Poe’s Perspective: LAFC is the future of Los Angeles’ soccer scene

first_imgIn the months following Vela’s signing, the club’s emphasis on Latino fans became clear. The official supporters’ group crafted chants in Spanish as well as English, borrowing concepts from Liga MX and the Premier League alike. The team’s events took place at staple sites in downtown L.A., at Randy’s Donuts and Pink’s Hot Dogs and dollar stores alike. The club even released a jersey for Steven Beitashour scripted in Farsi, the Iranian defender’s first language. You can learn everything you need to know about the Los Angeles Football Club within  five minutes of stepping foot in its stadium. It’s only been a year, but LAFC has already earned the right to say that it is the soccer club of Los Angeles. Sure, this team is the new kid on the block, but the tired nobility in Carson has been losing steam for ages, and the glitter of imported European stars will only keep the blood pumping for so much longer. As the Major League Soccer season approaches this weekend, the two teams will start the second leg of their fight for Los Angeles, and LAFC is poised to take the city. The MLS tried to recapture Latino fans in Los Angeles in the past with Chivas USA, an off-shoot of a Liga MX club, but that venture fell through. This time, however, LAFC made certain these fans weren’t missed. The club’s first signing was Carlos Vela, a Mexican national team star fondly referred to as “Carlito” by many Mexican fans. His acquisition was an incredible tactical move — he led the team in goals and assists last year despite missing a month of the season for the World Cup — and he also helped solidify Mexican fan support for the club. That momentum comes from the club’s mentality off the field, built off the motto that it was founded on — street by street, block by block, one by one. The club centered itself in this ideal before construction on its stadium began and, in the process, conquered the most important battle in winning dominance in the city — capturing Latino fans. The club’s outreach programs truly worked street by street to create a network of fans in the heart of Los Angeles. LAFC recognized everything that the Galaxy did wrong — it didn’t plant itself in a suburb rather than in the city and didn’t appeal to a white “family friendly” ideal rather than to the Latino community that dominates local soccer fandom. In the past year, I’ve seen enough of this club to know that it has legs. Something is different with LAFC. Its stadium has the hum of a championship team, the buzz of a storied club. The power that it holds among its fans is already greater and deeper than that held by the Galaxy, and if the club keeps winning, that momentum will only build. Banc of California Stadium is gleaming, especially when its facade catches the glow of a Los Angeles sunset. Yet it’s the energy within the bowl of the stadium that truly defines this club. Specifically, the north end of the stadium is a sheer wall of standing-room-only pandemonium. By kick-off, this section is filled with 3,252 fans with painted faces and flags that won’t stop waving until long after the final whistle. To watch an LAFC game is to experience a cacophony of black and gold. I’ve covered LAFC since its stadium was just a skeleton, since its roster consisted of three players. I was drenched in beer in the supporters section when Laurent Ciman scored the first-ever goal on the team’s home turf. I’ve seen fans outlast an hours-long rain delay, roaring chants and beating drums even when the thunder drowned them out. Julia Poe is a senior writing about her personal connection to sports. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs weekly on Thursdays. It’s hard to say what will happen if LAFC doesn’t keep winning, but one thing is for sure — this team hasn’t been around for long, but it’s certainly here to stay. The result has been a beautiful fan experience completely molded by a fanbase as colorful and vibrantly unique as Los Angeles itself. Fans wave the Korean, Vietnamese, Uruguayan and Mexican flags alongside the LAFC flags in the stands during games, and chants are sung in a mix of Spanish and English, with other fans quickly picking up the new language. LAFC is a celebration of this city’s rich history, its overlapping cultures and a common thread that brings them together — the game of soccer.  In truth, LAFC and the L.A. Galaxy didn’t finish last season that far apart. The Galaxy ended the season just below the red line, missing the playoffs, but there were only three games of difference between the two teams. Yet week in and week out, it felt as if LAFC had much more to work with, mainly because the club’s fans were so desperately, unyieldingly loud in their support.last_img read more

Gredić is the new president of FK ”Željezničar”

first_imgAt last night’s electoral Assembly of the football club ”Željezničar”, Amir Gredić was unanimously elected as president of this club.The thirty- year old Gredić is the youngest president in the history of this club. He played four matches for our national team, but the most part of his carrier he played in FK ”Željezničar”. By the 15th January, Gredić has to propose new members of the board. The duties of the president of the Assembly of FK ”Željezničar” will be the responsibility of Bakir Dautbašić.They have also accepted the financial and working report and stated that in 2012, the club had an income of roughly three million BAM.last_img read more

Liberia Receives Additional Funding to Boost Agriculture Activities

first_imgFinance Minister Tweah signs the financing agreement as IFAD Country Manager, Jakob Tuborgh, looks on.The government, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), has attracted development finance in an amount of US$32 million from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) to support the Tree Crops Extension Project (TCEP) and Smallholder Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture.The amount, according to the document, will increase agricultural productivity and commercialization on the part of smallholder farmers in the vegetable, rice and oil palm value chains in Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Nimba and Sinoe counties under the STAR-P.This amount is in addition to a US$$25 million loan agreement previously signed between the government and the World Bank.With the IFAD funding, direct beneficiaries are approximately 38,000 smallholder farmers of whom at least 30 percent will be women and young farmers.Intermediate beneficiaries will include agribusinesses and business development services enterprises that have business links to smallholder farmers in the targeted value chains.The remaining US$9 million, which is in addition to US$17.5 million received, originally from IFAD, will support the rehabilitation of rural roads in the Tree Crop Extension Project (TCEP) area in Nimba County.The TCEP is intended to improve the incomes and address climate change challenges of smallholder cocoa producers in Nimba County targeting 11,000 stakeholders of the cocoa value chain including 8,000 cocoa smallholder members of the Kuu groups and farmer field school (FFS), approximately 2,400 additional farmers will benefit from the rehabilitation of roads, input supply and market linkages; and 600 people through job creation along the value chain.The additional financing is composed of a 27 percent grant and a 73 percent highly concessional loan.MFDP Samuel Tweah signed on behalf of the Liberian government while it’s Country Manager for Liberia, Mr. Jakob Tuborgh represented IFAD.Minister Tweah  (far right), along with World Bank Liberia Country Manager Khwima Nthara, IFAD Country manager Jakob Tuborgh and legislative officials at the signing of the STAR-P financing agreement.Speaking during the program at the MFDP on Thursday, November 21, 2019, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mr. Ernest Clarke thanked IFAD for the initiative he said the initiative would help in building the capacity of farmers and boost economic growth in the nine counties. Deputy Minister Clarke assured that the Ministry of Agriculture is committed to the projects and will ensure that the goals are achieved.The Country Manager of IFAD, Mr. Jakob Tuborgh described the signing ceremony as a critical juncture in boosting the agriculture sector with the projects that are starting up, adding: “I think we have managed to respond to the request of the government to set-up a partnership to have a larger project and work in synergy to really see impact in these projects.”Mr. Tuborgh noted that his organization’s expectation in the cocoa project is high as there are prospects in the sector over the next ten years for producers and the country.He disclosed that IFAD’s investment in the cocoa sector in Liberia is intended to lead to increased production of approximately 10,000 metric tons as compared to current production levels in the project area, which will have a value of approximately US$25 million on an annual basis subject to price variations.Speaking about the STAR-P project, the IFAD Boss indicated that the project would increase production in the value chains in rice, oil palm, and horticulture with a strong private sector link, which is expected to address many of the constraints ranging from boosting production to enhanced regulatory frameworks as well as bridging the gap between smallholder farmers and large concessions.The World Bank Liberia Country Manager, Khwima Nthara said the event was timely as the Bank was responding to calls from the Liberian government to do more in the agriculture sector.He disclosed that this is one of the largest support packages in the sector, which is intended to scale up the gaps, and the Bank looks forward to its implementation.Responding on behalf of the Liberian government, Minister Tweah commended the World Bank and IFAD for the additional support to the agriculture sector.Tweah said the government has agreed to take a system sector-wide approach to agriculture instead of a project approach, which will provide a broader scope, which will solve the constraints in the value chain.He said the Smallholder Agriculture model is a mechanism that is widely used around the world and the STAR-P is strategic in this sector.Tweah noted that with the necessary support provided by smallholder farmers, food production would increase.Commenting on the provision of loans to farmers from the banks, Minister Tweah indicated that the banks could make huge investments in the agriculture sector but unfortunately, that is not the case.He explained that the banks have said that it is risky to loan money to farmers because the government has not organized the financing flow.According to him, this is posing a serious challenge to the sector, as the process of accessing funds from the bank is complicated.He disclosed that the government has allotted US$1.7 million in the current budget, part of which is to deal with the risk of lending in the sector.Tweah reiterated appeals for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank to assist the government to de-risk lending to the agriculture sector so that the banks will see agriculture as a place to make returns.The coordinators of the TCEP and STAR-P programs along with three lawmakers witnessed the program from Nimba County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more