Diversity At The World Cup

The U.S. And Europe Can Learn A Lot About Immigration From The 2018 FIFA World Cup

The beauty of diversity at this year's World Cup.

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup was alight with surprises and unexpected twists throughout its entirety—the defending champion Germany getting knocked out in the group stages (still upset about that tbh) along with powerhouses Portugal and Argentina getting slotted in the Round of 16, Russia's improbable run deep into the quarter-finals, and Croatia's absolutely incredible venture into their first ever FIFA World Cup Finals, culminating in France's victory for only the second time in its career as a nation made for an incredible tournament in Russia.

While the United States was unfortunately unable to qualify and compete this time around, there are some key takeaways that we can utilize as a country from the success of this incredibly diverse French side in Moscow—namely, the idea of immigration as a force for good, which has been set alight as a largely controversial topic of discussion by consistently inflammatory remarks made by our President and various members of the far right-wing sections of the Republican Party.

Unfortunately, the value of immigration as a core component of our great nation and the work ethic displayed by those who aspire to achieve what is touted as the "American Dream" is downplayed by pure-blood activists such as Steve Bannon (how that monster of a human—actual Neo-Nazi and white supremacist—became a political strategist still defies conventional expectation) and Tomi Lahren (who seems to think that the only acceptable immigrants are ones coming from Europe like her own), among many others of the Republican Party who claim themselves loyal to the United States, a country that was founded upon the principles of freedom from tyranny and the hope of a new life for those seeking justice and prosperity.

The central aspect of ridding our nation of whom Trump calls "illegals" was one of the founding pillars of the dogma that took Republicans by storm during the 2016 election cycle, and was a major factor that led to Trump's rise to power and the destruction of moderation of Republican ideals by candidates such as John Kasich in favor of an extreme set of tactics designed to beat down and discourage the very concept of American immigration.

So far, we have had several attempts to ban Muslim immigration outright from select countries and multiple efforts to reduce the flux of immigration across the Mexican border, which has culminated into a substantial crisis as ICE has routinely separated migrant children from their families in an effort to undermine the attempts of those who seek political asylum in the United States for a chance at a new life, away from the horrors that they fled from. Our President and Congress have done nothing but degrade the concept of immigration from nations other than Europe.

Beyond just the United States, the status of immigration throughout Western Europe has come into question amidst a rising tide of right-wing candidates such as Marie Le Pen of France and political parties such as Alternative for Germany, who preach about the sanctity of national identity as the backbone of patriotism. Such contingents constantly prove their hypocrisy about the value of their so-called nationalism by pointing to national sports figures as a symbol of their countries prowess but then insulting those very athletes for their perceived lack of national character during a loss.

Whilst on the subject of the World Cup, no athlete comes more prominently to mind as a scapegoat for his national identity than Mesut Ozil, a key figure of the German National team (colloquially known as Die Mannschaft) who has been constantly ridiculed by the German right-wing for his perceived lack of Germanness due to his silence during the National Anthem (Ozil has stated that he prays during this time to ensure success), amongst a plethora of other accusations. Despite the overall poor performance of the entire German squad at this year's World Cup, it was Ozil who was singled out as a pariah by the AfD, and not for the first time.

Amongst all of the Germany squad, it is Ozil's Turkish roots that are the most heavily inspected, in spite of his unquestionable talent as one of the best midfielders in the game, and the status of other immigrants and the children of immigrants that have donned the black and white national jersey, including Sami Khedira, Lukas Podolski, and Miroslav Klose. When the team wins, they praise the strength of the collective unit; when they lose, it is often Ozil who is left taking the majority of the backlash himself. The hypocrisy of the right-wing in Europe truly is astounding.

Enter the French National team, a contingent of 23 players spanning a wealth of nationalities including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Germany, Portugal, and Spain, amongst various others. All but 2 of these footballers were born and raised in France, and their devotion to their home allowed them to put aside their differences to fight together for the collective whole of Les Bleus, culminating in a victory that can be defined as a success story for all immigrants.

In the passion of the beautiful game, it mattered not who they were as individuals, but what they represented—the ethos of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity that defined their character as a unit, and that is why they stand triumphant as world champions. The victory of the French at this year's World Cup is a symbolic icon of the value of diversity in today's world.

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9 Reasons Why Liverpool F.C. Is The Best

The club you'll support for a lifetime
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Liverpool: what a club. Do not be mistaken, we have had our ups and downs. The club has flourished and suffered since its beginning in 1892. They have had fantastic wins and heartbreaking losses. We have showcased an immense amount of talent in our players, sometimes only to lose them the next season. Regardless of the ups and downs, Liverpool will always be my football club; why? Because we are Liverpool, and "You'll Never Walk Alone."

1. Jurgen Klopp

He is the absolute king of the Kop. His facial expressions will have you rolling; there is never a dull moment, especially when Klopp is excited. The German is known for his fist pumps and gestures throughout matches; it is never hard to tell how Klopp is feeling during any point in the game.

2. The Kop

I mean, have you met the fans?

3. It is not a club, it is a way of life

Liverpool fans are some of the most loyal and die-hard football fans you will ever meet. Once a red, always a red.

4. Stevie G

Legendary. The man is legendary. Coming in the top 10 players with the most appearances for the club at 710, he also wins the title of the most appearances as captain for the team at 473 appearances.

5. The comebacks are everything

Olympiakos? AC Milan? The game is not over until the final whistle is blown, and the club has proven that time and time again.

6. Success

18 league championships. five European Cup titles. seven FA Cup titles. The list goes on.

7. Not a boring team

With forwards like Suarez, Sturridge, Torres and many others that have graced the field with the rest of the Reds, it is rare to watch a boring game. While our defense might struggle at times, our offense can usually be counted on to keep the game exciting and interesting.

8. Bill Shankly quotes

With gems like “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.” and ”The two best teams on Merseyside are – Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.” you have got to have mad respect for the former manager.

9. "You'll Never Walk Alone"

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone

You'll never walk alone
















Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Ronaldinho: A Gift From The Soccer Gods

It was always exciting to see him wearing that iconic number 10 on his back.

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Watching soccer over the years, I think as fans we have been fortunate to see transcendent talents like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As great as they are, I don't know if I could ever say they were my favorite players to follow all the time. Its kind of like both Messi and Ronaldo have become the generic response for anyone who briefly talks about soccer because of their reputation and popularity. Similar to how Michael Jordan is well known in basketball or Tiger Woods is thought of in golf. The player I always admired to watch growing up was definitely the magnificent talent that was Ronaldinho.

Growing up seeing someone like Ronaldinho play soccer was out of this world. He had skill moves that would make your jaw drop. Just the way he'd be able to move the ball and place it in areas unreal to the naked eye was pure entertainment. Ronaldinho had balance, elegance, and swagger every time he stepped onto the field. He is one of only seven players to have ever won a FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League title and a Ballon d'Or award. Honestly, it has not been the same since he left the beautiful game back in 2015. Sure, he wasn't the greatest player to ever live or the most prestigious, but I would say Ronaldinho was certainly iconic.

He was a spectacle for the soccer world and I don't think there will be any other player quite like him to be on a pitch ever again. Brazil has been able to produce legends over the years like Pele, Kaka, and Ronaldo. Ronaldinho is definitely one of the athletes on my bucket list to meet someday. His legacy will forever be cemented as one of the greats in my book.

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