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Sports

US Women's soccer stars hope 2019 World Cup inspires girls to 'believe in themselves'

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ABC News(NEW YORK) —  The U.S. Women’s National Team is just days away from heading to France for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, a tournament they hope will inspire young girls. “I just want girls to feel like they can believe in themselves and like they have a path to success,” Alex Morgan said Friday on Good Morning America. “Whether they want to become a professional soccer player or not, I think that they can draw inspiration from us this summer on that.” Team USA is fighting to win a second consecutive World Cup title at the tournament, which starts June 7 in France. “For me, growing up, soccer was my passion, something that I wanted to do,” Morgan’s teammate, Carli Lloyd, said. “I didn’t know if that dream was attainable.” “I think being able to watch the ’99 team capture their gold medal, winning the World Championship then, really inspired me,” added Lloyd, who, like Morgan, was a member of the 2015 World Cup winning team. “If you believe in yourself and work hard, any dream is attainable.” The

New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes has surgery on broken ankle, season likely over

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Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Days after suffering multiple ankle fractures in an accident on his ranch, New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes underwent season-ending surgery, the team said Thursday. The 33-year-old Céspedes broke his right ankle in multiple places last weekend. The team did not provide significant details about the accident, other than to say Céspedes stepped in a hole on his ranch. Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the accident did not involve a horse. Céspedes has not played this season, following two surgeries to remove calcification on both of his heels. He played just 38 games last season. Acquired at the 2015 trade deadline, Céspedes helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and the 2016 Wild Card Game. He then signed a four-year, $110 million contract before the 2017 season. The team has not been back to the postseason since, and Céspedes has played only 119 games. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Warriors: Durant won't play at outset of NBA Finals, Cousins expected to return 'at some point'

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Photo by Anthony Causi / ESPN Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) — The Golden State Warriors announced on Thursday that Kevin Durant is “unlikely” to play in the first game of the NBA Finals with a calf strain. Durant suffered the injury in Game Five of the team’s second round playoff series against the Houston Rockets. The Warriors went on to win that series in six games, and swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. The team remains hopeful that Durant could return at some point during the NBA Finals. They will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. That series is currently tied at two games apiece. Golden State also gave an update on center DeMarcus Cousins, who suffered a ruptured quad in their first round series. Cousins is expected to play “at some point” in the Finals. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden unanimously chosen to All-NBA first team

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Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Two of the three finalists for this year’s NBA MVP award — Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and James Harden of the Houston Rockets — were unanimous selections for the league’s All-NBA First Team, the NBA announced Thursday. Joining the pair on the first team were Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić. By making his second consecutive All-NBA team, Antetokoumpo made himself eligible to receive the largest contract in NBA history next summer. The Bucks will be able to offer him a five-year contract worth $247.3 million, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Antetokounmpo would still be one year away from free agency. It also marks the first time in 11 years that LeBron James was not chosen to the All-NBA First Team. He was named to the third team — extending his streak of consecutive selections to 15 years. There were additional salary implications riding on the selections this year, with four players needing to be chosen to

Tiger Woods announces next tournament he'll play in

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Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(DUBLIN, Ohio) — After missing the cut at the PGA Championship last week, Tiger Woods says he will take part in next week’s Memorial Tournament hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Woods has won The Memorial five times. Last year he finished 23rd in the tournament. Since winning The Masters on April 14, Woods’ two rounds at the PGA Championship is the only competitive golf he has played. “There’s no reason why I can’t get up to speed again and crank it back up,” Woods told reporters after Round Two of the PGA Championship. “I’ve got to start feeling a little bit better first before that happens.” After The Memorial, Woods says he will play the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FIFA scraps plans for 48-team World Cup in 2022

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artisteer/iStock(NEW YORK) — The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will now only include 32 teams after FIFA gave up its efforts to expand the field to 48 teams. Soccer’s international governing body had been exploring the possible ways it could expand the field, either by involving neighboring countries or lowering certain FIFA requirements. A statement released Wednesday made clear that neither option was feasible on such short notice. In order to accommodate the 16 additional matches that the expanded field would require, FIFA had explored whether a nearby nation could host those matches. An internal report had already concluded that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia would not be able to join as co-hosts unless they restored economic and travel ties with Qatar which had been severed two years ago. While Kuwait and Oman were considered viable options, the latter has said it wasn’t interested in hosting matches. FIFA has now decided that there isn’t enough time to prepare an additional country for its games. Two of the largest stadiums in Kuwait would have required upgrades to be

ESPN: Michigan in talks with former star Juwan Howard to become next men's basketball coach

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Moses Kinnah/iStock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Former basketball star Juwan Howard is in talks to become the next head coach of his alma mater’s men’s basketball team, ESPN reports. Howard, a member of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five recruiting class in 1991, helped the team reach two national championship games an an Elite Eight appearance. He played 19 seasons in the NBA and has spent the last six years as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat. Howard interviewed for NBA coaching jobs with at least three teams this spring. While no contract has been finalized, Howard reportedly became the frontrunner for the job after Providence College head coach Ed Cooley withdrew his name from consideration this week. Michigan is looking to replace former head coach John Beilein, who left last week to become the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Beilein led the program to two national title games in 12 seasons as head coach. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Star pitcher David Cone discusses new book, New York Yankees

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Former MLB pitcher David Cone was known as one of the most impassioned and intelligent players of his era. The architect of one of the greatest games ever pitched, Cone’s reputation as a pitcher has followed him into the broadcast booth, where he serves as a television analyst for Yankee games. Cone and fellow YES Network baseball analyst Jack Curry have teamed up write a new book, Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher. In a conversation with ABC News, Cone and Curry discuss their book and offer their thoughts on the current state of the New York Yankees. “Not only did he end up taking me on a pitching journey–he gets personal in this book… a lot of emotion,” Curry says, as he reflects on their decision to write the book together. “I was always fascinated by how fascinated David was with pitching… I loved his creativity on the mound.” For Cone, he wanted “someone you really trust [to tell these stories], and Jack was that guy for me.” He describes how both his journey through the

Family member tried to extort NFL star for $5 million, court documents show

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Bob Levey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A relative of NFL star Tyrann Mathieu allegedly tried to extort him for $5 million, according to federal court documents unsealed on Tuesday. Mathieu, who now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs after stints with Houston and Arizona, was allegedly blackmailed over private information, with the relative saying he would send private information to gossip outlet TMZ if he wasn’t paid. Geourvon Keinell Sears, 20, is described in the criminal complaint as “a family member and heretofore a close associate of Victim #1.” While the victim is unnamed in the criminal complaint — only referred to as a professional athlete with the initials “TM” — Mathieu’s lawyer, Denise White of EAG Sports, confirmed to Kansas City ABC affiliate KMBC-TV that Mathieu was the victim. White said Mathieu is dealing with a “private and personal family issue,” and offered no further comment. Sears allegedly spoke to Mathieu on the phone in late April and demanded the NFL star deposit $1.5 million in the suspect’s bank account by the end of the week, according to the complaint.

NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks retirement, family and honoring his dad

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ABC(NEW YORK) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be retired from NASCAR but that’s not keeping him out of the driver’s seat. At home he’s pulling full-time dad duties alongside his wife Amy. He said he is blown away experiencing his daughter Isla’s first milestones as she starts to make some speedy moves. “When she started crawling we were so excited that she started moving around and now she’s just running everywhere,” he said on Good Morning America. “It’s just amazing to watch them every day process new things.” He continued, “I was so worried I was going to miss it and be doing something and not at the house when that happened, but we were all together, the whole family and [it’s] just incredible to see her do that.” “She’s really smart,” he gushed of his 13-month-old. “She just now started to mimic the words we say.” The two-time Daytona 500 winner will be behind the wheel again soon, but it won’t be a race car. He will pilot the 2019 Corvette Grand Sport pace car and lead the field

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