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 r me, I kind of always was aware of that. And then since coming out, I th

LONDON -- Follow that, Pep. Jupp Heynckes is leaving Bayern Munich having set the bar for Pep Guardiola as high as the Wembley Stadium arch. In Englands national stadium Saturday, on the penultimate step of Heynckes farewell tour, the coach delivered Bayerns fifth European Cup with a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund. That comes after the Bundesliga trophy was already collected in a record-breaking league season, and Heynckes can sign out next Saturday by completing the treble in the German Cup final before stepping down. "FC Bayern will have to prove that they can continue to achieve these things but it is quite possible ... that a new era might have begun under the aegis of Bayern Munich," Heynckes said through a translator. An era of dominance, perhaps, to match the Bayern team that won a hat trick of European Cups between 1974 and 1976. Success in the first all-German Champions League final came a year after the tearful defeat on home soil to Chelsea. On a night of redemption, Arjen Robben, who missed a penalty in extra time in last years game, pounced with the winner in the 89th minute in London. "You dont want the stamp of a loser," Robben said. And it was Heynckes who picked up Bayern from its lowest ebb last May. "We didnt resign ourselves to our fate," Heynckes said. "No, we upped the ante and tried even harder. You have seen the result." Although Bayerns players were overwhelmed for much of the first half, they imposed their authority on their tiring rivals after the break. After Ilkay Gundogans penalty kick cancelled out Mario Mandzukics opener on the hour for Bayern, the energy in Heynckes side proved decisive as Robben ensured the European Cup would be returning to Bavaria for the first time since 2001. "We have been changing things, improving things, adapting things," Heynckes said. "We have team spirit, an ability to work together, which I have never experienced in the championship before, because we have 22, 23 top-class professionals ... all of whom played their weight. "Not one of them fell by the wayside. When you have such high calibre players thats pretty incredible. Thats the hallmark of our success: the ability to work together -- the collective." Heynckes wont be part of it for much longer. He leaves under blurred circumstances, having distanced himself from the clubs claims that he planned to retire when Guardiolas services were secured in January for next season. But on Saturday, Heynckes said he had no regrets about handing over the reins, insisting that he had planned to stay just one more season after the Chelsea setback last May. Guardiola is ending a one-year sabbatical from football after turning Barcelona into the dominant team in Europe. Bayern shattered Barcelonas aura of invincibility, however, beating the Spanish team 7-0 on aggregate in the Champions League semifinals. And Heynckes sent out the message to Guardiola that everything at the club is primed for further success. "My successor will of course be able to take over a perfectly functioning team," Heynckes said. "We know Mario Goetze will be joining us and I dont think (striker Robert) Lewandowski will be hanging about too much either (at Dortmund)." Heynckes pointed to how the investment before the season in several players -- including defenders Dante and Javi Martinez, and striker Mario Mandzukic who all started tonight -- had paid off. "The players have been a bulls-eye success," Heynckes said. The 68-year-old German never mentioned his Spanish successor by name despite repeated questions referring to him after the final. But he was clear in outlining the challenge facing Guardiola at Bayern. "You have to lead a team, a group, and you have to be very sensitive, very tactful with very high-calibre footballers," Heynckes said. "Today with the environment, the media, the expectations, it is incredibly difficult." Saturdays win means Guardiolas first shot at a trophy with Bayern will be the UEFA SuperCup in August against Europa League winner Chelsea -- and a likely chance to renew his rivalry with Jose Mourinho. The outgoing Real Madrid coach is expected to return to Chelsea next month. But whats next for Heynckes? Former Bayern midfielder Michael Ballack thinks Heynckes still has much to offer in football -- and he will be in even greater demand after replicating his 1998 Champions League triumph with Real Madrid. "The Bundesliga is an option or Real Madrid, but it must be a special club otherwise it makes no sense," Ballack said at Wembley. Youth Kahlil McKenzie Jersey . 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With one ill-chosen word, Hope Solo turned a matter of soccer tactics into moral condemnation. With the help of U.S. Soccers opportunistic overreaction, a molehill became a mountain.Megan Rapinoe prefers to use the molehill that sports actually are to try to scale mountains.Competitive. Fierce. Humble. Badass.Those were the words Rapinoe chose while expressing disappointment with Solo in the aftermath of the veteran goalkeepers criticism of the Swedish team that eliminated Solo, Rapinoe and the rest of the U.S. womens national team from the Olympics. Rapinoes words were examples of what American players should be.Notably absent under the circumstances were other words that at one time might have been applied to the most popular team in womens sports: uncontroversial, inoffensive, bland.At the risk of putting words in the mouth of a player who is adept at speaking them herself, or even communicating silently through the act of kneeling during the national anthem, Rapinoe sounded disappointed not with the controversy surrounding Solo but the pointlessness of it.So after Rapinoe knelt Sunday during the anthem prior to a National Womens Soccer League game, she told espnWs Julie Foudy that the gesture of solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was born out of being disgusted with the way he has been treated and her desire for a more substantive conversation about race relations.It is debatable whether her gesture, as a one-time offering or if repeated, can accomplish that goal. We are in the midst of a national conversation, or shouting match, about the national anthem. Rapinoe undoubtedly extended the topic for at least another news cycle. That isnt necessarily the same thing as a conversation about the substance of any complaints.But if we truly hold to the idea that there is social value in younger generations, especially girls, watching Rapinoe pursue an athletic passion once reserved for men, then the same must be true of listening to her engage in what President Barack Obama days ago described as active citizenry.One cannot be true without the other. If all are to have opportunities, then all must have voices.Rapinoe noted this weeks ago when asked before an Olympic send-off game in Kansas City about the WNBA players who wore shirts in support of both Black Lives Matter and five police officers killed in a Dallas shooting; the players were fined by the WNBA as a result.Not everybody has to be an activist, but we have a pretty incredible platform being an athlete in this country, Rapinoe told Excelle Sports at the time. Sports is very valued and sort of glorified in this country, and if you want to have that voice, I absolutely think you should.And she does. She did long before any music started playing Sunday.As a college player at the University of Portland, soccer was all the larger world knew of her, if it knew of her at all. She was an inventive, sublimely skilled player with a staar-crossed history of injuries.dddddddddddd. At some point the world as she knew it intermingled with what the world knew of her.Soccer and social justice intersected. I think even before I came out [in 2012], Rapinoe said when asked about that evolution during the Olympics, I think you can sort of look at a big part of our fan base, and theres a lot of gay fans that we have. And so for me, I kind of always was aware of that. And then since coming out, I think its been even more, and something that I really embrace is that I can talk about it, talk to media about it, and sort of open up the conversation and not have it be such a taboo issue.She referenced an article she read that suggested the number of out gay athletes in the Olympics numbered only in the dozens among the thousands of athletes who competed.I think the more we can have these conversations and break down these walls and barriers and stereotypes, the more other athletes will feel comfortable coming out, hopefully.Her answer came in the context of one facet of her life, sexual orientation, but it is far from the only facet. She is among the national team players (as is Solo) who are pursuing an equal pay complaint against U.S. Soccer. When asked out of the blue one day during last years World Cup about the problems facing Metis youth in Manitoba, Canada, she didnt deflect the question with the standard response of being focused on soccer but instead admitted she knew the issue only a little -- and would like to know more. It is hardly a surprise that she felt moved to act now, too.The irony in all of this is that it seems entirely plausible that Rapinoe offended far more people who might show up to watch her play for the United States in its remaining games this fall than Solo did in calling the Swedish team a bunch of cowards for adopting a defensive game plan.Still, it is controversy with a point.A voice need not be loud to matter. And as with Solo, a loud voice does not always resonate.But controversy is never a reason to stay silent.As with any issue of free speech, plenty of people have turned during the Kaepernick saga to a quote often mistakenly attributed to the French philosopher Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.Some present it as a shield, others as an example of a naive nature. Yet one more debate without a resolution.But the image of Rapinoe kneeling before the start of a professional soccer game casts it in a different light. It was, after all, Evelyn Beatrice Hall who wrote those words, a woman who by the norms of the time in the early 20th century had to write under the pseudonym S.G. Tallentyre.It wasnt a womans place to have a voice on matters of consequence.Since thats no longer true, perhaps controversial conversations can bring about change. 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t123, 09.07.2018 05:27
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