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Welcome to the Final Whistle Journal. Here you’ll find fresh voices and perspectives on all things sports-related for the University of Maryland and the D.C. metro area. We hope you enjoy and come back often!

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Billy Rappo: Life On The Wrestling Mat

By Juan Herrera

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Maryland wrestler Billy Rappo in action (Photo credit: Alexander Jones/The Diamondback)

Billy Rappo was born into the sport of wrestling. His four older brothers all wrestled at Council Rock South High School and in college. Rappo started wrestling at only 4 years old.

Whenever Rappo could, he would go into gymnasiums to watch his brothers wrestle. Even when his siblings went off to wrestle for Division I schools, Rappo was always watching and learning.

He trained with his brothers from an early age, taking a piece from each of their wrestling styles to craft his own. Once the time came for Rappo to wrestle in high school, he knew he had big shoes to fill.

“Coming up through Council Rock South, I had some things to take care of. My brothers won state titles, so I had some pressure on me to do that as well,” Rappo said. “Luckily I was able to do that.” Continue reading “Billy Rappo: Life On The Wrestling Mat”

Positivity playing a big role in Maryland men’s soccer team’s success

By Kyle Melnick

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Maryland men’s soccer head coach Sasho Cirovski believes positive thinking is crucial to success on the field. (Photo credit: Marquise McKine/The Diamondback)

Inside the Maryland men’s soccer team’s locker room, signs of positive words cover the walls.

No matter where the Terps players look they’re reminded of the squad’s values. In one corner the Maryland players see “Perseverance,” while in another they see “Commitment” and “Concentration.” On the field, the positive messages don’t stop. Coach Sasho Cirovski writes “WW” on his wrist, which stands for “winning words.”

Since Cirovski took the Terps heading coach job in 1993, he’s made positivity a core value of the team. By doing so, he’s led Maryland to two national championships and 18 Sweet 16s. Continue reading “Positivity playing a big role in Maryland men’s soccer team’s success”

Maryland Football’s Future: Ferocious or Flashy?

By Joe Foley

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Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin has some choices ahead regarding his team’s future and identity. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume/UMTerps.com)

Maryland football looks like a rejuvenated program behind first-year head coach D.J. Durkin.

The Terps may not win the Big Ten anytime soon, but there are some encouraging signs moving forward: a top-20 recruiting class in 2017, the transformation of Cole Field House into a $155 million state-of-the-art practice facility and what looks like a head coach that is here to stay. However, what isn’t as clear is how this will translate to the field. Maryland needs to find its identity to become a true Division I powerhouse, and to do so it will need to go in one of two directions. These two options are reflected by the contrasting styles of their two current quarterbacks. Continue reading “Maryland Football’s Future: Ferocious or Flashy?”

Maryland track and field athlete has the Midas touch

By Glen Charlton

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Maryland track and field athlete Jillian Maloney (Photo credit: UMTerps.com)

 

Jillian Maloney, a track and field athlete for Maryland, does it all. And she excels at everything she does.

Maloney dominates in academics, is an achieved athlete in multiple sports and became a nationally-ranked Monopoly player.

Who knew such a title actually exists?

Maloney claimed her ranking in middle school. It all began with a school project, but Maloney said it came to be for another reason.

“In middle school, I just was not very cool,” Maloney said. Continue reading “Maryland track and field athlete has the Midas touch”

Foreign-born players making impact in college soccer

By Sean Whooley

Soccer is so often referred to as the world’s most popular sport, but it took a while to catch on in the United States.

Despite this, the country is rapidly progressing in what most people around the world call “football.” From the professional level all the way down to instructional leagues for kindergarteners, the sport continues to grow. One place that is a perfect example of this is the University of Maryland.

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Maryland men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski has a number of influential international players on his team (Photo credit: UMTerps.com)

Under head coach Sasho Cirovski, now in his 24th year at the helm, the Terrapins soccer program has blossomed into one of the most consistent and successful college soccer setups in the country. As Maryland improves, as do other university soccer teams, and it is a sign of how the United States is coming along in development. Continue reading “Foreign-born players making impact in college soccer”

D.C. United Academy develops top talent, memorable experiences

By Mia O’Neill

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Members of D.C. United’s U11-U13 academy teams listen to first team head coach Ben Olsen speak after a training session. (Photo Credit: D.C. United Academy)

As soccer in the United States continues to grow, emulating the European game has become a primary goal among top American teams.

As a result, there’s been a surge of investment in youth soccer development in recent years. Following the models of Europe’s biggest clubs, Major League Soccer teams have turned unprecedented attention toward their academies, offering promising youngsters highly-structured technical and tactical training with the goal of producing players for their first teams.

The objective of the MLS academy system is to provide a direct path to professional soccer with affiliation to a club, said Dave Sanford, operations coordinator for the D.C. United Academy and head coach of the club’s under-12 team. To Sanford, professionalization of youth soccer in the U.S. has been huge. Continue reading “D.C. United Academy develops top talent, memorable experiences”