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Natacha Pisarenko/AP Images

Go to any shoe store or apparel website this summer, and you will almost literally be kicked in the head with options for World Cup-inspired footwear. 

By my count, the big three international football manufacturers—Adidas, Nike and Puma—are offering more than 150 combined options for soccer cleats, flats and other footy footwear this summer.

As soon as you pick out your favorite pair of shoes from the Samba Pack or the Magista Collection, out come 15 more with "battle designs" or "snake venom" used as sewing thread or whatever crazy gimmick the companies can employ to get us to pay attention, buy more stuff and outclass our friends on the pitch.

It's no longer just Adidas and Nike either. Puma is going so rogue this summer that it is giving all its athletes two different-color shoes—one pink and one blue—to get people like me to pay more attention to those wearing Pumas. (Job well done, public relations cats.)

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The Sunday Times of London blew the lid off the worst-kept secret in the world. The 2022 World Cup was not just possibly bought by Qatar, it was absolutely, positively, unequivocally, how-did-they-get-away-with-it-for-this-long(ingly) bought by Qatar.

Mohamed bin Hammam, once a high-ranking member of FIFA's executive cabal before being excommunicated from power after daring to run against Sepp Blatter for the role of FIFA president, has been implicated—again—for lobbying on behalf of Qatar in advance of the 2010 vote that awarded the 2022 World Cup to the tiny desert nation over the United States of America.

It's time for FIFA to correct this mistake, right this amazingly transparent wrong and take the World Cup back from Qatar. Who should get it? The United States, of course.

The Times report from Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake claims to have obtained "millions of secret documents" that implicate Bin Hammam's role in buying votes for Qatar to win the World Cup bid.

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Elsa Getty Images

HARRISON, N.J. — "Experience is a big thing," Tim Howard said into a smattering of reporters hoping for quotation gold after the United States defeated Turkey 2-1 in the second of three friendlies before heading to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

"Experience also has baggage. So we don't have that baggage."

It's easy to take that quote—absolute gold, by the way—and make it about Landon Donovan. But maybe, just maybe, Howard's words were more about Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu and Clarence Goodson and Jay DeMerit and the old way the U.S. national team played defense in front of him.

There is very little experience in front of Howard now, with Geoff Cameron, a converted center-back who has more caps at midfield or right-back than in the center of the defense during his international career, taking a leadership role on the back line.

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Alex Brandon/AP Images

If creating a World Cup roster is akin to building a car, the 32 teams heading to Brazil should be in the fine-tuning stages at this point. A little more speed here. A tad more force there. With just over two weeks before the World Cup officially kicks off, teams should be worrying about the little things.

For Jurgen Klinsmann and his U.S. Soccer 23-man squad, the little things will have to wait.

After Klinsmann's squad defeated Azerbaijan 2-0 in the first of three send-off matches before leaving for Brazil, parts are all over the garage and big things are still being decided. Do we need a new front end? Does anyone really know if the back line will hold up under pressure, or will it fall apart in the intense heat?

Following Tuesday's match, Klinsmann said, via Franco Panizo of Soccer by Ives:

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Harry How/Getty Images

When asked how his conversation went with Landon Donovan after telling the American soccer legend he was not a member of the 23-man roster for the World Cup in Brazil, U.S. soccer manager Jurgen Klinsmann stressed how professional Donovan was in handling the news.

One has to wonder how Klinsmann feels now.

In the wake of Klinsmann's decision, Donovan posted a message on Facebook thanking the American soccer public for its near-unwavering support. Rather than leave it at that and go back to the Los Angeles Galaxy with his tail between his aging legs, Donovan went on the offensive, telling reporters in L.A. just how wrong he felt the decision was, via MLSSoccer.com:

Klinsmann held a press conference Friday to discuss the 23 players he chose, and it turned into a session exclusively about the most notable one he omitted. He refused to go into specifics as to why he left Donovan home, saying repeatedly that "at this moment we feel that the other players—without naming any of those guys­—are a tiny little bit ahead of him," as reported on MLSSoccer.com.

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Alex Brandon/AP Images

Jurgen Klinsmann has way too much job security. Clearly Landon Donovan does not.

That's the only way to explain the unexplainable. Klinsmann announced his 23-man team for the World Cup in Brazil on Thursday, and the story is less about the nearly two dozen players who made it than the one who didn't.

Donovan was left off the World Cup roster, meaning he will miss out on his fourth World Cup so Klinsmann can reward 18-year-old Julian Green for spurning Germany to play for the U.S. National Team. For Klinsmann's national team.

This is a power play that is impossible to believe. Hell, I wrote just this week that we should stop pretending Donovan isn't a lock for the trip to Brazil because it would take some enormous Brazucas for Klinsmann to put together a team of 23 without the best player in American history, who has proven he can shine in the bright lights of the World Cup.

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Landon Donovan is widely recognized as the greatest soccer player in American history, and while the 32-year-old is decidedly past his prime at this stage of his illustrious international career, the ruse being put on by national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and the game Donovan is being forced to play because of it, is getting a bit ridiculous.

Donovan will be playing in Brazil. Stop suggesting otherwise.

This dance began in early 2013 when a burned-out Donovan decided to take some time off in an effort to recharge his depleted batteries. At the time, Donovan debated retiring from MLS and questioned whether or not he still had the passion to play domestic or international soccer at the high level he was accustomed to playing.

The timing of Donovan's announcement was curious to say the least, as the United States men's soccer team was in the middle stages of qualifying for the World Cup, a campaign for which Donovan would be counted on heavily. Or so we thought.

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Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

The NBA draft process, including the draft lottery, which took place Tuesday evening, was under intense scrutiny throughout the 2013-14 season. Team after team with little chance of making a playoff run seemed to be on a mission to lose as many games as possible in hopes of landing one of the top picks in what many are calling a once-in-a-generation draft.

Teams have tanked before, but in a draft year with this much talent at the top of the board, the tanking seemed to reach a new high, or low.

This season there were eight teams that finished the regular season with fewer than 30 wins, three of which had fewer than 25 victories, and two—the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers—fewer than 20. It wasn't just that there were bad teams, it was that so many franchises seemed to be that bad on purpose.

Milwaukee and Philadelphia were the worst of the lot, but neither won the lottery on Tuesday evening. Instead, the top pick went to Cleveland, again, despite the Cavaliers only having a 1.7 percent chance of pulling off the first-pick coup and never being accused of tanking at any point this season.

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AP Images

It didn't take long for people to find a reason to be upset with Michael Sam. Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, will soon become the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL who has his own cable television docudrama.

Oprah Winfrey's cable network, OWN, has convinced Sam to let its cameras follow him around, documenting his life as he prepares to become an NFL player.

This news has rankled some football, ahem, traditionalists, who would rather Sam stick to football and not worry about extracurricular interests like being the star of a reality TV show because he has become enormously famous for being gay.

Truth be told, there are really only two things most of America knows about Sam. He was a good college football player who wasn't drafted until the end of the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams. And after last Saturday, we know he has a comparatively diminutive Caucasian boyfriend with wavy hair whom he kissed live on ESPN after hearing he was being drafted.

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Mark J. Terrill/AP Images

Anderson Cooper of CNN had separate sit-down interviews with embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling and NBA legend Magic Johnson this week, and while each version of the same incredibly sordid story were as different as they could possibly be, Cooper did uncover a few undeniable truths.

Truth: Sterling has lost his mind. Or he is losing it. Or any version of that statement we can legally say without being a doctor who clinically studies people who have lost or are losing their minds.

Truth: Johnson totally wants to buy the Clippers.

Combine the video excerpt above about becoming an owner with the transcript excerpt below provided by CNN below, and the end game seems clear. Magic sounds like an owner: