Prep Professional Sports

SPORTS DIGEST: City asked to help fund Special Olympics

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles city officials were asked Feb. 9 to help finance this summer’s 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with City Councilman Tom LaBonge suggesting the city should donate $1.5 million.

Special Olympics World Games Chief Operating Officer Jeff Carr went before the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee to request that the city make “a cash contribution,” and asked that some city employees be loaned out to help fill some of the 117 positions needed to put on the event.

Carr said the Special Olympics World Games will be the largest event in the city since the 1984 Summer Olympics and will draw 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches from around the world.

It will likely to be attended by President Barack Obama and foreign dignitaries, he said.

The event will begin with opening ceremonies on July 25.

Carr said Los Angeles County is donating $1.5 million, the state has earmarked $5 million in this year’s budget, and the U.S. Department of Defense is putting up at least $2.6 million into the sporting event, potentially allocating another $3.3 million.

Carr said 33,000 hotel room nights have been booked because of the event, and the Los Angeles Tourism Board commissioned a study that found $415 million would be generated as the result of the event.

Carr said they have commitments to pay for $52 million of their $70 million budget, the majority of which is coming from private philanthropies and corporations, and the hope is to have 15 to 25 percent of the cost paid by local, state and the federal government.

National soccer team

defeats Panama, 2-0

CARSON — Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey scored in the first half as the U.S. men’s national soccer team defeated Panama 2-0 in an exhibition game Feb. 8 at StubHub Center, ending a five-game winless streak.

Former Montclair High and UCLA standout Nick Rimando made two first-half saves and Sean Johnson did not need to make a save in the second half to complete the shutout in front of a crowd announced at 20,271.

Bradley scored on a 27th-minute penalty kick.

Dempsey took a pass from Gyasi Zardes, drove past Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and put a shot from seven yards out into an unguarded net for his 40th goal in international play, joining Landon Donovan as the only U.S. men’s national team players to reach that milestone.

The U.S. led 6-5 in shots and 5-2 in shots on goal.

Penedo, who plays for Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, made three saves in his 100th appearance for Panama.

Two players with Southern California connections made their first national team starts — Zardes, a forward who attended Leuzinger High School and now plays for the Galaxy — and midfielder Miguel Ibarra, who played at Lancaster High School and UC Irvine and now plays with Minnesota United FC of the second-division North American Soccer League.

Zardes was credited with an assist on Dempsey’s goal. Ibarra played the first 79 minutes before being replaced by Lee Nguyen.

National Little League

champs stripped of title

The Little League team that made America feel good last summer — the kids from Chicago’s South Side who beat the odds and beat all contenders en route to the U.S. Little League championship — are no longer a feel-good story.

Little League International announced Feb. 11 that it is vacating all of the Jackie Robinson West squad’s wins from last year’s tournament, including from the Great Lakes regionals and U.S. championship, because some of its players lived outside its assigned boundaries. Mountain Ridge Little League, out of Las Vegas, officially becomes the 2014 U.S. champ in its place.

The international youth baseball organization also suspended Jackie Robinson West’s manager, ousted the local district administrator and barred the program from tournament play.

Reflecting on what he called “a heartbreaking decision,” Little League International President Stephen Keener said the Chicago team’s players can still be proud of what they accomplished last year.

“But it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome,” Keener added. “As painful as this is, we feel it a necessary decision to maintain the integrity of the Little League program. No team can be allowed to attempt to strengthen its team by putting players on their roster that live outside their boundaries.”