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Major League Soccer Celebrate the 2020 season

Audi of America and Major League Soccer today unveiled a national television commercial to officially kick off the return of the League’s milestone 25th season and the second season of “Audi Goals Drive Progress,” a league-wide, multi-year initiative to elevate the game of soccer in North America by supporting MLS club academies create bespoke programs to help top youth prospects overcome access challenges.

The Audi-produced commercial tells an evolution story of an MLS player’s career and the invaluable impact of the “Audi Goals Drive Progress” program. From the youthful joy of the first practice to the determination needed to make it to the professional pitch, the spot highlights the authentic experiences of MLS Academy homegrown players who work tirelessly on- and off-field to achieve elite levels of competition.

“Audi is proud to continue our commitment to helping the next generation of young players access the tools needed to become more competitive for tomorrow as they aspire to join the ranks of MLS,” said Loren Angelo, vice president of marketing, Audi of America. “We’re also excited to kick-off the second season of ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ by giving fans a unique glimpse into the daily lives of these talented young athletes through this latest TV spot.”

Shot on location at Washington, D.C.’s Audi Field— home of D.C. United—the spot features four rising stars from D.C. United’s U-12 and U-18 Academy teams. Debuting in both English and Spanish during the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 8 in Orlando, the commercial will run on MLS partner networks (ESPN, FOX Sports, Univision, TSN, and TVA Sports), on regional sports networks, and across international broadcast partner platforms, as well as on the League’s own digital channels.

“Audi’s steadfast commitment to helping us develop our young athletes both on and off the pitch has played a pivotal role in the direction of our club and the development of our sport across the country,” said Dave Kasper, general manager of D.C. United. “The opportunity to tell this story together with youth players from our academy at Audi Field, a place they hope to compete for our first team in the future, has been a tremendous and inspiring experience and we’re excited for the program’s continued evolution.”

Audi and MLS’ national television spot was a collaborative effort between Audi’s in-house creative team KreativWerk and the League.


Photo Credit: Pasko Maksim / Shutterstock.com

NASCAR Partners Up for #BackTheBlue

Kentucky Speedway — NASCAR driver Angela Ruch and The Wounded Blue, America’s only national organization dedicated to assisting officers injured in the line of duty, announced today they will partner on a #BackTheBlue themed car for this weekend’s NASCAR Gander Outdoor truck series race at the Kentucky Speedway.

The NASCAR vehicle will feature The Wounded Blue’s logo and motto “Never Alone, Never Forgotten,” as well as the popular “Thin Blue Line” American flag, #BackTheBlue Social media hashtag, and a message on the rear bumper to Support the Police.

Ruch is one of the top female drivers in NASCAR’s truck racing division — one of three divisions within NASCAR. She and her husband, stars of the Facebook Watch reality TV show “The Ruch Life” came up with the idea as a way to support frontline law enforcement officers.

“Everywhere you turn today, good, hardworking police officers are under attack,” said driver Angela Ruch. “We want to show law enforcement officers that we’ve got their backs.”

“We appreciate the support of Angela and her ability to use her large platform for good, to aid officers who have been injured in the line of duty,” said Lt. Randy Sutton, founder of The Wounded Blue. “We’re grateful for her leadership and courage in wearing her heart on her sleeve in a way that will help thousands of wounded men and women.”

Thousands of frontline officers are injured every year during routine traffic stops and in their daily duties. Their injuries including being shot, stabbed, beaten, hit by cars, exposed to COVID-19, and more.


Photo Credit: DANIEL HUERLIMANN-Beelde / Shutterstock.com

Athlete Archive: Tom Brady

Tom Brady is an American football quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. He spent the first 20 seasons of his career with the New England Patriots, playing in nine Super Bowls and winning six of them (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, and LIII), both of which are the most of any player in NFL history. He has won a record four Super Bowl MVP awards (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, and LI) as well as three NFL MVP awards (2007, 2010, 2017). Because of his numerous records and accolades, many sports writers, commentators, and players consider Brady to be the greatest quarterback of all time.

After playing college football for the University of Michigan, Brady was drafted 199th overall by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Due to his late selection, Brady is considered the biggest “steal” in the history of the NFL Draft. He went on to become the team’s starting quarterback in his second season after an injury to Drew Bledsoe and played for the Patriots for 20 seasons, the NFL record for seasons as quarterback for one team. Following the 2019 season, Brady left New England and signed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers.

Brady is one of only two quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl in their first season as a starter. He is also the only quarterback to reach 200 regular-season wins, Brady has never had a losing season as a starting quarterback. He has led his team to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history. With a postseason record of 30–11, he is first all-time in playoff wins and appearances for an NFL player, including an NFL-record eight consecutive AFC championship games between 2011 and 2018 (and 13 overall). Brady has also been selected to 14 Pro Bowls, which ties the NFL record for most selections. For regular season and postseason combined, Brady is first all-time in career passing yards and touchdown passes. He is one of only two players in NFL history to amass 70,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.

Brady is second all-time in career regular season passing yards, second in career touchdown passes, and tied for fifth in career passer rating. He is first in postseason career completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns, and is fifteenth in postseason career passer rating. He also tied the record for the longest touchdown pass at 99 yards to Wes Welker. He is the only quarterback in NFL history named to two all-decade teams, having been named first-team for both the 2000 and 2010 squads (the latter of which he was selected to unanimously). He was one of only 10 quarterbacks selected to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time team (and one of only four players active at the time they were selected), encompassing the entire 100-year history of the league at the time.

For his alleged involvement in the Deflategate football-tampering scandal, Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. Brady and the Patriots won two of the next three Super Bowls, making him the record holder for most Super Bowl wins by a player, and the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, at 41.


Photo Credit: American Spirit / Shutterstock.com

Nico Young Named 2019-20 National Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year

In its 35th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Nico Young of Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park, Calif. is the 2019-20 Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Young won the prestigious award for his accomplishments on and off the field, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year winners who have combined for 22 gold medals and 12 National Championships.

Young was also named the 2019-20 Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year in February, which means he is making history as the second student-athlete to ever win two Gatorade National Player of the Year awards in the same year in the program’s 35-year history.

Young was surprised with the trophy by his family, coaches and teammates after practice.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Young as the nation’s best high school boys track and field athlete. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Young from more than 600,000 other student-athletes who compete in boys track and field nationwide.

Competition for the national award was fierce. Young topped the list of 51 state winners in boys track and field who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including eight with All-American honors, 37 who volunteer at two or more organizations and 18 with GPAs of 3.8 or higher.

Young is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced in July.

“In a way, Nico Young is still the best-kept secret in the nation as a runner,” says Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack. “That might sound odd given that he’s the reigning national cross country champion, ranks No. 1 in prep history in the indoor 3000, No. 4 all-time in the outdoor 5000 and No. 8 in the 3200, but there’s some truth to it. In cross country, against what was arguably the deepest prep field ever assembled at nationals, he dropped the pack with ease and won by 14 seconds. Indoors, he lopped three seconds off the 3000 standard set by former Gatorade national winner Drew Hunter—names further down that list include a bevy prep distance gods, including Gatorade national winner Alan Webb, who still owns the prep record in the mile (3:53.43, 2001). Young’s PR of 13:50.55 in the outdoor 5000 earlier this month confirms that although he was clearly the best talent in the 2019 cross country season, his better sport is track and field.”

The 5-foot-11, 135-pound senior raced to a time of 13:50.55 in the 5000-meter run this spring, which shattered the 34-year-old state record by 11 seconds and ranked as the nation’s No. 4 clocking in history among prep competitors. The 2019-20 Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, Young also set a national record of 7:56.97 in the 3000 in his only race of the 2020 indoor track season. Winner of the Nike Cross Nationals Final in December, he also won a 2019 outdoor track state championship in the 3200.

Young has volunteered for the past three summers as part of the Team Leadership program at Camp Many Mansions, a seven-week residential enrichment opportunity for youth from under-resourced communities. “Nico has proven to our team at Newbury Park that if you set your standards high and work hard, anything is possible,” said Newbury Park coach Sean Brosnan. “He continued to train hard after winning Nike Cross Nationals in order to go after the High School 3000-meter indoor track record. Then he flew out to New York and accomplished his goal.”


Photo Credit: USA Track & Field

Former NFL Players Needed for Latest Study

The National Football League isn’t in action but one of its players managed to make news over a comment he reportedly made to a teammate during the 2018 training season.

“If I can even remember my grandchildren’s names, then I didn’t play the game right,” Washington Redskins hard hitting linebacker Ryan Anderson told his former Redskins teammate Garrett Hudson. Coming at a time when head injuries in football and other sports have become a growing concern, Anderson’s reported comment raised more than a few eyebrows including with the NFL, the Brain Injury Association of America and at the Center for Neurological Studies (CNS).

CNS, a Michigan-based not-for-profit brain injury research organization, is currently conducting a groundbreaking research study involving diagnosis and treatment of growth hormone deficiency caused by trauma to the pituitary gland which often goes unrecognized in head injured patients including football players who experience multiple concussive and subconcussive brain injuries.

“There is a consensus in the medical community that, as the result of repetitive head injuries, many former contact athletes are at risk for cognitive and emotional impairment caused by deficiency in one or more pituitary hormones that can greatly reduce a person’s quality of life,” says Randall Benson, MD, Medical Director and Co-Founder of CNS, and the lead investigator of the study. “We’re encouraged by our findings in brain injured patients in the last several years and are now actively recruiting former NFL players for a dedicated study of this high risk group.”

CNS’ preliminary study of 15 former athletes showed 14 had growth hormone deficiency. Eleven of those 14 showed a marked reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life after hormone replacement protocols were implemented. Former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple was one of those 14 and is now a spokesman for CNS. “CNS has a unique technological approach to understanding the brain that has helped a number of former athletes, including me, to get their lives back in order,” says Hipple.

CNS has pioneered the use of diffusion tensor and susceptibility-weighted MRI in brain trauma to accurately diagnose brain injury, enabling a more precise understanding of each person’s unique issues. Together with testing of pituitary hormones, CNS has been able to maximize treatment to improve the lives of people with a wide range of brain injuries.

“We’re especially excited about this new study, not just for the athletes involved, but because results can apply well beyond athletes and ultimately help thousands of others who suffer Traumatic Brain Injuries annually in non-sport related accidents,” says John Russell, CNS Co-Founder and CEO. “This study could be an incredibly important breakthrough for anybody suffering the potentially devastating effects of brain injury. We can help change their lives.”


Photo Credit: dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com

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