David Villa & Investment Group to Launch Queensboro FC as a United Soccer League Franchise

David Villais bringing futbolto Queens… 

An investment group including the 37-year-old Spanish professional footballer and former World Cup champion has been granted a United Soccer League( USL) franchise in New York City.

David Villa

Queensboro FC will begin play in 2021 in the USL Championship, the second division of professional soccer in the United States. It will host its home matches in a new, modular stadium at York Collegein Queens that will have a capacity of around 7,500. The new team will also play select home matches at Citi Field, home of MLB‘s New York Mets.

“Bringing professional football to Queens’ diverse community is an exciting and unique opportunity,” Villa said in a statement to ESPN. “The beautiful game already lives here, thanks to the melting pot of cultures who are so passionate about the sport. I can’t think of a better place for QBFC to grow. I’m proud to be part of this project.”

Rumors that the USL was planning to place a team in New York City, as well as Villa’s involvement, emerged last summer. Now those plans have come to fruition for the former New York City FCforward and 2016 MLS MVP.

Villa, who counts Sporting GijonReal ZaragozaValenciaBarcelonaand Atletico Madridamong the clubs he’s played for, spent the 2019 campaign in Japan with J1 Leagueside Vissel Kobe.

“I’m proud to say I’ve had a long-running connection to Queens,” said Villa. “I lived here for four years while I was developing my football academies, teaching kids not just how to play the sport but to appreciate the game’s values, too. Queens is — and always has been — special. You feel the passion for football walking the streets.

“It’s why we’re proud to bring a professional team to this borough. It’s the obvious next step following the clinics, summer camps, academies and various other programs for boys and girls we’ve held in Astoria, Flushing and at Queens College.”

The investment group is led by Jonathan Krane, CEO of New York City-based asset management companyKraneShares. Krane has previously been involved with the USL. This past season KraneShares was the away jersey sponsor of USL Championship side New Mexico United.

“The opportunity to bring professional soccer to Queens has long been a dream of mine and I can’t wait to deliver a USL Championship club that Queens can be proud of,” he said. “I’m thrilled to work with David and represent the borough to the fullest as we look forward to kickoff in 2021.”

In order to focus on his ownership responsibilities, as well as leading the day-to-day soccer operations, Villa will have retired from professional soccer by the time the team begins playing in 2021. Among his goals is to build an academy for local and international talent to develop.

“We will recruit the best players in Queens as we become the home team,” said Villa. “We have a built-in advantage in the number of talented players in the borough. The sporting level in USL is high, which means we have to be demanding in the quality of our athletes. But our goal is to have as many Queens-bred players as possible.”

The USL Championship currently has 34 teams, with San Diego set to come on board next season. Oakland East Bay will join alongside QBFC in 2021.

“Announcing a USL Championship club in Queens is a big moment for our league,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “When we consider expansion, we’re primarily looking for three things: A community who is passionate about soccer, a strong local ownership group, and a pathway towards a soccer-specific stadium. With QBFC, we have all three, and with Jon and David at the helm, we believe this has the potential to be something very special.”

New York Mets Slugger Pete Alonso Breaks MLB’s Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonso has done it…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Mets slugger, nicknamed “Polar Bear,” has broken Major League Baseball‘s rookie home run record.

Pete Alonso

Alonso hit his 53rd home run during Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The record-breaking blast came in the third inning against Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz.

The fan favorite and 2019 Home Run Derby champion raised his arms to the sky as the ball soared over the wall at New York’s Citi Field. Mets fans gave him a standing ovation as he rounded the bases.

“To be a part of Major League Baseball history, to be number one out of every single guy that ever played the game, it’s humbling and it’s such just a ridiculously awesome feeling,” an emotional Alonso told reporters after the game. “That moment was just pure magic.”

“I didn’t know that I was going to be overcome with all that emotion,” added Alonso, who got teary on the field as fans cheered him. “At that point, might as well just let it out.”

Alonso bested another New York player – New York Yankees star Aaron Judge — in becoming MLB‘s all-time home run leader for rookies. The Yankees outfielder had set the record in 2017 with 52 home runs.

The Mets won Saturday’s game 3-0. Although the team was officially eliminated from postseason contention earlier this week, at least Alonso gave their fans something to celebrate.

Pete Alonso Hits 52nd Homer to Tie Aaron Judge’s MLB Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonsois one homer away from making history on his own…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Metsslugger hit his 52nd homer of the season, tying New York Yankees star Aaron Judge‘s total from 2017 for most by a rookie.

Alonso lined an 0-1 fastball from Atlanta Bravesleft-hander Dallas Keuchelnarrowly over the wall in left field in the first inning Friday night. He smiled as he hurried around the bases and pointed to the home fans as he crossed the plate. Teammates greeted him with handshakes outside the dugout, and the crowd at Citi Fieldinsisted on a curtain call.

“Unbelievable. When I was rounding the bases I felt like a little kid. I felt like a 7-year-old kid,” Alonso said. “I was just really kind of overcome with pure joy and emotion. I don’t think I’ve had a happier time in my life playing baseball. That is the ultimate. That’s what dreams are made of. It’s unbelievable that it happened. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Keuchel was booed when he walked Alonso in the third inning, and the big slugger popped up and struck out in his final two at-bats. The Mets won 4-2.

Alonso leads the CincinnatiReds’ Eugenio Suarezby three for the majors’ home run lead and would be the first rookie since at least 1900 to claim the big league crown outright. Manager Mickey Callawaysaid he might bat Alonso leadoff in the final two games to get him extra at-bats, and Alonso was eager to slide up a spot.

A history major in college with “an affinity for that kind of stuff,” Alonso said he’s struggling to comprehend the accomplishment.

“When I think of baseball history, I think old-timey guys like Lou GehrigBabe RuthBarry Bonds,” Alonso said. “Geez, I mean, to think that as a rookie I hit more homers than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy. I’m not trying to sound any other way. It’s just, wow.”

Judge, who has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, has 26 homers in 100 games in 2019. He predicted late Friday night that Alonso would break the rookie record.

“No better person to share it with. He’s eventually going to break it, I know that for sure,” Judge said. “Happy for him. I had a chance to meet him this year and talk to him a little bit, and no better individual to represent not only the Mets but the city of New York. He’s going to do a lot of special things over his long career. I’m excited for him. This is just the beginning for him, the first of many records he’s going to break.”

Alonso has already set franchise records for homers, total bases (343) and extra-base hits (84). He has 119 RBIs and 100 runs, becoming the first Mets rookie to reach triple digits in both categories. No New York player had reached those totals in any season since David Wrightand Carlos Beltranin 2008. The 119 RBIs put Alonso just five away from matching Wright’s all-time single-season franchise record.

“He’s been outstanding,” Callaway said. “There’s just something about Pete that draws everybody in.”

Alonso’s 52nd homer also tied him with for second-most all time in a player’s first season with a team. Alex Rodriguezhit 52 in 2001, his first season with the Texas Rangers. Babe Ruth holds the record with 54 homers for the Yankees in 1920, after he was traded from the Boston Red Sox.

New York trailed the National League East-champion Braves 2-1 after Alonso’s homer.

In a record season for home runs in the majors, Alonso’s long ball feat wasn’t the only one achieved Tuesday night. The Yankees got in on the fun when they became the second team in MLB history with 300 homers in a season. They joined the Minnesota Twins, who reached the mark on Thursday.

Miami Marlins’ Rookie Isan Diaz Hits Homerun in MLB Debut as Family is Interviewed on TV

Isan Diaz has smashed his father’s best MLB debut hopes out of the park…

The 23-year-old Puerto Rican Miami Marlins second baseman picked a perfect time to get his first big league hit in his MLB debut on Monday afternoon against the New York Mets.

Isan Diaz

Moments after his parents were asked if this was an emotional day for them on the Marlins broadcast, Diaz rocketed a 422-foot bomb off a Jacob deGrom fastball at Citi Field— prompting Diaz’s father, Raul, to loudly cheer his son as he trotted around the bases for the first time in the majors.

“Did we just homer off deGrom?” Raul asked in disbelief at the conclusion of the interview. “… He’s a Cy Young [Award winner]! We just homered against deGrom!”

Diaz was among four prospects acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in January 2018 for Christian Yelich.

Diaz finished the day 1-for-4, his lone hit a memorable solo home run.

Hernandez Throws Acrobatic First Pitch at New York Mets Game

Laurie Hernandez is flipping for the New York Mets

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, who helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in the Women’s Gymnastics team competition at the 2016 Rio Games, tossed out the first pitch on Saturday at Citi Field.

Laurie Hernandez

But Hernandez, who took home an individual silver medal on the balance beam during the 2016 Summer Olympics, wasn’t about to throw a traditional first pitch before the Mets’ game against the Washington Nationals.

Instead, the soon-to-be competitor on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars went for a little extra style, throwing in aerial cartwheel on the grass before tossing the ball to home plate.

“As soon as I found out I was throwing the first pitch, I was just like, ‘Oh, I’ll throw a flip in there,’” Hernandez told SportsNet New York.

Cespedes Wins the Home Run Derby Crown for Second Straight Year

Yoenis Cespedes’ reign at the Home Run Derby continues…

The 28-year-old Cuban baseball star, an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics, has become the first repeat winner of the All-Star skills contest in 15 years.

Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes powered his way past the Cincinnati RedsTodd Frazier 9-1 in the final round Monday night to successfully defend his title.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the last back-to-back winner, taking the title in 1998 and 1999.

With a serious, determined look on his face the entire time, Cespedes finished with 28 homers. That was four fewer than last year, when he beat the Washington NationalsBryce Harper 9-8 in the final round.

Cespedes even told Athletics teammate Josh Donaldson he was doing this wrong.

“I knew he wasn’t going to win because his mentality was to take the ball out of the stadium, and I told him that is not the way you win this competition,” Cespedes said through an interpreter.

He added: “I’m somebody who’s very conscious of the power that I have. So I don’t need to put more of a swing or more of an effort in order to hit a home run. I just have to look for a good pitch and put a good swing on it, and it usually takes care of it.”

Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest shot of the night.

A’s third-base coach Mike Gallego again pitched to Cespedes, who went deep 32 times in last year’s derby at Citi Field in New York. Gallego’s arm looked nearly out of gas by the final round.

“Maybe next year I’ll put up a better showing at the end,” Frazier said. “Now that I understand, maybe I’ll do a couple of more push-ups.”

Cespedes topped Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Frazier surprisingly beat Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton in the semifinals.

Rivera Named All-Star Game MVP

He’s considered the greatest closer of all time in Major League Baseball… And, now Mariano Rivera is also an All-Star MVP.

The 43-year-old Panamanian baseball star, who has played 19 seasons for the New York Yankees, was named the Most Valuable Player at the 84th All-Star Game on Tuesday night, as the American League blanked the National League 3-0.

Mariano Rivera

When Rivera came out of the bullpen to pitch the eighth inning of the game, his AL teammates stayed next to the dugout, leaving Rivera – who will be retiring after this season – on the field alone to soak up the applause from the crowd.

“I was standing right there watching,” said Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “It was pretty cool. I had goosebumps the whole time. I’m sure a lot of people did.”

Rivera tipped his cap to all sides of Citi Field, then started his warmup throws.

He went on to pitch a perfect inning, throwing 16 cutters. Catcher Salvador Perez threw an arm across Rivera’s shoulders as they walked off the field.

The historic moment was part of a nearly flawless performance by 10 American League pitchers in their victory over the National League, which was was held to three hits and a walk.

Rivera won the Ted Williams Award as the game’s most valuable player, the first pitcher to be so honored since Pedro Martinez in 1999. He’s also is the oldest player to win.

“I wanted to come to the game and since this will be my last one, I wanted to enjoy and be able to pitch for the last time in the All-Star Game,” Rivera said. “The rest was indescribable.”

The AL snapped a three-game losing streak in the game. The NL leads the series, 43-39-2.

New York Mets Honor Crosstown Rival Rivera

It’s an unexpected and touching tribute for the man called “the best closer in Major League Baseball history”…

Mariano Rivera, the 43-year-old Panamanian New York Yankees pitcher, was honored this week by his team’s crosstown rivals.

Mariano Rivera

The New York Mets honored him at Citi Field by having him throw out the ceremonial first pitch before their game against the Yankees. Before that, the Mets played a video tribute to Rivera which closed with the words, “Congratulations on a Hall of Fame career.”

Baseball may not see another player like Rivera in a long time… That’s why the Mets and other teams in the league are honoring him in various ways this season.

Rivera announced in spring training that this season would be his last.

“It has been great, everywhere I’ve been this year. And tonight everything was great — until the ninth,” said Rivera, who blew a save during the game.

David Wright and Lucas Duda hit RBI singles off Rivera in the ninth inning, and the Mets rallied past the Yankees 2-1 to beat baseball’s all-time saves leader only hours after honoring him.

It was the first blown save of his farewell season after he had converted 18 straight chances.

“Hopefully, it’s the last one,” said Rivera, who holds the MLB record for career saves at 626.

Rivera is a 12-time All-Star and 5-time World Series champion.