Spain ready to rock the house

By CHRIS ZIEMER

(Editor’s note: Chris Ziemer, Sonoma Academy athletic director and head girls soccer coach, is blogging for The Press Democrat at the World Cup in South Africa).

June 15, 2010

Durban, South Africa –

Spain has entered the building…

Spain will kick off their World Cup in Durban on June 16th.  It’s fitting as they deserve to play in the sunshine.  A few others countries, well, their defensive style deserved the rain.

Spain and Brazil dominate the answer anytime I ask South Africans who they think will win the World Cup.  Brazil probably more so than Spain, but I think that is because they like the Green & Gold of Brazil which matches the Green & Gold of the Bafana Bafana.

FC Barcelona well represented on Spanish team…

Spain will benefit from 8 players from Barca on their roster, including recently acquired David Villa.  They will bring that confidence and playing style which has mesmerized the world over the past two years.

I saw Barca take on Arsenal at the Emirates this spring and although the game ended in a 2-2 tie and Arsenal deserved credit for their commitment to quality, attacking soccer and never-say-die attitude, it was Barca who electrified the crowd with their precision passing, combination play and attacking pizzazz.  I hope the Real Madrid players don’t get in the way…sorry, couldn’t resist.

The second best health club in the World!

As I’m here for over a month, I joined a health club nearby my hotel to get some exercise.

It is called Virgin Active and is under Sir Richard Branson’s brands, so you can only imagine.

It’s on the 4th story and although I can’t see the Indian Ocean, there is a view from the windows of a surf simulator and a jumbotron TV playing all of the games.

Hundreds of TVs play either highlights or entire games.  It reminds me a lot of University of Sports, where I am a member, and which is my favorite club in the world.  University of Sports is located in beautiful Sonoma County, and it too has everything you need under one roof – from a soccer field to basketball courts (for anyone who enjoys the FIFA version of indoor soccer), and obviously all of the weight and cardio equipment you need.

My wife runs her popular Kinder Kickz soccer program

(www.kinderkickzsoccer.com) on their indoor field, where she is grooming the future World Cup stars as she works with young children (ages 18 months – 10 years.)

I wanted to give a shout out to all of the University of Sports members.  I hope you are enjoying the Cup!