much of the country is a botanical wonderland with 1500 species of flowers, ferns, shrubs, vines and trees. Lord of the forest is the banyan. The largest is on Tanna, and is as big as a soccer field. There's forests of mighty kauri trees up to 4m in diameter on Erromango.

Architecture

Some of the buildings planned for the Olympics are more contentious than others. The National Stadium, dubbed a 'bird's nest' by locals, was designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. Bowl shaped and covered with an interlocking web of steel bars and beams, the building is regarded by many Chinese as positively associated with nature (and bird's nest soup - a luxury treat). The National Stadium will be the site of the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony as well as track and field events and soccer finals.

The Index

Arsenal Football Club (p. 242) HIGHBURY Emotions run high for all the soccer teams, but Arsenal fans may be the most fanatical of all Tel 020 7704-4000. www.arsenal.co.uk. Avenell Rd. Highbury N5. Tube Arsenal. Season runs Aug-May. O See Map 24 on page 244, bullet 25. Chelsea Football Club (p. 242) FULHAM Wear dark blue to see a match at the most geographically accessible London soccer ground Tel 020 7385-5545. www.chelseafc.co.uk. Stamford Bridge, Fulham Rd. SW6. Tube Fulham Broadway.

Zagreb After Dark

Bar restaurant Boban is owned by one of Croatia's top soccer players and it's always packed to the max with a noise level to match. There is also outside seating where promenading in resplendent finery is a sport for both sexes. Hours are daily 7am to midnight. Ljudevita Gaja 9. & 01 481-15-49. www.boban.hr.

Edgar Alvarez

This 30-year-old surfboard shaper and hotel owner lives at Boca de Pascuales. When did you take up surfing I learned to surf about 15 years ago and have been doing it ever since. I used to play football (soccer) on the beach and I'd watch the California guys surfing and thought it looked like fun. So I started practicing, little by little, until I could ride the big swells. Boca de Pascuales has some of the best surfing in the world. The waves attract surfers and professionals from as far away as Tasmania.

The Culture

Netball is as popular among women as rugby is for the men, and inter-village rivalry is equally fierce. Soccer is becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger Cook Islanders. The Manea Games is a regular tournament held every other year between the islands of the Southern Group, except Rarotonga, which has its own tournament (the Tumutevarovaro Games, usually held every July). Netball, rugby, soccer, athletics, volleyball and darts are some of the featured sports.

Quirky Atiu

'Atiu also has an astonishing number of tennis courts. In the 1990s the five villages got into a tennis-court-building competition, with each village trying to build a better court than the next. There are now nine tennis courts on the island - slightly excessive for an island of 600 people - although these days they're used more for volleyball, netball and soccer practise than for tennis, and most of them have seen much better days.

Sport and Activities

Cork City and County offer numerous sporting attractions. The county is famous for its golf courses, and its fishing deep sea, coarse and game angling. There are several dive centres in the county, ocean-going yachts can be chartered, with or without skipper, and dinghies and surfboards can also be hired by the day or the hour. More and more people are taking to the sea year-round in wetsuits. Wetsuits, surf boards and kayaks can be hired at various centres. There are several Blue Flag Beaches throughout the County. There are many indoor leisure centres. Spectator sports include Gaelic games - hurling and football, both fast exciting sports, as well as soccer and rugby. Horse riding and pony trekking and many other equestrian events including point to point fixtures etc are held throughout the County Cork Racecourse near Mallow has several fixtures year round, and has been fully renovated to the highest standards. While most people are familiar with horse racing, not everyone has been...

West Tanna

For horse riding (village banyan tour 2000 3500Vt), Lenakel Cove Resort has horses and guides jungle trails take you past villages full of adoring children to a giant banyan as big as a soccer field. It's near Lowrapik Tuan. Lenakel Cove Resort (Map p94 68860, 23759 Lenakel vanuatu.com.vu P0 Box 887 s d tr with breakfast 5000 7000 85OOVt) Spacious Melanesian bungalows with bathrooms, in a stunning garden overlooking the soccer stadium, an easy stroll into town. Camp for 1200Vt. It is tabu to kill birds and butterflies in the area, so you are surrounded by birdsong. Visa, MasterCard and Amex accepted.

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