Up until Saturday morning, I had never heard of Adnan Januzaj. All of a sudden, he was subbing in for Manchester United, playing left wing, feinting, dribbling, drawing defenders to him, then distributing the ball toward goal.
He has just turned 19.
Listening to the very good British broadcasters, I deduced that this stripling was born in Belgium, with roots in Albania….and Turkey…and Serbia.…and even Kosovo, if Kosovo had a full international team.
The broadcasters seemed to hope that since the young man had been playing at the Man U club for three years he might have some kind of residence eligibility for England. Probably not, but one can understand their hopefulness.
Personally, I tried to remember if the Emma Lazarus poem, The New Colossus, (“Give me your tired, your poor….”) had any reference to your nimble-of-feet, but a quick scan suggests it does not.
Still, wouldn’t it be nice for the U.S. if it could produce just one kid with a touch like that? I suspect that if an American kid started juking around like that, Coach, on the sidelines would scream, “Cut the cute stuff!” Probably the Man U coaches do, too. But coaches cannot totally wring balance out of a kid.
Couldn’t the U.S. go out and borrow somebody like Adnan Januzaj from a more advanced soccer culture?
It’s been trying. The U.S. has qualified for seven straight World Cups with the help of solid recruits with an American parent, like Earnie Stewart (Netherlands) and Thomas Dooley (Germany). The hunt has intensified under Jürgen Klinsmann, with his ties to Germany.
To date, the best recruit has been Jermaine Jones, a swaggering, broad-shouldered enforcer who reminds me of Charles Oakley, the hit man of the great Knicks basketball teams of the ‘90’s. Jones doesn’t smile as much as Oak did, but he does hit people. Every team needs one. Jones makes the U.S. better because no opponent wants to go near him. He learned that in the Bundesliga.
But where is the player with the shiftiness of a Gale Sayers jitterbugging to the outside in American football, faking inside, going outside, hips swiveling?
Now the U.S. is going back to the supply depot. On Wednes- day evening, it will unveil Julian Green, all of 18, who has come along in the great system of Bayern Munich but has not yet been scooped up for the German national team. Born in Florida, son of an American soldier, Green had the choice of soccer nationalities, and he has gone with the U.S. He would not be in uniform Wednesday if Klinsmann did not think he could play up front in this June’s World Cup in Brazil.
This bold move suggests Klinsmann does not think Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey – who helped produce the epic 91st-minute goal against Algeria in 2010 – can approach 2010 form in the Group of Death this June.
Klinsmann has a contract through 2018. So, essentially, does Julian Green.
Wednesday’s game against Mexico, in Glendale, Ariz., will begin at 11:15 pm eastern time.
Speaking of Mexico, the aforementioned Adnan Januzaj turned the corner and set up Chicharito (Javier Hernández of Mexico) for the fourth goal by Man U on Saturday.
That’s Januzaj, No. 44, coming from the left. He’s 19. And he’s Belgian, or Albanian….but no matter what Emma Lazarus wrote, he is not American.
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.