Founded in 2004 by a group of childhood friends who grew up to play collegiate and professional soccer, DirectKix Soccer Productions aims to share their love of the game with a new generation. Youth soccer clinics cover not just technical lessons and game strategy but how to see soccer as a celebration of life. Grown-ups can also get in on the fun by signing up for the program's adult league, which sets teams against each other over a 10-week season, about the time it takes to forget all the rules of American football.
Though the Los Angeles Blues are firmly attached to California, they celebrated their inaugural season like any newlyweds would: they headed to the Caribbean. In the team's first official weekend of play, it earned back-to-back wins over Sevilla Puerto Rico and Antigua Barracuda on their home turfs. Winning became a theme for the Blues that season, as they surged to the playoffs in the nascent USL Pro League. Since those early triumphs, the Blues have expanded beyond play in the USL Pro, taking on teams from other leagues during the annual U.S. Open Cup, participating in international exhibitions, and constantly fending off squirrels trying to steal the game balls for their acorn hoards.
In 1999, Brandi Chastain made sports history. Not only did she kick the game-winning goal in a penalty shootout to help her team take home the FIFA Women's World Cup, but she also screamed one of the most epic victory screams ever recorded. It all went down at the Rose Bowl Stadium, which is no stranger to big moments in sports. From the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame who played in 1925 to the storied UCLA-USC rivalry to the annual New Year's Day bowl game, the football stadium has served as the stage for countless triumphs and upsets.
In January 2014, the Rose Bowl Stadium hosted both the Rose Bowl game and the BCS National Champioship. In light of this, it's as good a time as any to explore the stadium and uncover what makes it so special. The Rose Bowl Stadium Tour allows visitors to do just that. Led by experienced guides, the walking tour hits all of the stadium's key landmarks, from the field to the original 1922 locker room. Other stops include the Terry Donahue Pavilion, the press box, and the haunted catacombs beneath the visitors' end zone.
At Goals Soccer Centers, athletes of all ages try their hand—or rather foot—at the world’s most popular sport during league and open play. Eleven artificial-turf fields accommodate five-a-side teams for fast-paced outdoor games. Rebound walls enclose pitches, inviting players to bang balls off them for tricky passing, and netting keeps all spherical objects from flying out of bounds. In between matches, teammates refuel at the onsite restaurant or relax in a lounge equipped with TV and free WiFi. Complete with showers, tidy locker rooms also give footballers ample space to dress and clean up before and after contests.
James Deirmendjian had a decorated career as a brazilian jujitsu practitioner, winning martial-arts competitions and teaching submission grappling. He's parlayed that success into opening Fight Fit Training, where he helps clients get fit through boxing and kickboxing training, kettlebell workouts, and traditional lifting.
In 1991, professional Swiss soccer player Ruedi Graf began World Cup Soccer Camps & Clinics as a humble operation with two small camps. Today, his team of 90 coaches interacts with about 5,000 children a year along the West Coast from Portland to San Diego. Despite their expansion, the clinics strive to maintain a 10-to-1 player-to-coach ratio in order to provide kids with individually tailored instruction. Sessions are divided by age group and skill set—U6 Fussball Academy camps introduce 5–6 year-olds to the fundamentals, the Classic Skills camp polishes basic skills and soccer concepts for 7–9 year-olds, and the Advanced Player's camp focuses on a more accelerated level of play for 10–13 year-olds.