Sports leagues team up to celebrate health care workers

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky and U.S. women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd are among the athletes who are participating in a project which will recognize and celebrate health care workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Real Heroes Project” was announced on Monday. It is a collaborative initiative among 15 leagues, including Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.

Participating athletes will share a personal thank you message on social media utilizing #TheRealHeroes from Monday. Athletes will cover their name on their jerseys or uniforms and replace it with the name of the health care worker they are honouring.

Public service announcements will debut on Wednesday across league and team platforms. The other leagues participating are the ATP, NASCAR, NWSL, USGA, WNBA, WTA as well as the WWE and esports Overwatch League, Call of Duty League and Electronic Arts.

Among other athletes participating are New York Yankees all-star outfielder Aaron Judge and Milwaukee Brewers slugger Christian Yelich (MLB), Utah Jazz point guard Donovan Mitchell (NBA), Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (NFL), Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Hockey Hall of Famer Hayley Wickenheiser (NHL) as well as Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, and Orlando City SC forward Nani (MLS).

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, U.S. soccer standout Alex Morgan, two-time WNBA all-star Breanna Stewart and Ashleigh Barty, the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player, are also included. The leagues teamed up with creative agency 72andSunny and production company Hecho Studios for the campaign.

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La Liga ready to begin testing players ahead of training

The stadium of Mestalla stadium is lit during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Valencia and Atalanta in Valencia, Spain, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The stadium is empty because of the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

MADRID — Professional football players in Spain will be tested this week so they can start training again for the first time in nearly two months.

Basic training has been allowed to resume in Spain on Monday after the government eased some of the lockdown measures that had been in place since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Spanish league players are expected to get back on the field later in the week after they are tested for COVID-19 and after the clubs’ training facilities are properly prepared and disinfected. The facilities will have to be inspected to make sure they comply to the cleaning protocols established by local authorities.

All players, coaches and club employees who are going to be involved in the initial training phase will have to be tested two days before the individual practices can begin.

The tests will reportedly begin as early as Tuesday, and the league wants them to be conducted daily after the individual training sessions begin.

The league wants a period of training of about a month before it can resume with matches in empty stadiums sometime in June. There is no set date yet for the league’s resumption.

The league recently sent clubs a protocol with safety guidelines on how to return to practice. The protocol, which was obtained by The Associated Press, has a four-stage plan that details the current preparation phase, an individual training stage, a phase with smaller group sessions and finally one with full squad sessions.

Players will be allowed to use the teams’ training facilities

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Learn From… Frenkie de Jong and how to evade pressure in midfield like the Barcelona star

We’ve all been there. A player scores an extraordinary goal on the big stage and we can’t wait to go out and try to replicate it.

It could be a stunning volley, a diving header, a mesmerising solo run or even that spectacular bicycle kick.

But as you mature, an appreciation of the finer aspects of a player’s game manifests and it’s these technical intricacies which can give you an edge as an amateur footballer.

It may be a particular run, clever movement, a specific pass or feint.

Elite players do simple things with elegance and precision. Mastering some uncomplicated yet incredibly effective aspects of the game can take yours to the next level.

And who better to learn from than the absolute best doing the business at the highest level?

Over the course of this series, we’ll put some of the best players under the microscope, identify a key attribute of theirs and learn to incorporate it into our own game.

In this edition of the ‘Learn From’ series, we examine Frenkie de Jong’s method of evading pressure in midfield with his quick turns and work out how to replicate it.

AIM

We know all about the iconic ‘Cruyff turn’ but to learn how to evade pressure and transition play in midfield quickly the ‘De Jong turn’ is the one which will need to be mastered.

Of course, it’s a fairly simple move that many of us have used on the football pitch already and not an innovation that the young Dutchman can take credit for. However, his flawless execution of it and its variations as well as the frequency with which he employs the turn, to great effect, has made it his trademark.

As a deep-lying midfielder, this manoeuvre is particularly useful when picking the ball up well

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