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Niall Horan says he has a “type” of girl he’s attracted to.

The 23-year-old singer – who is currently single – has admitted he likes the women he dates to have “dark” features, but insists he’s not looking for love and is content being single for the rest of his 20s so he can savor his youth.

He said: “I think I got a type, anyway. Dark hair, dark eyes. Someone I can see as a friend. At the moment, I’m enjoying being 23. I only get one go at me 20s. I’d like to give it me best go. I’m happy to go home alone on a Saturday night, drink and watch football.”

The ‘This Town’ hitmaker was previously romantically linked to pop megastar Selena Gomez, 24, and has praised her for bravely opening up about her battle with lupus.

The ‘Hands To Myself’ singer recently returned to the spotlight after she took some time away for a few months when she suffered from “anxiety, panic attacks and depression” brought on by the autoimmune disease.

Niall said: “Selena is the ­perfect role model for young girls. It takes balls to go in front of the world and share your problems.”

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Ervin Santana’s had a fantastic start to his season for the Twins, but today he had to face a Boston lineup that’s getting hot, and their hottest hitter got to him.

After a Dustin Pedroia home run in the first, his second of the year, the rookie Andrew Benintendi came up to the plate with a man on.

That’s when this happened.

​​That pitch was utterly demolished, giving the Sox an early 3-0 lead.

It was Benintendi’s fifth home run of the season. In a season where the Red Sox offense has been streaky so far, Benintendi has shined.

​​He’s already batting in the cleanup slot and if he keeps hitting like this he won’t be moving any time soon.

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LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 25:  Ian Happ (R) #86 of the Chicago Cubs high-fives teammates including Taylor Davis #82 after Happ hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during their exhibition game at Cashman Field on March 25, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cubs won 11-7.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

​Let the home runs commence!

The Chicago Cubs are off to a much slower start to the season than we expected, as the team currently sits at 16-14 on the year. Fortunately, they have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and can add some extra talent whenever they please to add a spark.

Speaking of deep farm systems, one of the Cubs top prospects is finally making his return to the field, as infielder Ian Happ has been activated from the DL.

The slugger has looked solid so far this season in his first year up in Triple-A, as he’s hitting .250 with eight homers and 21 doubles to go along with it.

Happ found himself on the DL with a bruised thumb that he suffered earlier last week. ​​

​​If he keeps slashing his way through opposing lineups, perhaps we could see Happ make an appearance in the Majors this season.

 

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21:  Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets reacts after striking out in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on April 21, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

​Sounds like we finally have our answer.

Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey was ​suspended three games without pay by his team earlier today, with no reason behind the decision explained by the team.

This led to a ridiculous amount of speculation as to what may have sparked the team to make such a harsh decision, and former Mets All-Star Paul Lo Duca gave us just ​a bit of a hint as to what may have caused the whole situation.

​​It told us what ​DIDN’T lead to Harvey getting suspended, but it didn’t really explain the situation much further than that, and left plenty of questions unanswered.

Fortunately, Duca jumped back on social media and gave us a little more insight as to what’s going on in Flushing.

​​Well, it certainly sounds like Harvey went AWOL from his team, not letting anyone know where he was or sending a text explaining the situation. He just pulled a Derrick Rose, and disappeared from the team.

Unfortunately, we have no idea what may have caused Harvey to skip a team function (especially if it was a game), and the offense becomes even more serious if he skipped yesterday, just hours before he was scheduled to start in the next game.

Of course, this is speculation, but whatever’s going on in New York, it is NOT good.

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That one ain’t coming back.  The St. Louis Cardinals are looking for the clean sweep against the Atlanta Braves in their Sunday afternoon matchup with the rebuilding NL East squad. The team is wasting no time getting to the point in this one.  With two outs in the first, Matt Carpenter got the scoring started by launching this massive bomb to right-center field, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead. ​ An early lead for the @Cardinals as Matt Carpenter goes DEEP.
More #STLCards action now on FSMW

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​Sounds like we finally have our answer. ​ Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey was suspended three games without pay by his team earlier today, with no reason behind the decision explained by the team.  Former Mets star Paul Lo Duca gave us all a ​little insight as to why Harvey was suspended earlier, but now we have full confirmation as to what caused the Mets to send their star pitcher home and cancel his start.
Sources: Harvey did not show at ballpark yesterday. — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal)…

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2004 saw the demise of Australia’s National Soccer League, which existed in various forms from 1977 as the top level of the game in the country. It made way for a new national competition, which commenced in 2005 – the A-League – consisting of eight foundation clubs.

One of those clubs was to be located in Melbourne, a city with the most competitive sports market in Australia. Naturally, the governing body were concerned about the viability of a new Melbourne team. But the establishment of Melbourne Victory would become one of the A-League’s biggest success stories.

Starting a professional football club from scratch in the modern sports environment is no easy task. But the concept for the Victory actually arose in the late 1990s. In the aftermath of Australia’s failure to qualify for France 98’, Tony Ising knew that for the local game to mature, changes had to be made.

We had to stop putting all of our eggs in the World Cup basket. Every four years we’d try and make the World Cup and think that Australian soccer’s gonna flourish off the back of it.

Prior to 2006, Australia hadn’t qualified for a World Cup since 1974. Despite producing many quality players, the NSL was a semi-professional league which to led much of the best talent eventually moving overseas. This was just one of the reasons why the NSL never achieved mainstream status. The A-League’s intention was to change that.

But back in 1997, Tony was already thinking ahead of the game – perhaps too far ahead. He sat on the idea for nearly seven years. When the NSL ended in 2004 and the A-League was introduced as its successor, Tony’s model for a mainstream club turned out to be the perfect fit for a new era of Australian football.

Through a mutual friend, he was introduced to Alen Rados who had previously been a director with former NSL club, Melbourne Knights. The pair teamed up to bring the Melbourne Victory vision to life and set about finding investors.

Initially, they did get a lot of rejections but Alen wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. One of the first people to show genuine interest was Glenn Wheatley, a well known talent manager and executive in the music industry. He loved the idea and wanted to be the clubs first Chairman, but he couldn’t bring the money to the table.

Tony and Alen then turned to Geoff Lord, a successful Melbourne businessman with experience in the sports industry. He took some convincing but eventually agreed to take on the project and got a team of investors together to help fund the A-League’s license fee and the money required to compete in the new national competition. After years of sitting on the idea, all of a sudden Tony’s concept was finally coming to fruition. They now had less than twelve months to get everything in place, in time for the very first match in August 2005.

Melbourne Victory’s first full time employee was Gary Cole who was appointed Football Operations Manager. He was tasked with building the football department which began with hiring a Head Coach. Following a formal interview process, Ernie Merrick was given the top job.

The clubs philosophy was all about local players and youth development. They would have the youngest squad in their inaugural season but they also brought back experienced Victorian players like Kevin Muscat, Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson.

This fit with Tony’s brand strategy which was all about one club for the entire city of Melbourne and the state of Victoria. It inspired the club’s name and the traditional colours of navy blue and white. From the very beginning, it gave the club a clear direction and an identity people could connect with. Geoff Lord was also adamant that the Victory was to be Melbourne’s club, the people’s club.

That philosophy would be put to the test in their first ever home game against Perth Glory at Melbourne’s Olympic Park. The response from the public went beyond their expectations and the match sold out on the day. Six weeks later, their much anticipated home game versus Sydney sold out 24 hours in advance with over 18,000 people witnessing a 5-0 win for the Victory.

In the end, Melbourne Victory’s debut season didn’t quite go to plan, finishing second bottom in the league. But the club stuck by their strategy and Ernie Merrick for the following season, to be crowned Champions. When it comes to silverware, the club have since gone on to become one the A-League’s most successful. But above all, the way Melbourne Victory has connected with the fans is perhaps its greatest achievement.

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In 1921, with the popularity of football growing rapidly throughout Europe, Englishman, Harold Searles Thornton wanted to create a game that replicated football that people could play in their homes.

Inspiration struck with a box of matches. The matches were lying parallel across the top of the box, extending past the edges. This idea was developed into a tabletop game that plays very similar to its real life counterpart. He called it ‘Foosball’ – taken from the German pronunciation of football.

Despite Thornton’s invention, the exact history is somewhat contentious as similar tabletop games were reported as early as the 1890s. But the earliest known patent belongs to Harold himself, submitted on October 14, 1921 and accepted on November 1st, 1923.

Foosball was later patented in the United States in 1927 by Harold’s uncle and US resident, Louis P. Thornton. Louis became fond of the game while visiting his nephew in the UK and took the concept back to North America. Although originally intended as a fun activity to be played in the home, it was competitive foosball in European bars and cafes that really saw the game rise in popularity around the 1950s.

But it wasn’t until the 60s and 70s that it began to take off in the US. Suddenly, tables could be found in pool halls and pubs throughout the United States and competitions with big prize money were very common.

Whether you call it table football, table soccer or foosball, these days it’s popular all over the world, not just as a pub game, but in many countries a recognised sport. There’s even a world governing body, the International Table Soccer Federation or ITSF, established in France in 2002. There are national and local federations too, representing over 65 countries. National and regional tournaments are held regularly and there’s even a Table Soccer World Cup.

Many people are introduced to the game of foosball from a young age, which quite often involves the relentless spinning of the rods in an attempt to score. But when it comes to actual competition, things are a little more subtle.

The ITSF implemented a set of universal rules which results in a slower, more tactical game where passing and possession is very important. And just like football, different countries and cultures have their own playing styles and traditions. There’s also several types of tables that affect gameplay and your tactical approach.

A game inspired by football has taken on many of the values and traits that make football itself so appealing. It promotes community, diversity and it’s open to anyone.

 

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In 1975 the NASL (North American Soccer League) was in the process of expanding, following recent success with new teams on the West Coast. A businessman named Don Paul was keen to establish a club in Portland, Oregon having seen the success of Seattle Sounders who were introduced the year before.

Paul formed a corporation called Oregon Soccer Inc with the aim of attracting local investors. At the time it wasn’t uncommon for new franchises to fall apart early into their existence, but having multiple shareholders was a way to ease the financial burden on the club and build stronger foundations.

After recruiting about 20-30 local businessmen, including car dealers, insurance brokers and lawyers, Oregon Soccer Inc had enough funding to meet the NASL’s minimum threshold. The league itself was also convinced that a Portland team could work. With only one professional basketball team in the city, there was a space during the summer months where soccer could take the spotlight.

With just four months between the establishment of the franchise and the start of the season, the ownership group still had a lot of work ahead of them, including deciding on a name for the club. A contest was run in the local newspaper asking for suggestions and the number one name that was voted on by the public was ‘The Pioneers’. But a local college team had already claimed the nickname.

That led the organisation to the second most popular choice, ‘The Timbers’, coined by Dennis O’Meara, a young public relations director who had been hired by the team. He had submitted a bunch of votes in the contest, filling out ballots in the names of all of his family members. With the timber and logging industry playing a significant role in Oregon’s history, the name made sense. The owners chose the colours of Green and Gold, and thePortland Timbers were born.

Once the club’s identity was decided, work began to build a squad. The Timbers hired Welshman and former Aston Villa manager, Vic Crowe as the Head Coach who brought several young players with him from England to the United States. The team was pieced together in just a few weeks with most of the players arriving days before the first match. Their first opponent? Seattle Sounders.

The Timbers lost that first game in the pouring rain, in front of 6,000 fans. But Crowe was the sort of manager who was very strict and drilled his players, pushing them for results. His strategy worked. Following two losses to start the season, the Timbers turned things around and began to build momentum, including defeating Pele’s Cosmos 2-1, in New York and a seven-game winning streak. The people of Portland responded and attendances grew progressively with each home game.

The Timbers form saw them make a run for the playoffs which included facing Seattle three times in sixteen days. That third meeting, and fourth overall for the season, came in the Quarter Final. Portland won the game 2-1 with a dramatic finish in extra time in front of 30,000 fans at Civic Stadium.

They went on to defeat St. Louis 1-0 in the Semi Final five days later, only to lose 2-0 to Tampa Bay Rowdies in the 1975 Soccer Bowl. Despite the disappointment of the Final, the Timbers had earned something far more valuable – the respect and deep affection of the Portland community.

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Dan Gribbon is a huge Arsenal fan and has been from a young age. He was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia but comes from a family of European migrants where supporting Arsenal was something passed on through generations. Having grown up following the club from the other side of the world, for Dan and his childhood friend, Andy, it was always a dream to one day see a game in person.

In February, 2004 Arsenal announced they had finally secured the funds to build a new stadium at Ashburton Grove and the 2005/06 season would be their last at Highbury. Dan knew he had to get there before the historic stadium was gone forever.

Ambitiously, or perhaps naively at 19 and 20 years old, the guys weren’t content with just any fixture. Their hearts were set on attending the last North London derby at Arsenal Stadium on April 22 and the final game against Wigan on May 7, 2006. But securing tickets for such important matches wouldn’t be easy.

These days there are all sorts of ticket exchange services for football fans, but in 2006 they weren’t as common. However, Dan did manage to find one website selling tickets to these very fixtures – the legitimacy of which was certainly in question – but they wouldn’t come cheap. Desperate to live out their childhood dreams, the guys were willing to take the risk, paying the full amount up front. Around $700 AUD for the derby against Tottenham and over $1000 AUD for the Wigan game.

Dan and Andy departed Australia for the UK, still unsure if their purchase would be honoured, as the information provided by the website was vague. Several emails returned little results and the day of the derby was fast approaching. Twenty-four hours before kickoff, Dan found a phone number and they were informed that they needed to pick up their tickets from a particular address in East London.

Arriving at the location, they discovered it was a dry cleaners. Uncertain at what this could mean, they proceeded inside where they were greeted by a woman. Initially she didn’t understand why they were there, but once they mentioned football tickets she sprang into action. The woman got on the phone, spoke to someone named John, before hanging up and telling the guys to head upstairs where John would be waiting for them.

Dan likens this experience to an English gangster film. Indeed, John was waiting for them with a couple of burly men standing arms crossed either side of him. He welcomed them in, asked for their names and pulled out a thick envelope full of football tickets, before producing a pair for the North London derby. Given the uneasy situation, Dan decided not to ask about the Wigan match and they left feeling relieved, knowing they were finally going to a game at Highbury.

While in London, the guys were staying at a friends place and when a pair of season tickets arrived in the mail they couldn’t believe their luck. They were about to be a part of Arsenal history.

Match day arrived and for Arsenal, the special occasion had an extra layer of importance. They were still competing with Tottenham for Champions League qualification. This only added to the sense of anticipation and nervousness for Dan and Andy. Getting into the ground with someone else’s season ticket could pose a potential problem.

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The guys downed a couple of pints before walking to the ground, still unsure if they would actually be granted entry. But surprisingly, passing through the old turnstiles was a breeze. They showed their tickets and before they knew it, they were in.

They found their seats in the lower side of the East Stand, right near the Clock End, surrounded by supporters who had probably been attending their whole lives. And here were two kids from Australia witnessing just their second Arsenal match ever in the span of a couple of weeks.

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But the importance of the occasion was not lost on Dan and Andy. Arsenal too were ready to see Highbury off in style. A 4-2 victory, including a Thierry Henry hat trick made sure that May 7, 2006 would go down in history.

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