August 21st, 2009

my #1 catalan esposo
  • c0rrine

ONTD Football Exclusive with Xavi Torres !!

Here it is, ONTD Football's first Q&A with Spanish midfielder Xavi Torres! These two names might already ring a bell in the football world but this fellow is just breaking into the scene. The 22 year-old spent several years as the captain of Barcelona's B squad, a system famous for developing talents such as Lionel Messi, Pepe Reina, Cesc Fabregas, and Pep Guardiola. Now he has a new challenge at Malaga CF, where he'll be given a starting role in the Primera Division for the first time in his career. But there's only so much you can learn about a player by looking him up on Wikipedia, so we've asked him some questions of our own! Enjoy, and try not to pee yourself in excitement.

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Arlington soccer player's dream comes true

Firaol Tamire is a young soccer player with the Arlington Soccer Association’s Revolutionaries neighborhood soccer club and ASA’s travel soccer program. Firaol’s soccer idol has been Cristiano Ronaldo, the current World Soccer Player of the Year who plays striker for the Real Madrid. Firaol was at the D.C. United vs Real Madrid game, August 9, to see Ronaldo play. Little did Firaol know how close he would get to Ronaldo.

For several years, the Arlington Soccer Association (ASA) has bid on ticket packages that allow 22 ASA players to escort the teams onto the pitch at the premier DC United soccer events. Proceeds from the escort packages go to United for DC, D.C. United's charitable program that benefits under-privileged children.

ASA Board member Robert Waffle explained, "ASA buys the 22 escort slots and sells them at cost to ASA families. The slots always sell out in a few hours.”

Arlington bids won in 2007 and 2008, so that Arlington players escorted D.C. United and the LA Galaxy with David Beckham. This year, Arlington players escorted D.C. United and international soccer powerhouse Real Madrid at FedEx Field. Firaol Tamire’s family was one of the first to call to buy an escort slot.

More than 72,000 soccer fans from all over the country were at FedEx Field for the D.C. United vs. Real Madrid game. As the 22 Arlington players gathered to escort the 22 starting players, Waffle explained that escort assignments were random.

Waffle later said, "I knew that Cristiano Ronaldo was the favorite of many of the Arlington players, but the odds were 22-1 against that pairing.” Somehow Firaol was in the right spot at the right time and paired up with superstar Ronaldo. Firaol was overcome with emotion and tears of happiness streamed down his face. Ronaldo and other Real Madrid and D.C. United players and the other ASA player escorts were struck by the moment and offered comfort. There were embraces, a bond was formed and a promise made. The young Arlington players then escorted the professional players into the packed FedEx Field.

At the final whistle, the traditional swapping of jerseys took place amongst the D.C. United and Real Madrid players, with one exception. Ronaldo made his way through throngs of photographers and fans to the designated meeting point where Firaol, who had to talk his way back through security checkpoints, awaited. Firaol told Waffle, "Cristiano Ronaldo found me, gave me a hug and then gave me his game jersey. That was the most exciting day of my life. I am so happy that I had this opportunity and I will never forget it as long as I live."