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123 Mar 1
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers have signed veteran free agent forward/center Kevin Seraphin and rookie guard Nick Zeisloft. Dontrelle Inman Jersey .The 6-10 Seraphin was the 17th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2010 draft. Born in French Guiana, Seraphin was traded to Washington in July 2010, and played with the Wizards for five seasons before playing with the New York Knicks last season. He has career averages of 6.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.The 6-4 Zeisloft played last season at Indiana where he averaged 6.5 points and 1.6 rebounds per gameTerms were not disclosed by the team in Thursdays announcement. Matt Slauson Jersey . John Lucas, signed as a mentor for rookie Trey Burke, showed he can score if required, scoring 12 points of his 16 points in the second quarter as Utah built an 18-point lead. Casey Hayward Jersey . The defending champion beat Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (6), 6-3, while second-seeded Andy Murray of Britain dispatched Edouard Roger-Vasselin, also of France, 6-3, 6-3. Making his first appearance since injuring his wrist a month ago, Del Potro had difficulty with his service games in the first set. http:///...c-junior-seau-jersey . He just needed to be his best twisting, turning acrobatic self. "I didnt need to be anybody else, I just needed to be myself and be aggressive," said Burks, who scored a career-high 34 points to spark the Utah Jazz to a 118-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. For all the ways in which the image of a young Muslim woman proudly playing the national sport offers a modern, hopeful interpretation of liberté, égalité, fraternité and the future of France, there is also something ancient and familiar about Jessica Houra-dHommeauxs passion for soccer.Growing up in Angers, not quite 200 miles southwest of Paris, Houra-dHommeaux played for the same reasons as generations of French children, albeit most of them boys for many of those years. She watched her father play and coach. She watched an older brother play. She played because it was what she knew.So even if the larger culture in which she grew up was, at best, indifferent (and, at worst, openly resistant) to a young womans passion for a sport long dominated by men, her connection to the field not only endured but grew stronger. It remains the bond with her father even after his death. That he never saw her play for the national team doesnt matter.I want that he was proud of me, Houra-dHommeaux said in her second language. So its for that, I think, I still play football. Because I know that he was proud of me when I was [playing for a youth] national team. I do everything knowing hes proud of me now. Its my force, its my inspiration.In dozens of forms, each person with her own story, that explains how a generation of French players convinced a country to accept and embrace the womens game. It became impossible to ignore their passion because it was so familiar. It burrows down into a person and becomes part of them.They gave France the team people wanted to believe in. They made themselves matter to people. And now because they do, they need to give France a champion. That is part of the bargain.Which womens team has the most at stake in the Olympics? The obvious answer is host Brazil, and at least symbolically, its inarguable. To win gold in Rio de Janeiros Maracana, especially in light of missteps by the iconic mens national team in recent years, would be a powerful statement. But it would likely be of more symbolic utility than practical. The infrastructure to consistently develop and support the womens game isnt going to spring up overnight in Brazil.A gold medal, not an impossibility based on Australias World Cup showing, would change the paradigm in the country. Another win would only add to the power wielded for change by American players.But three years ahead of the 2019 FIFA Womens World Cup, France has an opportunity unique to the field. To win gold would in some ways be a small step for a team that played for bronze four years ago and is ranked third in the world at the moment. That small step could ensure the giant changes.Entering the 2011 World Cup, France had qualified just once previously for either that event or the Olympics. The French didnt advance out of the group stage in a European Championship until 2009, and even then, they were outscored in the tournament. The invisible line that ran through Western Europe, separating a successful sport in Germany and the Nordic countries from the soccer chauvinism of the rest of the continent, traced the northern border of France. It was why several French players posed nude before that 2011 tournament, their answer clear in asking what it would take for their country to pay attention.A lot can change in five years.According to UEFA statistics, France is now one of seven European nations with more than 60,000 registered female players (73,484 in 2014-15), the only such country south of that invisible line of cultural separation. With more than 1.8 million total registered players in France, the divide between genders remains a chasm, but the 2014-15 figure represented roughly a 25 percent increase on even two years prior. That mirrors the anecdotal experiences of those involved.When I begin, womens football is not so popular, Houra-dHommeaux recalled of the 1990s. The people when I told them I play football, they say What? You play football? Its weird. So it was not so easy at the beginning.Houra-dHommeaux is only 28, but she already spans multiple eras of womens soccer in France. When she began to play for the Paris Saint-Germain womens team and the French national team less than a decade ago, soccer was not her sole occupation. It could not be. She still worked more than 30 hours a week in a clerical job in the medical field, practicing and playing games around that schedule. But Qatar Sports Investment bought PSG in 2011 and, in addition to pouring millions into the mens team, invested the resources to make the womens team fully professional and one of Europes elite. Only then did Houra give up her job outside of soccer. (After seven seasons with PSG, Houra-dHommeaux moved to Lyon, Frances other giant of womens soccer.)Again, change happens slowly. Only a handful of clubs in the top division of French womens football are truly professional. There are perhaps dozens of female players who are able to make soccer a full-time career. Many of those stars are brought in from abroad to bolster the ranks of PSG or Lyon (given the salaries available in the National Womens Soccer League, that is not necessarily different than in this country). But the opportunity does exist, an evolution that happened in real time for a generation of players.It was hard for my life with my family, Houra-dHommeaux said of balancing two careers. Since I play just football, its easy because Im just focused on football. Im not tired at the end of my work day, and I can have a good time with my family. I think its important to have good time with your family if you want to be good at football because when you are happy outside of football, in your life, I think you are better and better on the pitch.The cause and effect of change in France is muddled, as it often is in reality. Coming on the heels of a disastrous and nationally embarrassing effort by the mens team in the 2010 World Cup, when French players boycotted a training sessionn and then exited in the group stage, the run the womens team made to the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup in nearby Germany catapulted womens football into the spotlight. Korey Toomer Jersey. The womens team then made it to the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics, while the wounded mens team quietly bowed out of that years Euros.The timing was fortuitous. But when the French womens team seized its moments in 2011 and 2012, it marked the product of more than a decade of preparation, a concerted effort to raise the level of play. Girls were finally allowed to live and train alongside boys at the national training center, commonly known as Clairefontaine, a decade after it opened its doors. Among the early beneficiaries were many of the players on the 2011 or 2012 teams, players like Houra-dHommeaux, Camille Abily and Laura Georges.What happened in 2011 and 2012 -- the arrival of a golden generation that also included Louisa Necib, Wendie Renard, Elodie Thomis and so many more familiar names -- altered the map of womens soccer. It birthed a new power.Players are not afraid anymore to play against Germany, to play against the U.S., said?Georges,?the veteran defender who was forced to withdraw from the team shortly before the Olympics because of injury.?Before there was like a supremacy of the really big teams, and we were kind of scared. We could not even really play together, we were just playing long ball, we were not keeping the ball and playing around. We were kind of scared of the big teams. Now players are more comfortable playing against the big teams. We have more experience, more confidence.When France beat the United States 2-0 in February 2015, it marked the Americans first loss in the history of the series. But far from embarrassing, it served as an important component of the preparation for the Americans World Cup title that followed. Few teams pushed the United States the way France did.Its the trifecta, its mentality, technique and athleticism, U.S. coach Jill Ellis said of what makes a program elite. When I took over [the U.S. program], I said to our team that we have the beauty of having all three. Many countries dont have two out of three. France certainly has the athleticism and technique. People would question their mentality, just in terms of they havent won a big event yet, but I wouldnt knock them there. On any given day in our game, any of these top four teams can beat each other.But they have [technique and athleticism] locked down.What they dont have, as Ellis gently alluded to, is a trophy or medals from a major tournament to show for all the progress. France lost 3-1 to the United States in a 2011 World Cup semifinal and 2-1 to Japan in an Olympic semifinal a year later. France fell victim to a dubious format in the World Cup a year ago -- even as group stage winners, the French were forced into a quarterfinal against Germany. On a day when the French had the better of play but couldnt put away the game, the country nonetheless exited in a penalty shootout.The small sample size notwithstanding, France struggles in big games to finish what it starts.Technically, possession, I think we are pretty good, Abily said of the state of the program. Its our strength, but it needs now to be maybe better -- well, for sure -- in front of the goal. To be more killer, you know.Its great to keep the ball, to play well, but it misses something.That again reared its head this spring, when France, despite some notable absences due to injury, played generally appealing soccer without ever scoring a goal against England, Germany or the United States in the SheBelieves Cup.This problem to score has been the problem for France since the last eight to 10 years, coach Philippe Bergeroo lamented with a perfectly Gallic shrug of the shoulders after that event.At some point, fans will want results. The accessibility and relatability of players will lose its luster. Expectations, in this case, represent their own brand of equality.I think we have to win because [coming close] is almost boring for them, Abily said.That would be a missed opportunity of almost tragic proportions, not because wins and losses really matter that much but because of the potential influence the French team can have.France might be the most diverse team in the womens game, certainly among the handful of elite championship contenders. It is a reflection of a changing society, changing not without tension, not just because of gender but all the labels with which it is too easy to separate each other and isolate ourselves.The daughter of an Algerian immigrant, Houra-dHommeaux was taken aback by the attention she received for a professionally shot photo in which many assumed she wore a hijab -- It was just a capuche, she said, using the French word for hood. But in the same breath, she noted she was proud to represent her faith as a womens soccer player.You see on our national team, there are a lot of black girls or Arabic girls, Houra-dHommeaux said. I think soccer in France, its easier for everybody. ... Its easy to play football in France, and its good for all the people to see that we are white, we are black, we are Muslim, we are Catholic or something like that, but we can play football. Everybody can play football. And I like it for that.Having three years to use the momentum of a gold medal to continue to build the game, at both the youth and professional levels, would set up a potentially remarkable World Cup. To keep this particular team in the spotlight could resonate far beyond the field at a time when others try to divide and terrorize.If we can do it in sport, we can do it in life, Abily said of the diversity. Its important to think like this, especially after the terrorist attacks [in Paris in 2015]. 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