(CNN)Sky Ouyang used to avidly follow Real Madrid, keeping up to date with how the La Liga club was doing from his Shanghai home. A Real shirt from the 2008/09 season -- Cristiano Ronaldo's first campaign as a Real player -- was a prized possession. But then Ronaldo moved to Juventus and Ouyang's loyalties changed. Focused flicked from Spain to Italy; to the back of the wardrobe went the Real shirt, in came Juventus merchandise, and immediately it was the Italian club the 23-year-old followed on every social media platform. Follow @cnnsport "I support Ronaldo first and foremost. The team isn't important, it's whoever he plays for," the social media executive, who first fell under the Portuguese's spell when Ronaldo was the young buck at Manchester United beguiling with step-overs and swerves, tells CNN Sport. Ouyang is not alone in switching his allegiances to Juventus following Ronaldo's $117m summer transfer from a club with whom he established himself as one of the greatest … [Read more...] about Has the digital age changed football fans?
Story highlights Tailgating in US started in 1869 Tradition spans college and pro football Commerce is frowned upon Austin, Texas (CNN)Throughout his four years as a football player at the University of Texas, Todd Bondy had little awareness of the revelry taking place just outside the team's stadium. It was only after completing his football eligibility and remaining on campus to finish his degree that Bondy, a fullback on Texas' vaunted 2005 national championship team, felt he may have been missing out on something big. Follow @cnnsport "It was quite an eye-opening experience," he says of attending his first tailgate party. "It's a sunrise to sundown situation for many." Freed from his seclusion in a team hotel the night before a game, Bondy mixed with Texas students who camped overnight in spots to toss footballs, barbeque, and engage in a fair amount of drinking leading up to kickoff. "It's a hyper-social experience and mini-reunion every week for a lot of people," he … [Read more...] about NFL: From Texas to New York, tailgating fuels football gamedays
Story highlights Barcelona celebrating 25th anniversary of first European Cup win 1992 Wembley win created a lasting legacy Club has now won five European Cups (CNN)There was a time when Barcelona fans did not expect success. To wallow in pessimism was the accepted norm. Trophies? Titles? They were for others, usually the reserve of the grandiose club of the capital, Real Madrid. The European Cup was as elusive as the unicorn: talked about, looked at with wonder, pictured with others but never seen in this Catalonian city by the Mediterranean sea. A club like Barcelona, the nihilistic fans would say, would never reach the zenith of European club football. There was no bombast, no peacocking, just fatalism. The ironhanded years of General Francisco Franco, whose dictatorial regime had crushed Catalonia's earlier limited autonomy, had ruined the spirit. True, Barcelona had been able to sign football greats such as Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona, but two European Cup finals … [Read more...] about The match that changed football
Story highlights Former football players are supporting new education initiative, Flag Football Under 14 "Please don't let your children play football until high school," one Hall of Fame player said (CNN)Several former NFL players called Thursday for an end to tackle football for kids ages 13 and under. Pro football Hall of Famers Nick Buoniconti and Harry Carson joined four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Phil Villapiano and researchers from Boston University to make the announcement. They're working with the Concussion Legacy Foundation to support a new parent education initiative, Flag Football Under 14, that pushes for no tackle football until the age of 14. "I beg of you, all parents to please don't let your children play football until high school," said Buoniconti, 77, who has been diagnosed with dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease. It's not concussions that cause CTE. It's repeated hits, a study finds "I made the … [Read more...] about Former NFLers call for end to tackle football for kids
Story highlights Tackle football remains a popular sport for children, despite parents' safety concerns 982,000 children ages 6 to 12 played tackle football in the US in 2016, survey said The Parent Curve offers a look at the norms and numbers around tough decisions parents face. Where are you on the curve? (CNN)As safety concerns such as spinal injuries, concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy have emerged around college football and the NFL in recent years, some parents have questioned whether to start their kids in the beloved pastime. But is that really keeping them away? In 2016, an estimated 982,000 US children ages 6 to 12 were core participants in tackle football, according to a Sports and Fitness Industry Association survey conducted on more than 24,000 individuals and households. The number includes any child, boy or girl, who has participated in tackle football 26 or more times a year, whether it is through football organizations, school or even pickup … [Read more...] about Would you let your child play football?