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t bothersome thing to me is why,

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    It is in Becky Sauerbrunns job description to frustrate and stymie on defense, to prevent players from going where they wish on a soccer field. Nike Air Force 1 Mid 07 . She does this well. Many suggest that the player who was the centerpiece of a unit that helped the U.S. womens national team win the World Cup just one year ago does those things better than any defender in the world.It is also in her job description as one of the teams co-captains, a role the 31-year-old inherited only this year, to do the opposite off the field. After more than 100 appearances for her country, Olympic and World Cup titles already in her inventory, hers is a voice of experience.?A captain for a group of Olympic aspirants noticeably younger (average age 27.8 years old) than the team that won the World Cup a year ago (average age 29.5 years old), she took it as her mission in recent months to help those players adapt to the pressure of trying to make the final roster of 18 players -- and prepare for any outcome.?Thats crippling, Sauerbrunn said shortly before the roster was announced. Thats crushing to a lot of players. If, by chance, they dont make it, whats their response? Are they going to be like Crystal Dunn, where she absolutely lights the league on fire [after being left off the World Cup roster] and gets called back in and is fighting for a starting spot? Or is it somebody thats kind of like, OK, I guess the national team just isnt in the cards for me.?Its making sure they know the journey is long. Youre going to have a lot of ups, youre going to have a lot of downs. But its absolutely 100 percent worth it to be here, so never give up on that dream.She is a qualified guide. They are the same questions she asked herself not so long ago.?Her own ticket to Brazil was a formality long before U.S. coach Jill Ellis this week named the roster that will compete in the Olympics. She is in her own right as indispensable as any player. With her as defensive anchor in the World Cup, the first major tournament in which she was a full-time starter, the United States came within seconds of a record shutout streak en route to a title. At the She Believes Cup earlier this year against England, France and Germany, three of the top five teams in the world, the United States allowed only one goal and won all three games.?The FC Kansas City captain was the National Womens Soccer Leagues defender of the year in each of that leagues three completed seasons.Even snubs, as when she was omitted from the World Cup all-tournament team and what amounts to FIFAs all-world team this year, reinforce her status through the outcry such omissions elicit. She so perpetually figures in conversations about underrated players that she almost defies the label.?What people dont realize is just how easy she makes things, Carli Lloyd said after the most recent omission. And I think that might make people not recognize her as much out there.?Yet it was just six years ago, when the U.S. team -- then under the direction of Pia Sundhage who now coaches Sweden -- gathered for the training camp that would determine the roster for World Cup qualifying, that Sauerbrunn instead made her way to the movies with her boyfriend on the other side of the country. Instead of Sundhages distinctive Swedish accent, she spent the night listening to Blake Livelys somewhat less authentic interpretation of a Boston accent in The Town.?Sauerbrunns debut for the national team more than two years earlier was by that time rapidly receding in the rearview mirror, followed not by more appearances and more camp invitations but by silence. Then employed by the Washington Freedom in the now-defunct Womens Professional Soccer, Sauerbrunn was 25 years old. Not so old to be without hope of completing her journey, but running out of time to get her foot in the door. ?True to the character of a contemplative and almost hyper-rational former English major at the University of Virginia, she attempted to reason rather than rage against reality. She told herself she would be the best professional she could be in whatever time remained in the short shelf life of an athletic career. Perhaps that was her ceiling. Perhaps international soccer wasnt her fate.?That surely wouldnt have been a tragedy. To emerge from among the millions of girls playing soccer to compete at a regional level, where she first became a defender, and for youth national teams, to then be among the sliver to play Division I soccer and the smaller subset to play professionally, was already success. Logically, rationally, that should leave anyone fulfilled.? ?None of which explained the feeling she had after she put together one of the best defensive efforts of her life to help stymie Brazilian superstar Marta in a WPS game of that era, with Sundhage in attendance. What she felt was not the glow of satisfaction at a job well done.?I remember seeing Pia there and Pia not acknowledging my presence, Sauerbrunn said. And just being so crushed and thinking, OK, Im trying to convince myself that the national team isnt in my cards, but clearly I still want it so, so bad.?I was attempting [to readjust my expectations], but I was failing.That was the struggle right up until she checked her phone before the movie that night and saw a message waiting for her. There had been an injury and Sundhage wanted to know if she could be at the training camp. She boarded the plane the next morning, expecting to be camp fodder, little more than extra body to make drills works. But she survived the first cut. Then she not only made the roster for qualifying but also the 2011 World Cup itself, in which her lone appearance was a start in the semifinal win against France in place of suspended starter Rachel Buehler.?A year after feeling like she was so far on the outside that she might need to accept that it would be her home, she was very much on the inside of the national teams future plans.?Becky, defensively, certainly caught Pias eye and my eye because she was willing to take risks, she was very alert, said Ellis, then an assistant under Sundhage.?Missing in their eyes had been two components. First, though not uncommon among young defenders trying to make the national team, Sauerbrunn too often let her undeniably talented actions speak louder than her words. She didnt communicate well enough. Second, she didnt comfortably play the kind of long, driven passes that Sundhage wanted out of the position.? ?The latter came with repetition. It wasnt something she did naturally, more inclined to shorter passes, technical and precise to build possession through the midfield. It still isnt her first instinct, but she accepted that she needed to show it in her skill set.The other continues as a work in progress, the captaincy the latest test.?Its a little bit of leaving my comfort zone and demanding [from] players around me, Sauerbrunn said. I think its gotten better. I dont know if the players are listening to me more or if its just Ive never really talked as much, so now theyre listening.Its not that Sauerbrunn never had anything to say.?She has a calmness about her that, I think as a coach, I enjoy. Ellis said. I enjoy the conversations because its always a thoughtful conversation. I know Im not getting exactly what she thinks I need to hear.Much of what Sauerbrunn does with her voice is still hidden from our view, the conversations with teammates and even the marshaling of resources on the field difficult to decipher from a distance. Where it is most readily evident is in the sphere of social justice. Alongside names more familiar to headlines and faces more familiar to cameras -- Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo -- she is one of five players to file jointly a federal complaint against U.S. Soccer alleging wage discrimination.?I feel very strongly about the equal pay complaint, so it came pretty naturally, Sauerbrunn said. Now that Ive been on the team for so many years, Ive been through different CBA negotiations and I kind of know a little bit more about whats going on.Six years ago she wasnt sure if there was a place for her in international soccer. Now she is as valuable a defender as anyone, a voice both her team and the sport needs.?When she tells young players the journey may be long, she knows of what she speaks.?And when she tells them its worth the miles, she speaks from experience, too.?In 2010, when I was fighting my way back on, it was trying to prove that I deserved to be on the team, Sauerbrunn said. And in a sense, Im still proving that to this day. Ive been made a co-captain, and I have this feeling that I have to prove to everyone that I deserve that honor.?So every day Im just as hungry as I was in 2010 to prove that I deserve to be where I am.Which soon enough will be in the soccer stadiums of Brazil.? Supreme Air Max 98 Blue . Olli Jokinen, Mark Scheifele, and Bryan Little each had a goal and an assist as Winnipeg won 5-2, handing Calgary its record-setting seventh consecutive loss on home ice. Nike Air Force 1 Mid Black . That left plenty of energy for pitching books and swatting away free agency questions. Anthony had 24 points and nine rebounds, and the Knicks avenged an embarrassing home loss with a rout of their own, beating the Boston Celtics 114-88 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory. . The (11-11-4) Jets are seventh in the Central Division with 26 points.  Fifth place Dallas and sixth-seeded Nashville also have 26 points, but the Stars have three games in hand on Winnipeg while Nashville has two. LSUs season-opening performance on offense could not have gone much worse for quarterback Brandon Harris and coaches Les Miles and Cam Cameron.The stagnant offense that Miles predicted would change instead looked like the same old mess in the 16-14 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers, bringing down heavy criticism on the quarterback and on the men charged with getting more consistency out of the position.The questions many LSU fans have asked this week concern where LSUs offense will go from here and whether the Tigers problems are solvable. ESPN SEC writers Alex Scarborough and David Ching break down where Les Miles squad goes from here.Scarborough: From afar, this looks like a total mess. The notion of moving Cameron from the field to the press box during games is sort of laughable, to me. I mean, that didnt work the past few years, did it?But lets start out with your take, David, since youve been right there in Baton Rouge covering the dynamics of Miles, Harris and Cameron for some time now. How would you describe the way those three have interacted? There was a lot of hype about this being the year Harris finally broke through as a passer and how the offense was going to step into the 21st century. But judging by what I saw on Saturday, that absolutely wasnt the case. So what happened?Ching: Count me among those who expected Harris to take a step forward this year. Weve seen flashes that he can be an excellent college quarterback, so I attributed last seasons severe peaks and valleys to inexperience. Its certainly possible that progress will come -- his coaches and teammates all say he gets the job done in practice and that he is one of the leaders of the offense -- but it was obvious by the second drive against Wisconsin that Harris was wound far too tight. Like Miles repeatedly said Monday that his QB needs to calm down. Hes an upperclassman with a full season of starting experience. I dont envy the pressure Harris is under, but he should be past this stuff by now. That he seems so afraid to make mistakes is a problem that falls directly on his coaches shoulders.That said, Harris was not the only problem on Saturday. There are so many ifs from that game: If Harris had made better decisions at times; if the offensive line hadnt played exactly like the inexperienced bunch it is; if the wide receivers -- Malachi Dupre in particular -- could have caught a contested ball or two ... if ANY of those things had happened, LSU probably beats Wisconsin. LSU might even beat Wisconsin by double digits. The problem is that none of those things happened.Scarboroough: No doubt Harris isnt the only problem, but hes the most glaring one. Saucony Jazz Original Vintage. The most bothersome thing to me is why, after two-plus years under Cameron, he hasnt he gotten discernibly better?At the very least, why cant Cameron and Miles build an offense around what he does well? He throws a good deep ball, runs well and can hit that first read when its there. You know an offense that has worked well with those qualities at quarterback? Auburn. Gus Malzahn took those attributes with a converted corner in Nick Marshall and nearly won a national title. Im not saying Cameron should go run a spread/no-huddle, but bring something different to the table and see what happens. Lane Kiffin has transformed Alabamas offense in each of the past two seasons to fit quarterbacks that you could argue werent nearly as gifted as Harris.I know were getting ahead of ourselves by going down this road, but how closely do you feel the Harris future is tied to Miles? An option, to me, is if this season does go sideways, keep Miles and force him to make a change at coordinator and step away from the offense. It has been done before and its something that frankly I thought should have been done after last season, but Miles won the power struggle and couldnt be dictated to.Ching: You touched on something that I dont understand. If you want to recruit spread quarterbacks, run a spread system. Thats not what LSU does, nor should it with the nations best traditional I-formation tailback, Leonard Fournette, in the backfield. I dont buy that LSU needs to make massive changes to its offensive scheme, but it absolutely has to get effective play from its offensive line and quarterback. That didnt happen against Wisconsin.Even if he doesnt run a wide-open scheme, I truly believe Miles wants more balanced on offense. To that extent, his future is absolutely tied to Harris or backup Danny Etling, should they go that direction.I believed this past November that if Miles stayed, he would overhaul his offensive approach. That isnt what happened -- I dont think hell ever submit to any major changes being forced upon him -- and that doesnt necessarily have to be a bad thing. LSU just needs to do enough in the passing game to alleviate pressure off the run. If Harris or Etling starts doing that, the Tigers will be fine. If they dont, Miles and Cameron will answer for consistently failing to recruit, and then develop, a quarterback who fits their scheme. 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      March 24, 2018 2:08 AM MDT