After Alex Morgan got engaged, her friend and her co-conspirator Sydney Leroux unofficially took the title of America's most eligible female soccer player.

That didn't last long.

Leroux announced Monday that she is dating Sporting Kansas City star Dom Dwyer. Just like Morgan, whose fiancee Servando Carrasco plays for the Houston Dynamo, Leroux fell for a fellow soccer player.

Leroux posted this photo to her social media accounts:


Last week, Dwyer posted this photo for "Woman Crush Wednesday":


A photo posted by Dom Dwyer (@ddwyer14) on

The two even engaged in a cute little back-and-forth on Twitter with Chicago Fire striker Mike Magee:


Up until this point, Dwyer's name may have most associated with a post-goal selfie he took over the summer. But the 24-year-old Brit has emerged as one of the best players in MLS. His 22 goals in 2014 were the second most in the league.

Leroux, also 24, was raised in Canada but played collegiately at UCLA. She currently plays for Seattle Reign FC and helped lead the United States to the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

As it turns out, Leroux and Dwyer have more in common than soccer. They're both dog lovers who have gone as far as to create Twitter accounts for their pups.

Known for spending with reckless abandon to lure the game's best stars to the Big Apple, the New York Yankees have been quiet on the free agent front in the past few years -- at least when it comes to offering megadeals.

The same goes for the Boston Red Sox, which got burned after some of their major signings only led them to the basement of the American League East division.

Last season, the Yankees let Robinson Cano leave town to sign a lucrative deal with the Seattle Mariners. The notoriously stingy Miami Marlins, meanwhile, gave Giancarlo Stanton a record 13-year, $325 million deal.

So what gives?

According to a new article in The Wall Street Journal it's all a matter of economics -- and, more importantly, improved TV revenue-sharing. A system that was devised to improve parity throughout the league is giving mid-market clubs more options when it comes to throwing cash at its stars.

"It's a different system that we're operating in, there's no doubt about it," Yankee GM Brian Cashman told the WSJ. "Obviously, I think the game has evolved to a level where all teams are in play, whether you're looking down in Miami and seeing the extension they gave to their homegrown talent, which probably 10 years ago wasn't feasible."

Back in 2000, league revenues were around $3 billion. Now, that figure has topped $9 billion.


And it's not just that the Yankees are getting outbid, as was the case with Cano last year. In some cases, teams are eager to lock up their budding stars with long-term contracts before they hit the free-agent market.

That means major-market teams with seemingly endless revenues have to be more selective. If they try to win every free agent they target, they'll back themselves into a corner financially.

The Yankees and other teams recognize that while big contracts like Stanton's will happen, they also reduce competition for future free agents -- teams like the Marlins can't necessarily keep spending at that rate for a full roster.

The Yankees have to pick their moments. But when they do lock in on a coveted free agent -- and starting pitching is expected to be their focus this offseason -- they'll still be willing to open their wallet.

Just don't expect it to happen very often.

Death is only a split-second away. Whenever you forget that, watch the video of Joao Contreras Fuentes getting struck by lightning during a Copa Peru match.

Playing under storm clouds, Fuentes -- along with an assistant referee nearby -- was struck by the near-fatal bolt just as a soccer match began. Amazingly, the strike was captured on camera. But the bolt comes and goes so quickly, it's barely even visible.

In one frame, Fuentes is standing there watching the match begin. In the next, he's falling backward onto the ground like someone shot him (which is more or less what happened, really).

Fuentes was whisked off to the hospital and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter by his team. Either thanks to a miracle or due to shoddy public relations work -- but probably shoddy public relations work -- Fuentes was not dead at all, just very, very close to it.

According to Peruvian news site Trome, Fuentes is set to spend a few days recovering, but he should be OK. Here is how hospital director Thomas Párraga described the damage caused by the bolt (translated, of course):

"The lightning broke through his face, pierced the chest and exited through his left calf, without damaging the heart."

Yeah, lay off the medical mumbo-jumbo and tell it like it is. Lightning broke through Fuente's face and exited through his leg like he was a chicken on a spigot. It's as simple as that.

Fuente has second-degree burns on 18 percent of his body, but the lack of heart damage is the true miracle. Tests will be conducted on the rest of his major organs over a period of days, but Fuente appears to be mostly okay for a guy who was barbecued for the world to see.

Tags:
Soccer

When the NFL's most prolific tight end isn't delivering bone-bruising hits to opposing defensive backs or using brute force to "throw defenders out of the club," you can find him at home in bed, snuggling.

In an interview with ESPN, New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski opened up about his soft side. It turns out the man who leads all tight ends in receiving yards (997) and is second in touchdowns (10) and receptions (73) isn't so tough when he's off the field. He told ESPN's Lindsay Czarniak that he loves wearing UGG boots (the ones Tom Brady gives out for Christmas) and he still watches a certain Nickelodeon cartoon. While he's working out, of course.

"Before I go to bed, I've got to hit my situps and pushups," Gronkowski told Czarniak. "While I'm watching a TV show, I do pushups. I even watch SpongeBob still, so there we go."

Gronkowski also admitted that he likes to snuggle, and judging by his popularity with the ladies, he probably has no shortage of snuggle buddies.

Another of Gronk's favorite pastimes is dancing, and he told Czarniak that sometimes he thinks breaking it down at home helps him on the field.

"I feel like when I do some dance moves during the week or at the house, I'm quicker on my feet," Gronkowski said. "I can react quicker just from dancing."

Here's a video of Gronkowski dancing, and we'll let you decide whether you think these moves benefit him between the lines:

Jason Kidd hopes his players cheat.

The Milwaukee Bucks' first-year coach gives his guys a written test before each game, and he says he encourages collusion.

In his new story about the resurgence of Milwaukee, Grantland's Zach Lowe reveals that Kidd's tests cover everything from X's and O's to basketball history. For example, one recent question asked players to name the first coach of the Miami Heat.

The coaches keep a running tally of the scores.


“I’m not gonna lie,” Giannis Antetokounmpo told Lowe. “Sometimes I cheat and ask the older guys.”

Kidd actually wants the players to discuss answers during the test, hoping that the conversation continues in the locker room. Younger players say Jared Dudley, who is in his seventh NBA season and has more league experience than everyone except Zaza Pachulia (11 years), has become a reliable tutor.

Kidd got the idea for the exams from Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle, for whom Kidd won an NBA championship in 2011. The tests also reinforce certain concepts, especially for foreign-born players who sometimes struggle with verbal instructions.

Whatever Kidd is doing in Milwaukee, it's working. One year after finishing with 15 wins, the Bucks are showing signs of improvement. Rookie Jabari Parker leads all first-year players with an average of 12.5 points-per-game and his 49 percent shooting mark is fourth among all small forwards.

Despite being a relatively young team, with four out of five starters having no more than four years of experience in the NBA, the Bucks are 11-12 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

And in case you were stumped, the first coach of the Heat was Ron Rothstein.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis added some spice to the Cincinnati-Cleveland rivalry this week when he referred to Johnny Manziel as a midget.

Appearing on WLW-AM radio in Cincinnati, Lewis downplayed the Browns' impending shift from Brian Hoyer to Manziel as starting quarterback.

"You gotta go defend the offense," Lewis said. "You don’t defend the player. Particularly a midget."

After the show, Lewis said he was sorry.

"I apologize to Johnny, the Browns and all the fans in Cleveland," Lewis said. "It was just a poor remark. I really didn't mean anything by it."

One amusing side note was the advertisement found on ESPN.com's coverage of Lewis' comments. A seasonal spot for Dick's Sporting Goods features a rather buff Santa and a midget little person dressed an elf:

Similar to the case where a spelling bee winner's name was spelled wrong in a news headline, we're not here to snicker. Dubious ad placement can happen to any outlet, including The New York Times.

Magic Johnson gets how winning teams are built. You don't snag star players by being the 10th-best team in the league.

In the NBA, the best teams start from the bottom. And that's where he hopes the Los Angeles Lakers are headed.

"I hope the Lakers lose every game, because if you're going to lose, lose," said Johnson to Newsday. "I’m serious. If you're going to lose, you have to lose, because you can't be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great or you have to be bad, to get a good (draft) pick."

Fans may not like to hear it, but that's the truth of how the NBA works. A single player can make a huge impact on a team, but only a few known commodities are available in the NBA draft every year.

If you aren't one of the first teams drafting, you likely miss out on that talent -- which makes it harder to rebuild.

"I'd rather be all the way bad than be in the middle," Johnson.

The Lakers great almost has his wish: At 5-16, the Lakers are among the NBA's worst teams. But the Sixers and Pistons have even fewer wins than the Lakers do, and Minnesota and New York are both tied with four wins each, heading into Tuesday night's action.

To increase the odds of a better pick, Los Angeles might have to do even worse.

Another consideration is that if the Lakers' first-round pick this season falls between first and fifth overall, they will retain the draft choice. But if it is sixth or lower, the pick goes to the Suns, as part of the Steve Nash trade.

Johnson's presumable hope is that last year's first-round pick, Julius Randle, along with a high pick in next year's draft and one or two strong free agents picked up over the summer, can join Kobe Bryant to pose a formidable threat on the court next year.

In the meantime, the Lakers are something of a circus act -- a bizarre show so bad it's hard to see a couple new players making much of a difference.

Derek Jeter hasn't slipped out of the spotlight post-retirement. In between starting up an athlete-run news outlet and stirring up rumors that he might try to buy the Miami Marlins, Jeter has been active in starting his second life.

Meanwhile, his legend is still fresh in the minds of his fans. For that reason, the value of Jeter's collectibles have skyrocketed.

But those inflated values aren't built to last, experts say. That's why rather than as a long-term investment, the smart move is to sell off Jeter memorabilia as soon as possible.

An article from Forbes highlights how collector's items can inflate in value -- and quickly. Even experts of memorabilia and auction houses can't always predict what an item will sell for.

In many cases, it only takes two people for an item's value to far exceed expectations. When that does happen, it's usually because the bidders have an attachment that exceeds financial interests.

Investors aren't as interested in purchasing Derek Jeter collectibles right now -- not while prices are so high. But fans are desperate to snatch whatever tangible connections they can find to one of baseball's all-time greats.

Nearly three months after first listing a Derek Jeter game-worn sock for $410, Steiner Sports hasn't lowered the price a penny. The sock is featured in the retailer's Derek Jeter section of its website.

Eventually, the demand will decline -- as will the price for items across the board. For die-hard fans of Jeter's, the monetary value is irrelevant. But for anyone hoping to get rich off Jeter paraphernalia, be advised: A recession in this market is looming.

Another reason to celebrate this holiday season is the 15th anniversary of 'Any Given Sunday.' The football movie directed by Oliver Stone was released in December 1999, and it featured an all-star cast of superstar actors and NFL players. Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Ann-Margret and Lauren Holly were involved. Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, Warren Moon and Johnny Unitas were among the Hall of Famers who appeared. Jamie Foxx, who portrays controversial quarterback Willie Beamen, says this movie is still his sports favorite.

Tom Brady can't stop swearing.

The New England Patriots' 37-year-old quarterback, who has defined elegance and grace in his off-the-field demeanor, has been caught on camera several times over his career screaming a certain four letter word that starts with the letter f and rhymes with "duck."

Here's Brady's reaction to a Green Bay Packers first down last week:

And here he is later in the same game:

After these mini-tantrums were caught on camera, the Boston Globe criticized Brady for showing poor sportsmanship.

Of course, this is not the first time cameras have caught Brady uttering the word. NSFW alert for explicit language:

During his weekly interview with Boston sports radio station WEEI this week, Brady shrugged off criticism for his use of the f-bomb.

"I wish I did have a better mouth out there at times, but there’s nothing that quite expresses the way I feel like that word,” Brady said. "It is, it is [a great word], especially in the heat of the moment. ... Blame CBS and NBC for putting it on TV. Don’t blame me."

Brady said that while there are certain places where he is more restrained with his language, he feels free to express himself on the gridiron.

“We’re not choir boys, I know that,” Brady said. "You bring us up to a certain level of intensity to the game, your job is to go out there and physically, emotionally, mentally dominate the game. You don't do that at church on Sunday. You’ve got to go to the football field for that."

Brady is far from the first pro athlete to get caught swearing during a game, and while the NFL has started fining players for using "inappropriate language," the future Hall of Famer hasn't racked up a bill yet.

Syndicate content