Venezuelans Abroad (of the Week) – November 18th – 24th

Yeferson Soteldo: Santos 4-1 Cruzeiro

Coming off of his first goal for la Vinotinto, Soteldo has continued an amazing form at Santos, scoring yet another goal this week. It’s his fifth goal in his last five league appearances.

The Venezuelan may be known best for his height, but his tricky feet are becoming a must for Santos, even earning the attention of Pelé himself.

Sergio Cordova: Augsburg 4-0 Hertha Berlin

It may have been a strong tap in after a teammate was tackled off the ball by Hertha’s keeper, but Cordova still grabbed a goal in his first start in months for Augsburg. The side would go on to win 4-0 to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.

Andres Ponce: Akhmat 2-1 Orenburg

Ponce scored a penalty and his third goal of the season to help Akhmat to a 2-1 win over Orenburg, a vital win as his side seek to escape relegation. Fellow Venezuelan Wilker Angel started the game as well and played the full 90 minutes while Ponce was subbed off in the 89th.

From Jail to Prison – An Essay on Caesar Must Die

Note: The following was an essay written for a college course that has since been placed here for archiving.

The adaption of Julius Caesar into Caesar Must Die brings with it a wide variety of artist choices, from the casting of real-life criminals for the majority of the roles to the use of black-and-white film in all scenes except for the scenes showing the play being acted out. Yet the most stand out moment, one that summarizes the movie’s own thesis on Shakespeare’s play and what it says about ignorance and retrospective, is the final line delivered by Cosimo Rega, who plays Cassius, “Since I got to know art, this cell has become a prison.” (Caesar Must Die)

This statement in many ways reflects an idea that develops in the later stages of the play. When the two are combined, I put it this way: Since I killed Caesar, I realized Rome had always been broken.

Cover of Caesar Must Die, courtesy of Rai Cinema, La Talee, and Stemal Entertainment

The final words of the film are a nail in the coffin for a comparison of prison and Rome that begins early in the film with the introduction of the cast, made entirely of real-life criminals. The man who plays Julius Caesar is in for seventeen years for drug trafficking. Brutus has 14 years for multiple associations with a major crime family. Cassius has a life sentence for murder, among other things.

As Cosimo realizes the nature of his imprisonment through art, so does his character and fellow conspirators realize the nature of their own nation as they combat tyranny. They were all prisoners in the political prison of Rome long before Caesar’s heirs chased them down. 

This ‘before and after’ can be shown in the way the conspirators decide to spare Antony, “Our course will seem too bloody… for Antony is but a limb of Caesar.” (II.i.162-165), compared to Cassius’s call to his hunters, “Come Antony and young Octavius… for Cassius is aweary of the world: hated by one he loves, braved by his brother, checked like a bondman” (IV.iii.92-96). The play’s conspirators go from feeling they can contain the rot in Rome to one man, to realizing they have been exiled by a Rome completely controlled by that rot.

This realization is mirrored again in a scene near the half way mark of the film, when the actor who plays Caesar calls out the man playing Lucius in the middle of his persuading of Caesar to go to the senate despite bad omens. The manipulative nature of the scene has revealed the man’s true nature to ‘Caesar’, who proceeds to get into a fight with him.The actors themselves realize the world around them scene by scene as they are immersed into the world of the play.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The choices directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani make in their closing scene reveal a lens one can use to view both Shakespeare’s work and the reality of Roman history. The Tavaini brothers seem to agree with the idea many modern historians champion; the Republic fell long before Caesar’s body went cold. As Cassius and Brutus realize their doom in the hands of an already damned Republic, Cosimo Rega realizes, through art, that his life has been truly wasted.

He chose to be part of this play to escape the realities of his life sentence, but in the end only learned to understand his permanent jailing in a more permanent way because of said play. The irony of this mixture of reflection and ignorance is one that exists in Julius Caesaritself, to the detriment of all involved.

Works Cited

Caesar Must Die. Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani. Distributor, 2012. https://                                     www.amazon.com/Caesar-Must-Die-Antonio-Frasca/dp/B00HAN05WS/                                   ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519501961&sr=8-1&keywords=caesar+must+die.

“Julius Caesar.” The Norton Shakespeare, by William Shakespeare et al., Third ed., W.W. Norton & Company, 2016, pp. 1685–1749.

Venezuelans Abroad (of the Week) – November 4th – 10th

Yeferson Soteldo: Santos 2-1 Avai, Santos 3-0 Goias

As with last week, Soteldo’s Santos side continued to impress this week with a pair of wins over Avai and Goias. Soteldo played the first 65 minutes of the win over Avai, playing well but not standing out as much as his fellow attackers. Soteldo had a fantastic second game, scoring twice and assisting a goal against Goias.

His first goal came after a cross into the box was deflected out to the edge of the 18 yard box. Soteldo hit the ball with a beautiful volley shot and sent it rocketing into the far upper corner, marking one of his best goals since joining Santos.

The second goal was a beautiful tap in from an arching Marinho cross, with the short-of-stature Venezuelan outrunning his marker and smashing the ball home to seal the result.

Soteldo and Santos have been on a roll, with the club securing its fourth straight win, having not lost in five. Soteldo now has four goals and an assist in his last three matches, a strong output for the Venezuelan who has eight goals this season and is the club’s tied for second highest scorer with Carlos Sanchez (8), while both are behind Eduardo Sasha (12).

Romulo Otero: Atlético Mineiro 2-0 Goias, Atlético Mineiro 0-0 Cruzeiro

The Brazilian glory wasn’t just for Soteldo, as fellow Vinotinto player Romulo Otero impressed with Atlético Mineiro and helped them see out a win and a draw in the top flight.

Playing 89 minutes of the win over Goias, Otero was an active part of the attack despite not scoring or assisting. The Venezuelan completed 24 accurate passes midweek to help Atlético reach 39 points.

Facing 16th place Cruzeiro on the weekend, Otero aided his side to a 0-0 draw which saw them continue their positive form and wrap up a double match week of action without conceding a goal.

Oh and it was his birthday on the 9th, feliz cumpleanos Rómulo! The Venezuelan turns 26 this year. What better way to celebrate than all further solidifying Copa Sudamericana football for your club next season?

Mario Rondón: Cluj 1-0 Rennes, Cluj 0-0 Bucuresti

The veteran Vinotinto striker had an eventful, if somewhat imperfect, week. He played the last 20 minutes of Romanian side Cluj’s Europa League tie with Rennes. He didn’t just play, however. Rondón scored a brilliant header in the 87th minute to all but cement Cluj’s spot in the knockout rounds.

The striker did, however, get sent off in the 90th minute for a hard foul on Joris Gnagnon. Overall, it was a good show for the striker, who had a memorable Thursday and gave his club a vital 1-0 win.

Cluj are currently at the top of the table in Romania and continued their campaign with an away draw against Dinamo Bucuresti. Rondón started the game as the lead striker. While no goals came his way, the point earned helps Cluj maintain a 2 point league in the Romanian top flight.

Tomas Rincon: Torino 4-0 Brescia

El General helped Torino to a triumphant 4-0 win over Brescia, who are currently missing the injured Jhon Chancellor at the back. Rincón didn’t partake in the goals, but the resulting clean sheet was a welcome sign that Torino’s defense is stabilizing, having struggled for over a month with poor results. The club had not won a match since late September, finding solace in draws with Cagliari and Napoli in October.

Torino will need to get back on track soon to remain top contenders for the upper half of the table and this weekend’s result will be a major factor in their momentum building operation. With a tough away match against Inter coming next weekend, Rincón and company will need to stick to their best performances to pull points from the title contenders.

Entrusted Cleats – An Object Analysis Essay

Note: The following was an essay written for a college course that has since been placed here for archiving. It was required to be written without “to be” verbs.

The approximately two-inch gash that calls the left edge of this right footed Adidas Men’s Traxion Soccer Cleat home provides a hint to the trauma said cleat prevented for its owner, me.

The right foot of a pair of Adidas Men’s Traxion cleats

The shoe features the classic Adidas three stripes and a black and white pallet, though the white portions have become discolored. This reveals the shoe’s age, a handy down from an older brother. Despite these signs of age, the mostly black shoe shines well in the sunlight.

The gash formed close to a year before the writing of this paper, in an intramural soccer match at James S. Malosky Stadium. Playing as a central defender, I made a hard challenge on an attacking player and managed to get to the ball first. He made an attempt on the ball too, but instead found my foot. I wouldn’t notice until ten minutes later that my big toe felt numb and that my shoe felt strangely large, as if a size too wide.

While the outside of the shoe portrays a slick and smooth feel, the gash exposes a rougher interior that hides between the cocoon of the foot and the shining exterior which strikes the ball.

Memories are often stored within scars, for cleats as much as people. This shoe shows its work through the tanning of its white stripes and the damage to its side, reminding its owner that it made a sacrifice to save their foot. Note that its owner suffered a sprained foot, though some of this is surely due to the owner’s late realization of the situation. The shoe retains a meaning through both its sacrifice and the wound of its owner.

Despite the wound, the shoes still represents meaning and ability. The cleats on the bottom still clack when they hit a hard floor and still dig into the grass when they run across a pitch. The laces still pull in tight when tied up. The back of the shoe still hugs tight on the heel. While the sides of the upper foot feel strangely loose, most of the shoe feels good as new, or at least good as reused.

My Adidas Men’s Traxion soccer right-footed cleat represents the ability to sacrifice for a good cause and that even when battered, an item is not useless. I can feel my toes unusually surrounded by space when the right-footed cleat is on my foot. It’s a reminder of the shoe’s damage. It’s also a reminder of the damage it saved me from.

Someday this shoe might see repair, but until then, its sacrifice shall always bring a smile and sense of appreciation. My foot got better, my cleats didn’t. The cleats, however, ended up meaning more to me.

Venezuelans Abroad (of the Week) – October 28th to November 3rd

Hello and welcome to a new series I’ll be running on my website. This blog will look to highlight my top three or four performers amongst Venezuelans playing (football) outside of Venezuela, with a particular focus on those within la Vinotinto’s roster.

Players listed are just a reflection from what I saw and noticed that week and there will surely be times where I brutally miss good options. Players are not listed in a particularly order of importance, though my actual writing may project which I feel had the best weekend.

If you enjoy the series, keep an eye for it every week, likely on Mondays or Tuesdays once the most recent round of matches is over.

Jhonder Cadiz: Dijon 2-1 PSG

Cadiz’ loan to a Dijon side that has struggled to get out of the relegation zone in Ligue 1 this season was met with mixed reactions when it took place late this summer. The prospect of playing in Ligue 1 is far from beneath Cadiz’ progressing career, but many had hoped the Venezuelan would play for Benfica, who bought him at the beginning of that same off season.

He’s picked up minutes slowly at Dijon, getting his first start in a 2-0 loss to Bordeaux in Coupe de la Ligue, but his first league start would be his best minutes for the club yet. Set loose against French titans PSG, Cadiz’ 47th minute goal would prove the key to Dijon earning their first ever league victory against PSG.

It’s still very unclear what club or country Cadiz’ future will send him to, but topping his first big start with a big goal to left some of the tensions at Dijon will surely be a diamond for his resume.

Yordan Osorio: Zenit 4-0 Tomsk

Osorio notched 90 more minutes and his second Russian Cup victory for Zenit midweek as they beat 2nd tier Tomsk 4-0 in the Round of 16. Zenit, who are favorites to win both of Russia’s domestic trophies at their current pace, have found uses for Osorio despite depth in defensive positions.

The Venezuelan, on loan from FC Porto, has managed a Champions League start (1-1 against Lyon), along with two positive CL substitute appearances and one league appearance in a 3-1 win over Ural. His performance against Tomsk was highlighted by his 100% passing accuracy, with all 77 of his paces meeting their mark.

Osorio will have to fight hard to get a consistent spot in a squad full of the Russian Premier League’s best, but he’s still managed to leave a mark on the squad with months of time left to do more. If all stays the same, the Venezuelan will likely leave Russia with a winners medal of some sort, whether he stays with Zenit long term or wins his way into the Porto 18.

Ronald Hernandez: Stabæk 2-0 Ranheim

Ronald Hernandez played the full 90 minutes in another strong result for Stabæk in Norway, who now rest in 10th place with 33 points in 27 games. It was the club’s 9th clean sheet of the season, earned despite Ranheim holding 50% of the possession and taking nine shots. Hernandez had a 76% pass accuracy rate on the day, out of 42 passes.

Having barely avoided relegation the previous season, Stabæk have started to grow this season and instead look set to be a mid table club. This will be a huge upgrade for Hernandez, who would surely look for a new club if the Norwegians were to be relegated. Having joined from Zamora in 2017, Hernandez is quietly becoming a strong defensive option for Venezuela, for whom he’s recently been a preferred fullback.

Yeferson Soteldo: Santos 1-0 Bahia, Santos 4-1 Botafogo

Soteldo played close to 180 minutes over Santos’ two wins in the Brazilian top division this week, beating both Bahia and Botafogo to help keep Pelé’s club in third place with a spot in the Copa Libertadores firmly in their grasp. Soteldo managed a brace against Botafogo, scoring in the 68th and 69th minutes.

The first goal against Botafogo came via a series of combination plays by the Santos front line. Soteldo proved the last piece and struck the ball well from near the penalty spot. The second goal was a classic one for the Venezuela, who cut in to the right and curved a beautiful shot into the far corner of the goal from the edge of the box.

Despite not scoring or assisting particularly often, the forward has been a shining player for Santos all season. He has six goals and two assists, but most importantly has won a spot as an instant starter for the club for his work outside of the goal scoring stats.

Soteldo’s future is the topic of heavy speculation within and outside of the Venezuelan footballing world, with many assuming a trip to Europe is in the cards, but the player has made the most of his stay in South America. While his time in Chile brought ups and downs, the player often noted for his short size has become a giant prospect and a must have for la Vinotinto’s match day squad.