Sports

US Women's soccer stars hope 2019 World Cup inspires girls to 'believe in themselves'

ABC News(NEW YORK) --  The U.S. Women's National Team is just days away from heading to France for the 2019 Women's World Cup, a tournament they hope will inspire young girls.

"I just want girls to feel like they can believe in themselves and like they have a path to success," Alex Morgan said Friday on Good Morning America. "Whether they want to become a professional soccer player or not, I think that they can draw inspiration from us this summer on that."

Team USA is fighting to win a second consecutive World Cup title at the tournament, which starts June 7 in France.

"For me, growing up, soccer was my passion, something that I wanted to do," Morgan's teammate, Carli Lloyd, said. "I didn’t know if that dream was attainable."

"I think being able to watch the ’99 team capture their gold medal, winning the World Championship then, really inspired me," added Lloyd, who, like Morgan, was a member of the 2015 World Cup winning team. "If you believe in yourself and work hard, any dream is attainable."

The U.S. women will play their final game in the U.S. before the World Cup on Sunday against Mexico. Then they travel to France to play their first 2019 World Cup game on June 11.

Megan Rapinoe, a star forward also played on the 2015 team, said the team this year "feels like a new vibe."

"We have the one in the back from before," she said of the 2015 victory. "It doesn’t really feel like we’re defending that one, we’re trying to get something else."

The U.S. Women's National Team is defending their World Cup title just months after they sued the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for gender discrimination.

The team filed the lawsuit in California in March, on International Women's Day, after years of public battles with the USWNT for equal pay and conditions. The players blasted the sport's governing body for allegedly paying mere "lip service" to gender equality and dishing out markedly more pay to the decidedly less successful men's team.

The players said earlier they had no plans to boycott the World Cup while the lawsuit plays out.

"We know in our hearts, and we know with the facts that we have, that we’re on the right side of this," Rapinoe told GMA in March. "I don't think anyone can argue that there's gender inequities in this world, that there’s a pay gap, that there's pay discrepancies."

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Scoreboard roundup -- 5/23/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL


INTERLEAGUE

Miami 5 Detroit 2

AMERICAN LEAGUE

NY Yankees 6 Baltimore 5
Boston 8 Toronto 2
Minnesota 16 LA Angels 7
Tampa Bay 7 Cleveland 2
Chi White Sox 4 Houston 0

NATIONAL LEAGUE

NY Mets 6 Washington 4
Pittsburgh 14 Colorado 6
Philadelphia 9 Chi Cubs 7
Atlanta 5 San Francisco 4, 13 Innings

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS


EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS, GAME 5

Toronto 105 Milwaukee 99 (TOR leads series 3-2)

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New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes has surgery on broken ankle, season likely over

Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Days after suffering multiple ankle fractures in an accident on his ranch, New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes underwent season-ending surgery, the team said Thursday.

The 33-year-old Céspedes broke his right ankle in multiple places last weekend. The team did not provide significant details about the accident, other than to say Céspedes stepped in a hole on his ranch. Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the accident did not involve a horse.

Céspedes has not played this season, following two surgeries to remove calcification on both of his heels. He played just 38 games last season.

Acquired at the 2015 trade deadline, Céspedes helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and the 2016 Wild Card Game. He then signed a four-year, $110 million contract before the 2017 season. The team has not been back to the postseason since, and Céspedes has played only 119 games.

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Warriors: Durant won't play at outset of NBA Finals, Cousins expected to return 'at some point'

Photo by Anthony Causi / ESPN Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The Golden State Warriors announced on Thursday that Kevin Durant is "unlikely" to play in the first game of the NBA Finals with a calf strain.

Durant suffered the injury in Game Five of the team's second round playoff series against the Houston Rockets. The Warriors went on to win that series in six games, and swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.

The team remains hopeful that Durant could return at some point during the NBA Finals. They will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. That series is currently tied at two games apiece.

Golden State also gave an update on center DeMarcus Cousins, who suffered a ruptured quad in their first round series. Cousins is expected to play "at some point" in the Finals.

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MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden unanimously chosen to All-NBA first team

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Two of the three finalists for this year's NBA MVP award -- Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and James Harden of the Houston Rockets -- were unanimous selections for the league's All-NBA First Team, the NBA announced Thursday.

Joining the pair on the first team were Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić.

By making his second consecutive All-NBA team, Antetokoumpo made himself eligible to receive the largest contract in NBA history next summer. The Bucks will be able to offer him a five-year contract worth $247.3 million, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. Antetokounmpo would still be one year away from free agency.

It also marks the first time in 11 years that LeBron James was not chosen to the All-NBA First Team. He was named to the third team -- extending his streak of consecutive selections to 15 years.

There were additional salary implications riding on the selections this year, with four players needing to be chosen to be eligible for a designated veteran extension -- also known as the "supermax" -- this offseason. Portland's Damian Lillard and Charlotte's Kemba Walker each qualified for that deal, while the Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal and Golden State's Klay Thompson did not.

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Tiger Woods announces next tournament he'll play in

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(DUBLIN, Ohio) -- After missing the cut at the PGA Championship last week, Tiger Woods says he will take part in next week's Memorial Tournament hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.

Woods has won The Memorial five times. Last year he finished 23rd in the tournament.

Since winning The Masters on April 14, Woods' two rounds at the PGA Championship is the only competitive golf he has played.

"There's no reason why I can't get up to speed again and crank it back up," Woods told reporters after Round Two of the PGA Championship. "I've got to start feeling a little bit better first before that happens."

After The Memorial, Woods says he will play the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 5/22/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Kansas City 8 St. Louis 2
Tampa Bay 8 LA Dodgers 1
Miami 6 Detroit 3
St. Louis 10 Kansas City 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Oakland 7 Cleveland 2
Texas 2 Seattle 1
NY Yankees 7 Baltimore 5
Boston 6 Toronto 5, 13 Innings
Chi White Sox 9 Houston 4
Minnesota at LA Angels 9:07 p.m., postponed

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Milwaukee 11 Cincinnati 9
San Diego 5 Arizona 2
Colorado 9 Pittsburgh 3
NY Mets 6 Washington 1
Chi Cubs 8 Philadelphia 4
Atlanta 9 San Francisco 2

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Vancouver 2 New York 2

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


FIFA scraps plans for 48-team World Cup in 2022

artisteer/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will now only include 32 teams after FIFA gave up its efforts to expand the field to 48 teams.

Soccer's international governing body had been exploring the possible ways it could expand the field, either by involving neighboring countries or lowering certain FIFA requirements. A statement released Wednesday made clear that neither option was feasible on such short notice.

In order to accommodate the 16 additional matches that the expanded field would require, FIFA had explored whether a nearby nation could host those matches. An internal report had already concluded that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia would not be able to join as co-hosts unless they restored economic and travel ties with Qatar which had been severed two years ago. While Kuwait and Oman were considered viable options, the latter has said it wasn't interested in hosting matches.

FIFA has now decided that there isn't enough time to prepare an additional country for its games.

Two of the largest stadiums in Kuwait would have required upgrades to be used in the World Cup, and with concerns already abound over working conditions and labor rights in Qatar, such work is not considered possible.

Kuwait also has a full ban on alcohol, which could have been problematic for FIFA, which includes Budweiser as a major sponsor.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


ESPN: Michigan in talks with former star Juwan Howard to become next men's basketball coach

Moses Kinnah/iStock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Former basketball star Juwan Howard is in talks to become the next head coach of his alma mater's men's basketball team, ESPN reports.

Howard, a member of the University of Michigan's Fab Five recruiting class in 1991, helped the team reach two national championship games an an Elite Eight appearance. He played 19 seasons in the NBA and has spent the last six years as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat.

Howard interviewed for NBA coaching jobs with at least three teams this spring.

While no contract has been finalized, Howard reportedly became the frontrunner for the job after Providence College head coach Ed Cooley withdrew his name from consideration this week.

Michigan is looking to replace former head coach John Beilein, who left last week to become the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Beilein led the program to two national title games in 12 seasons as head coach.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Star pitcher David Cone discusses new book, New York Yankees

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Former MLB pitcher David Cone was known as one of the most impassioned and intelligent players of his era. The architect of one of the greatest games ever pitched, Cone's reputation as a pitcher has followed him into the broadcast booth, where he serves as a television analyst for Yankee games.

Cone and fellow YES Network baseball analyst Jack Curry have teamed up write a new book, Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher. In a conversation with ABC News, Cone and Curry discuss their book and offer their thoughts on the current state of the New York Yankees.
 
"Not only did he end up taking me on a pitching journey--he gets personal in this book... a lot of emotion," Curry says, as he reflects on their decision to write the book together. "I was always fascinated by how fascinated David was with pitching... I loved his creativity on the mound."

For Cone, he wanted "someone you really trust [to tell these stories], and Jack was that guy for me."

He describes how both his journey through the minor leagues and his upbringing made him a better Major League pitcher, highlighting his father’s impact:

"He was tough on me, and I was headstrong and stubborn, and it did make me tougher. He'd kick me out of practice and I'd stomp off, throw a fit, and he'd have a talk with me later on. It took a while for me to realize how I was coming off... A lot of [those] insecurities I went through and anxiety I went through as a pitcher was something that was taboo to talk about, but it's also something that drives you."

Curry and Cone reveal exactly what Cone was thinking during the most intense moments of his professional career, as well as others of which he is not as proud.

Cone says he sees that same passion he pitched with on the current New York Yankees team, who have competed in the American League East all season despite a slew of early injuries.

“Youth energizes the fan base,” Cone says, referring to some of the Yankees young, unexpected heroes like Domingo German and Gio Urshela. “As each day goes by and they keep producing, you get more excited about it.”

Curry says the team’s success is completely shocking, and with their start, believes they should be able to compete for a postseason berth. He does concede, however, “Some of those young contributors may be sent down [to the minor leagues]” once injured stars like Aaron Judge return.

The authors say they hope Full Count teaches readers about David Cone's approach to pitching and how the five-time World Champion pitched with passion and intensity in every start he made.

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