TEENAGE KICKS

TEENAGE KICKS

(Manchester United winger Alejandro Garnacho)
In recent weeks it has been showcased that in football, first-teamers are getting younger and younger. They aren’t just in the team to train and develop in a short time manner, but they are playing huge roles for their teams and making rounds within the sporting world.

1. Alejandro Garnacho (D.O.B – July 01, 2004)

Alejandro Garnacho is a 19-year-old Argentine winger who came up through the Atletico Madrid system before joining Manchester United in September 2020. Garnacho’s swagger, composure, and skill of a young Cristiano Ronaldo whom Garnacho idolizes.

Garnacho broke through in the Manchester United first team during the 2022/23 season scoring winners against Fulham and West Ham, ending the season with 5 goals and 5 assists in his breakthrough season. Currently, he’s out here scoring beauties including the first photo, with an overhead kick against Everton. He has also made three appearances for his country and made over 50 appearances for his club.

(Garnacho during Man United’s game at Arsenal)

2. Lamine Yamal (D.O.B – July 13, 2007)

(Barcelona forward Lamine Yamal)
Spanish winger Lamine Yamal is the latest talent produced from “La Masia”, the Barcelona academy who is already an international at ONLY 16 years old. Yamal made his debut in April of this year against Real Betis. At the time, he was 15 years, 9 months and 16 days old.

Lamine has consistently been in the first team and even the starting XI when it comes to a matchday for Barcelona, and it’s trending the same for country. He has gone on to score for Barcelona and the Spain national team, and there is still more to come.

3. Lewis Miley (D.O.B – May 01, 2006)

(Newcastle United midfielder Lewis Miley)
The Gateshead-born Miley has only just broken into the first team at Newcastle this season, albeit due to an injury crisis. So far this season he has made his UEFA Champions League and Premier League debut. Standing at 6ft. 6”, Lewis Miley is a giant of a player at only SEVENTEEN.

During his Premier League debut against former champions Chelsea FC, he registered an assist for teammate Alexander Isak and had an all-round good game. It is still early in his career, but with recent performances, it may be difficult for senior members to displace the talented Englishman.

4. Kobbie Mainoo (April 19, 2005)

(Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo)
The “Stockport Iniesta” as some fans dub him, Kobbie Mainoo has only just made his full Premier League debut in the game against Everton, where he was one of the best performers. The midfielder had an outstanding game, starting moves off in the opponent’s third of the pitch, making intelligent passes through the lines, and even a goal-line clearance.

The 18-year-old Englishman, who could represent Ghana, is due to have his breakout season this season after recovering from an ankle injury that put him out for the first two and a half months of the season.

5. Francesco Camarda (D.O.B – March 10, 2008)

(Italian striker Francesco Camarda)
Francesco Camarda, the Italian striker standing 6ft. 3” has just become the youngest ever Serie A debutante at 15 YEARS OLD. There is a massive expectation for the Italian stallion who scored 485 goals in 89 games at youth level; around 5.5 goals per game. Look out Erling Haaland, Francesco is coming.

6. Da’vian Kimbrough (D.O.B – February 18, 2010)

(Sacramento FC forward Da’vian Kimbrough)
The youngest on the list is the Mexican forward Da’vian Kimbrough has made world news becoming the youngest ever professional athlete at only 13 years old. Playing in the United Soccer League Championship, he made his debut on October 1, 2023, at age 13 years, seven months, and 13 days.

As a Mexican, there are comparisons to Raul Jimenez, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, and even Santi Gimenez, and hopefully, Kimbrough can live up to those standards. At 11, he scored 27 goals in 31 games in 2021, his first year in the club’s academy. As a U-14 player, Da’vian scored 61 goals in 81 games in two seasons when the club took a chance with him in the first team, and hopefully, it does pay off.

Yes, these players are young so people will think they have 15/20 years ahead of them, but the proper care for their body is needed. A big reason why Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Thiago Silva, and the recently retired Zlatan Ibrahimovic played for over two decades is that they treat their bodies well, had no parties, and have a reserved style of living.

Five Bold Predictions for the 2023 MLB Offseason

Five Bold Predictions for the 2023 MLB Offseason

Photo Credit: mlb.com
The 2023 MLB offseason has begun after the Texas Rangers won their first World Series in franchise history. The talk will obviously revolve around superstar Shohei Ohtani as he looks to become the first MLB player to sign a $500 million deal, but there is lots of other talent on the market. Josh Hader, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger, Jordan Montgomery, and Matt Chapman are all coming off solid seasons looking to lock up a long-term deal. Superstar 25 year old pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto is coming from Japan, and he may sign a deal for over $200M. To add on that, there is speculation that Juan Soto and Corbin Burnes may be traded in the offseason. With that in mind, here are 5 bold predictions for the offseason…

1. Shohei Ohtani goes to the Cubs on a short-term deal

Shohei Ohtani is the most intriguing free agent in MLB history. He is a dynamic two-way player who is amazing at pitching and hitting, and immediately makes a team a World Series contender. He can go to the West Coast and sign with the Dodgers, but Ohtani has had enough of L.A. So, he picks the Chicago Cubs as his team to ride with for the next few years. Yes, this won’t be a huge 10 year, $500 million deal. Ohtani will be going to the Cubs on a shorter deal. The Cubs are coming off a season where they have the money to spend around Ohtani to compete for a championship. In addition, Ohtani can be looking for a triple crown since he isn’t pitching anytime this season. He would get to play in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Wrigley more than other ballparks (these 3 parks are the most expected home runs by park for Ohtani). Chicago also just signed manager Craig Counsell to a 5 year deal, which indicates that they intend to go on a playoff run with him as their manager. Ohtani will sign with Chicago for a 3 year $155 million contract with an opt-out clause.
Photo Credit: nypost.com

2. Yoshinobu Yamamoto signs with the Mets for $150 million

Yoshinobu Yamamoto is seen as a pitching prodigy throughout the game of baseball. He posted a 50-16 record, 1.42 ERA, and 586 SO over the last 3 seasons in Japan. The New York Mets have been considered the favorites to land the pitcher as owner Steve Cohen is expected to pay him heavy money. The Mets dealt with ineffectiveness from most of their starters last season, as Max Scherzer, David Peterson, Tylor Megill, and Carlos Carrasco struggled mightily. They took a shot on Kodai Senga last offseason, and it was a massive success as he had a 2.98 ERA, 202 SO, and finished 2nd in NL ROY voting. Why not take another chance on another budding star from Japan? The Mets will sign Yamamoto for 6 years and $150 million to pair up with Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana.
Photo Credit: cbssports.com

3. Cody Bellinger travels to the Bronx

Coming into the 2023 season, there were no expectations for Cody Bellinger when he signed a 1 year deal with the Cubs. He never discovered that 2019 MVP form when he hit 47 home runs for the Dodgers. A hot start lasted through June and carried through the 2nd half to lead the Cubs to the postseason. Bellinger hit .307 with 26 HR, 97 RBI, 20 SB, and a 4.1 fWAR. These numbers were a huge surprise from 2020-22 when he hit under .239 and less than 20 HR in each of the 3 seasons. Bellinger’s looking for a team that needs an outfield spot and a way to show that his 2023 year wasn’t a fluke. That team is the New York Yankees. The Yankees are in need of 2 outfielders with rookie OF Jasson Dominguez rehabbing and rookies Oswaldo Cabrera and Everson Pereira struggling. They can cut that number in half by going for the star OF. The short porch can also lead to big numbers from Bellinger as his lefty power will be helpful for a productive year for the Yankees.

4. Juan Soto doesn’t get traded

There have been rumors of the Padres wanting to lower their payroll by around $50 to $60 million this offseason. Soto’s name has been brought up since he is a free agent next offseason and he will be worth lots of money this offseason for arbitration. The Yankees, Giants, Mets, and Mariners have been linked to the Padres in a potential offseason trade. However, the Padres will wait until the trade deadline to trade Soto. Instead of trading him in the offseason, they can move less important players and find ways to maintain their payroll with Soto on the team. This could also lead to a trade at the deadline if the Padres are sellers.

5. The Reds will sign 2 starters to strengthen their rotation

The Reds were a big surprise during the 2023 season, going 82-80 and barely missing the postseason. However, they had a very big weakness that led to them missing the playoffs: Starting pitching. Their starters posted a 5.43 ERA and were one of the worst rotations in the MLB. It doesn’t help that the Reds play in a hitters’ park, but those numbers are unacceptable. Andrew Abbott and Hunter Greene are a good start for a rotation, but the Reds have to add at least 1 starting pitcher and build around them. It wouldn’t be shocking to see them take a shot at ace-level pitchers such as Aaron Nola or Blake Snell. Reuniting with Sonny Gray or signing Eduardo Rodriguez are very acceptable options for a team that needs the pitching to be successful next season.
Who’s To Blame for the Jets’ Offensive Struggles

Who’s To Blame for the Jets’ Offensive Struggles

Photo Credit: mytwintiers.com
Watching the Jets lose another game without scoring a touchdown was very painful for Jets fans to watch. The Raiders’ and Chargers’ defenses aren’t horrendous, but scoring 18 points in two games (on 6 FG by Greg Zuerlein) is completely unacceptable. The game on Sunday against the Raiders was a very winnable one, especially when they had multiple drives in the red zone throughout the night. The blame game is being placed on QB Zach Wilson, who has struggled to convert touchdowns and has nearly a 1:2 TD to TO ratio. However, he had a solid game against the Raiders, having over 300 scrimmage yards. However, Robert Saleh made a good point that it is “too lazy to blame just the quarterback” on the offensive struggles. So, who should truly be blamed for these struggles if it isn’t just Zach? These factors should also weigh in…
Photo Credit: espn.com

Nathaniel Hackett

Nathaniel Hackett is definitely a factor for the red zone struggles of the offense. When you can’t score a touchdown for 36 consecutive drives, that is a serious problem that falls into the QB and the play caller. There have been some truly questionable play calls throughout the year, including on Sunday when the Jets predictably ran the ball on 2nd & 1 AND 3rd & 1. Even Rodgers didn’t like the call, as there are clips of him shaking his head after Hackett announces the run. In addition, the Jets have run the ball on back-to-back plays WAY too much to set up a 3rd & 8 or 3rd & 6. This also leads to the end of many drives, as the Jets are dead last in 3rd down conversion percentage (25%). The red zone play calling is also horrendous, as NY has
one of the lowest touchdown rates in the entire league. Furthermore, the offense is way too conservative as on many drives, they start as run-run-pass. That concept won’t work every single drive. Wilson showed several times in the Raiders game (and the Giants’ game) that he has a cannon when he can unleash the ball deep. Hackett has to adjust his playcalling and let Zach take control of several drives if he gets into a rhythm.

Allen Lazard

The Jets signed Allen Lazard to a 4 year, $44M contract after a solid season with the Packers. Their goal in signing him was to improve the Jets’ WR depth and for Lazard to be a No. 2 WR alongside Garrett Wilson. So far, Lazard has been nothing but a bust throughout the first 9 games: 20 catches, 40 targets, 290 yds, 1 TD. The stats aren’t great, but his drops and terrible penalties make his case way worse. He has one of the highest drop rates in the league among receivers (7.5%) and has killed several drives with flags. It looked like he also gave up on a throw in the Raiders game that fell incomplete and he was the target for Wilson’s pick at the end of the game. Overall, Lazard has been harming the offense way more than he has helped it. Let’s hope that changes quickly.
Photo Credit: nypost.com

Offensive line

The offensive line has massively struggled with inconsistency, penalties, and injuries for the Jets. When Rodgers got sacked on his first drive, it showed a trend that was going to last. Injuries have definitely been an issue, as losing Duane Brown, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Wes Schewitzer have forced guys such as Xavier Newman and Max Mitchell to play important roles. However, Zach Wilson has run for his life through several games this season (The Cowboys and Chargers are two examples). In addition, the o-line has given up 33 sacks, including 21 in a four game stretch. It showed progress in the Raiders game, as Zach only got sacked twice. Penalties have also killed many drives that the Jets have had throughout the season, including several early ones in the Raiders game. Hopefully, the line can become more disciplined and continue their momentum of protecting Wilson.
Photo Credit: nypost.com