Soccer Robots Take Over the World

Salon writes abouts RocoCup Soccer, a robotics competition who’s aim is to field a team of robots that can beat the world cup champions. The bar is pretty high and I’m sure that’s going to spur progress tremendously. However, I don’t think the world’s elite players would ever set foot on a field against robots and risk any career threatening injury. Would you go up for a header if there’s a big piece of plastic or metal going for it too?

The goal is to achieve what Veloso calls "the essential loop: developing robots that function simultaneously with action (movement), cognition (thinking), perception (vision and awareness)." Veloso is particularly interested in multiplayer robotic systems: how robots work with one another, share information and prioritize tasks. Soccer’s reliance on teamwork serves as an excellent model.

Q&A With MLS Comissioner Don Garber

  • …people have stopped wondering if the league will pull an XFL exit,

    "We now are treated like other leagues where we get the business questions about our attendance and about our [television] ratings and about our investors. It’s no longer about will we be here tomorrow."

  • …new investors are about to come in,

    "The economy is improving and we think our structural changes are making us a more viable investment. We now have more investors looking at getting involved in the league than ever before, mostly in the form of expansion."

  • …two new teams will be in the leauge in 2005,

    "We’ve got many cities that have expressed interest. In Cleveland, the potential investor there is close to finalizing a deal to purchase property for a potential stadium. We’ve made progress in Houston. We’ve made lots of progress in Tulsa and Oklahoma City."

England likes the American Keepers

The best quote of the article came from Ivan Gazidis that makes it sound like its no big deal that the biggest club (moneywise) in the world wants an MLS player.

"There's discussions about our top players every day, as clubs around the world express interest on a regular basis."

Another tie for DC

Yes, United managed another league tie this past weekend – but this time they scored a goal!

Two observations:

  • Ryan Nelsen is the man, both in defense and in midfield. Too bad he got red carded in this game.
  • Nice to see a crowd of 21,00 at RFK to support DC through its worst league start ever.

Oh yeah Ray, give Ali some minutes!

Ed Morgans has a great analysis of the match on the United website.

Let’s party likes it’s 1999

If the USA does get it, it should only help the dying WUSA which has burnned through it initial investment money, has two of its media funders – Time Warner & Comcast – pulling out their involvement, and had its founding member take a paycut. I hope Women’s Soccer can make it as a pro-sport even though its a tough environment for pro-sports overall, as I think it can only help grow soccer overall.

There’s a lot of speculation over where the event would be held, since stadiums will likely be taken over American Football by then. I think the mind’s at MLS would love to have some of the tournament games in Columbus Crew Stadium and also in the LA Galaxy’s new stadium. I expect most of the games to be held in city’s that have a WUSA team and a big stadium like Boston, Washington DC, and San Jose.

Details available on the NY Times, Washington Post, and New Jersey Start Ledger.