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World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Germany must win for last-16 shot

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It’s a simple task for Germany in its final game of group stage: beat Costa Rica on Thursday or the four-time World Cup champions will go home early for a second consecutive tournament.

Germany was knocked out as reigning World Cup champions in group play four years ago in Russia.

But even a victory might not be enough. Germany is in last place in Group E and, depending on the outcome of Japan versus Spain, goal difference deficit might come into play. Germany has scored two goals through its two games, a 2-1 loss to Japan in its opening match and 1-1 draw against Spain.

“We have a lot of humility,” Germany midfielder Thomas Müller said. “There isn’t much reason to be really euphoric.”

Germany had the same struggles in Russia in 2018 after opening with a 1-0 loss to Mexico before beating Sweden 2-1. Germany would have advanced with a win over South Korea in the final group game, but the defending champions lost 2-0 and went home.

“Now we have to do it differently,” Müller said. “When the football world looks at Germany versus Costa Rica, I think we’re the favorite for those looking from the outside. It’s clear we have to win. Naturally we have respect.”

Costa Rica earned a surprise win over Japan last week and now control its own fate. Costa Rica will advance with a victory over Germany, and even a draw would be enough for Costa Rica to reach the knockout stages if Spain beats Japan in the group’s other game being played at the same time.

“We didn’t come to sit around and take pictures of Qatar,” Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suárez said before the tournament.


Spain still has some work left to do.

The 2010 World Cup champions routed Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening match in Qatar, but a 1-1 draw against Germany in the second game made things interesting again.

The Spanish will face Japan on Thursday and the winner will be guaranteed of reaching the round of 16. Spain could also advance with a loss, depending on the result of Germany’s match against the Costa Ricans.

If Spain wins the group, the team would face the second-place from Group F. That could be Croatia, Belgium or Morocco. After that, a match against Brazil is possible.

“We are not thinking about our opponents in the knockout rounds,” Spain midfielder Koke Resurrección said. “We need to beat Japan first and then we’ll see which team we’ll have to play against. If it’s Brazil in the quarterfinals, so be it, and we’ll try to prepare for it as best as possible.”

Spain coach Luis Enrique is expected to rotate some of his players after making only one change from the first to the second game — Dani Carvajal coming in for César Azpilicueta at right back.

Teenager Gavi, who started the first two matches, trained separately from the group after the 1-1 draw with Germany because of a minor knee injury. He was expected to be available for Thursday’s match, but wasn’t likely to start.

Another midfielder expected to be rested is 34-year-old Sergio Busquets, the only remaining player from Spain’s World Cup-winning squad in 2010. Striker Álvaro Morata, who scored a goal in each of the first two matches after coming off the bench, could get a spot in the starting lineup against Japan.

The Japanese are trying to advance to the knockout round for the second straight World Cup. They could see Ayase Ueda and Junya Ito playing together in attack from the start for the first time.


There should be some young faces on the field when two veteran teams meet in a decisive Group F match.

Croatia, which reached the World Cup final four years ago but lost to France, needs only a draw against Belgium to ensure its place in the round of 16. The Belgians and their aging “Golden Generation” likely need a victory, but a draw may be enough depending on the result in the other group game between Morocco and Canada.

The youngsters could make the difference.

Joško Gvardiol is a 20-year-old center back who joined the national team last year. Nicknamed “Little Pep” because of the similarities between his last name and that of Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, the physical Gvardiol has already become a mainstay in the defense for Croatia.

“At the age of 20 he has demonstrated that he can play at a great level,” Croatia teammate Mateo Kovačić said. “He just needs to continue doing that.”

On the other side is 21-year-old midfielder Charles De Ketelaere. The baby-faced De Ketelaere, or “CDK” as he’s referred to, has only played off the bench so far at this tournament. But he has been impressive with Italian champion AC Milan this season, drawing comparisons to former club great Kaká for his dribbling ability and precise crosses in the playmaker position.

“Some of the young players that haven’t been in the game, they are growing behind the scenes. I can feel that they can be called on when needed,” Belgium coach Roberto Martínez said. “I thought the players that came on against Morocco, they did their jobs, they performed well.”


Morocco is on the verge of reaching the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and coach Walid Regragui made it clear why the team is in such a position.

The players.

“There are other coaches that like to make you think that they’re magicians, they’re the ones, they’re puppeteers,” Regragui said through an interpreter on Wednesday. “The players are the ones that make the coach and not the other way around.”

Morocco would advance with a victory or a draw on Thursday against already-eliminated Canada and also could reach the round of 16 with a loss depending on the result of Belgium’s match with Croatia.

Regragui, who replaced Vahid Halilhodžić in August, said if his tactics hadn’t worked against Belgium, “it was something that probably would have had plenty of Morocco after my skin.”

Canada has lost all five World Cup matches it has played in its history, failing to score in its only other appearance in 1986. After outplaying Belgium for most of their opener this year, but losing 1-0, they took an early lead against Croatia but lost 4-1.


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Blue Jays hire Don Mattingly as bench coach

TORONTO (AP) — Don Mattingly is joining the Toronto Blue Jays as bench coach to manager John Schneider, the team announced Wednesday.

The former New York Yankees slugger, a six-time All-Star, joins the Blue Jays after seven seasons as manager of the Florida Marlins, where he won NL Manager of the Year honors in 2020.

Mattingly previously spent five seasons as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning three division titles in that span. He also worked as hitting coach and bench coach for the Yankees, and as hitting coach of the Dodgers before his managerial stint in Los Angeles.

In Toronto, Mattingly replaces Casey Candaele, who was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to serve as Schneider’s bench coach after the Jays fired manager Charlie Montoyo in July, replacing him with Schneider. The Blue Jays said Candaele will resume his job as manager of the Triple-A Bisons in 2023.

Mattingly spent his entire 14-year playing career with the Yankees, winning nine Gold Glove awards at first base, three Silver Slugger awards, the 1984 AL batting title and the 1985 AL MVP award.


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Social media makes Jada Williams a face of high school NIL

SAN DIEGO (AP) — It’s the middle of the afternoon and Jada Williams begins a live stream on Instagram. In a heartbeat, more than 1,000 of her 671,000 followers join the broadcast and begin typing in questions and comments.

Williams does her best to follow along as the comments and questions scroll past. She laughs and interacts with fans, whether the topic is her basketball career or what shoes and clothes she should wear on an upcoming trip.

If there’s a face of the bold new frontier of name, image and likeness (NIL) at the high school level, it might as well be the 17-year-old Williams, who is a senior point guard at San Diego’s La Jolla Country Day. Engaging and charismatic, she constantly updates her feed with photos and videos from her 6 a.m. basketball workouts, anything to do with her high school team and women’s hoops and her flair for fashion.

Social media is a big part of NIL, which allows athletes to get paid without jeopardizing their eligibility. There are certainly bigger names in the prep ranks, like Bronny James, the son of LeBron James, and Arch Manning, the third generation of the first family of quarterbacks. James has more than 10 million followers on social media and Mikey Williams of San Diego’s San Ysidro High and a Memphis commit has more than 5 million.

Jada Williams has been a fixture on social media since she was 11 and stands out because of her flair for engagement. With the advent of NIL, she has parlayed her basketball skills and social media presence into six major endorsement deals that bring in a total of six figures a year. Among them are Spalding, Gym Shark and Move Insoles, which was cofounded by NBA star Damian Lillard.

She moved with her mother, Jill McIntyre, and an older sister from a Kansas City suburb to enroll at the same high school that counts WNBA star Kelsey Plum among its alums, and take advantage of California being the first state to allow high school NIL.

Williams’ videos of crazy basketball shots first got her noticed on social media and ultimately led to endorsement deals.

“As a young kid everyone just expected the boys to do all the crazy stuff,” Williams said. “I was doing 360 layups and between-the-legs layups and people haven’t seen that from a girl. It made a lot of people realize, ‘Oh my.’

“So then a lot of girls started doing it and then we just all created a women’s basketball community that we’re now fighting for to get equal rights and stuff. It’s kind of cool to see.”

Williams began mixing in her interest in fashion. “I am Jada without basketball as well,” she said. “And then it kind of took on a life of its own. I had to get used to it at a young age. But now it’s something fun. I don’t stress out about it but it also does help me get a lot of endorsement deals. That’s my platform that I use to kind of spark that.”

She decommitted from UCLA and then committed to Arizona late in the summer, announcing her decision during an Instagram live. At one point, she had some current Wildcat athletes join her.

One of her former club coaches, James Parker, remembers seeing up to 60 kids gathered along one baseline at a game a year ago, all hoping to meet Williams. She’s managed not to be overwhelmed by the attention, saying she considers her social media followers more like family than fans.

“That’s kind of how I got here, and so I make sure I continue to thank them because they’re also following me,” she said.


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Defense coming through for attack-minded Brazil at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — For all the attacking power that Brazil brought to the World Cup, the defense has been impressing the most for the five-time champion in Qatar.

After two matches, Brazil is yet to allow an attempt on target, and goalkeeper Alisson has been mostly a spectator.

Defensive midfielder Casemiro has been nearly perfect in the first line of protection, with central defenders Thiago Silva and Marquinhos performing at a high level from the start.

“We have maintained a good performance defensively,” said Thiago Silva, one of the veterans in the Brazil squad at age 38. “That gives confidence to our players up front; they have more freedom to attack.”

Good defending by Tite’s teams is not new. In Brazil’s 78 matches under his command in the national team, the Seleção conceded only 27 goals. He has led Brazil in 59 victories, 14 draws and five losses.

Brazil will look to take that form into its final Group G match, against Cameroon on Friday, when a draw will be enough to give Brazil first place.

With its spot in the round of 16 secured, Tite is expected to rotate his players against the African rivals.

He made changes in all positions in the team’s training session Wednesday, with Ederson playing in goal, Dani Alves in defense, Fabinho in midfield and Antony and Gabriel Martinelli in attack.

Brazil opened its World Cup campaign by defeating Serbia 2-0 with two second-half goals by striker Richarlison, then it beat Switzerland 1-0 with an 83rd-minute winner by Casemiro.

The last time Brazil didn’t concede in the group stage was back in 1986, when it played in a group with Spain, Algeria and Northern Ireland in the tournament in Mexico.

The only other teams not to concede after the first two group matches in Qatar were Poland and Morocco. Brazil was the only one of the three that opened with two victories.

Tite picked an offensive-minded squad for the World Cup, bringing nine forwards to Qatar, but he lost the team’s biggest star when Neymar damaged his right ankle ligaments in the match against Serbia. Brazil struggled without the playmaker against Switzerland, and it was Casemiro who came through with the late winner.

Brazil was never really threatened in the matches against Serbia and Switzerland, which each had only four attempts on goal, none of them on target. It achieved the clean sheets despite losing its full backs because of injuries — right back Danilo hurt his ankle in the first match and left back Alex Sandro injured his hip late in the second game.

Neymar, Danilo and Alex Sandro are not available for the match against Cameroon.

Brazil coach Tite used Éder Militão, who usually plays as a central defender with Real Madrid, in Danilo’s position against Switzerland, and Alex Telles replaced Alex Sandro.

Brazil will try to win its 10th match in a row, which would tie its previous biggest winning streak with Tite from 2019 to 2021.


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Beasts of East: All 8 teams in East divisions above .500

Two years after no team in the NFC East won more than seven games, all four have pulled off the trick with six weeks to go.

Washington (7-5) beat Atlanta on Sunday to join Philadelphia (10-1), Dallas (8-3) and the Giants (7-4) with winning records, giving the division a combined winning percentage of .711 for the best mark through 12 weeks by any division since the merger.

Making the performance more impressive is the turnaround from 2020, when Washington won the NFC East with a 7-9 record.

The AFC East isn’t far behind this season, with all four teams in that division also posting winning records, with Miami and Buffalo tied for the top spot at 8-3, followed by the Jets (7-4) and Patriots (6-5).

Before this season, the only times since the league went to eight divisions in 2002 when all four teams in a division had winning records through 12 weeks came in the 2021 AFC West, the 2014 AFC North, and the AFC East and NFC South in 2008.

The NFC South is at the other end of the division standings, with Tampa Bay (5-6) in the lead despite having a losing record. The only other times since 2002 when every team had a losing record through 12 games came in the 2020 NFC East, the 2015 NFC East, the 2014 NFC South and the 2010 NFC West.

According to projections from Football Outsiders, there is a 16% chance that the entire NFC East makes the playoffs and a 15% chance that happens for the AFC East. It’s more likely both divisions will have four teams with winning records, with the NFC East doing that 52% of the time and the AFC East 60% of the time.

Football Outsiders projects all four NFC South teams to have a losing record 35% of the time.

300 CLUB

Josh Jacobs punctuated the best day of his career in memorable fashion.

Jacobs scored on an 86-yard run in overtime to lead the Raiders past the Seahawks for the fourth-longest scrimmage touchdown ever in overtime, trailing only Ron Jaworski’s 99-yard TD pass to Mike Quick for the Eagles in 1985, Garrison Hearst’s 96-yard TD run for the 49ers in 1998 and Teddy Bridgewater’s 87-yard TD pass to Jarius Wright for the Vikings in 2014.

Jacobs finished with 224 yards rushing and two TDs and 74 yards receiving, becoming the sixth player ever to gain at least 300 yards and score multiple touchdowns from scrimmage in a single game, joining Cloyce Box (1950), Billy Cannon (1961), Stephone Paige (1985), Priest Holmes (2002) and Adrian Peterson (2007).

Jacobs is the only player since at least 1950 to rush for at least 225 yards and have at least 70 yards receiving in a game.


The Chargers and Jaguars took late-game gambles that paid off in a big fashion.

Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley and Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson both opted to go for 2-point conversions in the closing seconds when trailing by one.

Both teams delivered, making this the first week since the NFL added the play in 1994 that two teams won on a 2-point conversion in the final two minutes of regulation.

The Chargers scored with 15 seconds left and the Jaguars did it with 14 seconds to play. Before Sunday, only two teams in NFL history had scored on a game-winning 2-point conversion in the final 15 seconds, with the Vikings doing it in 2002 and the Chargers in 2018.

There now have been 23 teams since 2000 that went for 2 when trailing by one point in the final minute, with 11 of those attempts being successful.

The win by Jacksonville was the first for the franchise when trailing by at least seven points in the final minute of regulation after losing their first 183 tries.


The San Francisco 49ers ended the fourth-longest scoring streak in NFL history.

The Niners blanked New Orleans 13-0 on Sunday, ending the Saints’ streak of scoring in 332 consecutive games.

The last time the Saints failed to score came in the 2001 season finale when they lost 38-0 to the 49ers. That was the longest active scoring streak in the NFL, two games more than Baltimore’s current run.

The NFL record for consecutive games with at least a point is 420 games by the 49ers from 1977-2004.

San Francisco has held four straight opponents scoreless in the second half, just the eighth time that has happened since the merger.


Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts threw for 153 yards and ran for 157 on Sunday night in a win over Green Bay, joining an exclusive group.

The only other players to rush and pass for at least 150 yards in the same game are Lamar Jackson, Michael Vick and Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick did his in the 2012 playoffs against Green Bay.


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John Herdman wants to remain as Canada coach through 2026

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — John Herdman wants to remain as Canada’s coach through the 2026 World Cup in North America after leading the nation to its return to soccer’s top tournament.

“Eleven years of work in this country and I’ve been pioneering for a long period of time, and you’ll not find anyone as passionate as I am about this program or about these players or about this staff,” Herdman said Wednesday. “You’ll not find one as passionate who wants to take the country to that next level. And you’ll not meet anyone that’s experienced this moment with this team — and the learning that I’ll take from this to take into the next one.”

In the World Cup for the first time since 1986, Canada lost its opening match 1-0 despite outplaying Belgium, then took a second-minute lead against Croatia before losing 4-1 and getting eliminated. The Canadians close against Morocco on Thursday.

Herdman, a 47-year-old from Britain, coached New Zealand’s women’s team from 2006-11 and Canada’s women from 2011-18, winning Olympic bronze medals in 2012 and 2016.

He took over the Canadian men in 2018 and led them to first place in qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Herdman was especially proud of the way Canada played against Belgium.

“Thierry Henry told me this team played them off the park,” Herdman said of the former French star, now an assistant to Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. “I’ll take that, because if that’s our foundation, we got a great four years ahead, and I can’t wait to get after it.”

Herdman sees part of the team’s mission as increasing the sport’s prominence in Canada. Alphonso Davies’ goal was Canada’s first in five World Cup games, and Herdman hopes the nation will get its first win against Morocco, which is contending for a spot in the knockout stage.

Canada will co-host the 2026 World Cup with the United States and Mexico, staging games in Toronto and Vancouver, British Columbia. Canadian soccer officials hope this year’s World Cup and the build-up to the next spark increased youth interest in the sport.

“It’s those kids and those schools that will keep believing that Canada is a football country,” Herdman said, “because they’ve seen that Belgium game, they’ve seen Davies score against Croatia and they know we are — I nearly said it, yeah, we’re a football country. We’re there. And you can’t deny that. No one can.”


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Kane extends World Cup goal drought but equals Beckham feat

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — For Harry Kane, the wait for a first goal at this World Cup goes on.

Substituted after 58 minutes of England’s 3-0 win against Wales on Tuesday, he embraced his replacement Callum Wilson and made his way to the bench to watch the remainder of the game.

Gareth Southgate clearly thought the job was done and qualification to the knockout stage secured.

Kane, despite shaking hands with his coach, might not have shared that view.

For a man who is famously reluctant to sit out any opportunity to add to his goals record, it was likely a frustrating watch from the sideline at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

Against a Wales team broken by goals from Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden, Kane was looking to finally get off the mark in Qatar. Instead, Rashford added a third of the match and his third of the tournament.

“He’s enjoying his football, but for any forward you want to be scoring goals,” Rashford said.

England scored nine goals as it topped Group B, but none came from its most prolific forward.

Yet Kane, who was the Golden Boot winner at the World Cup in Russia four years ago and is two short of Wayne Rooney’s all-time England record of 53 goals, has still made a notable contribution.

Providing the cross for Foden’s second half strike, he became England’s first player to register three assists at a World Cup since David Beckham in 2002. He can add to that total when England play Senegal in the round of 16 on Sunday.

“You need goals from all areas, and it is a problem for opposition teams if the threat is coming from other areas of the pitch,” Southgate said. “Across the three games pretty much all of our forward line has got off the mark, if not with goals then with important, quality assists and that’s a good place for the forwards to be. They want to have that confidence.”

England’s captain has always been a creator as well as a finisher and his assist statistics in his opening three games – also setting up goals for Raheem Sterling and Rashford against Iran – is evidence of just how complete a forward he is.

It also underlines his enduring importance to England.

Kane hurt his ankle and foot in the opening match against Iran, but Southgate has started the 29-year-old striker in all three matches.

“It is competition for places, which is what we need and people have to deliver,” Southgate said.

Goals are not a particular concern for England, with Rashford, Bukayo Saka (two), Sterling, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham all scoring so far.

Rashford is the tournament’s co-leading scorer alongside Kylian Mbappé, Cody Gakpo and Enner Valencia – and Southgate has more forward options now than in previous years.


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Not much room for youth in Croatia vs. Belgium at World Cup

DOHA , Qatar (AP) — When Belgium’s “Golden Generation” meets Croatia’s accomplished veterans in a decisive World Cup match on Thursday, there won’t be much room on the field for younger players.

Croatia, which reached the final four years ago, and Belgium, which finished third in 2018, each rely on a vast array of experienced players.

Croatia’s 20-year-old Joško Gvardiol and 25-year-old Nikola Vlašić, plus Belgium’s 21-year-old Charles De Ketelaere, are some of the exceptions — with Belgium’s 21-year-old midfielder Amadou Onana suspended for the game after picking up two yellow cards.

Nicknamed “Little Pep” because of the similarities between his last name and that of Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, the physical Gvardiol has already become a fixture at center back for Croatia and Leipzig, which recently extended his contract to 2027.

Despite the contract extension, Gvardiol has been linked with a possible to transfer to Chelsea, where he could join Croatia teammate Mateo Kovačić.

“At the age of 20 he has demonstrated that he can play at a great level,” Kovačić said. “He just needs to continue doing that.”

Nikola Vlašić, the younger brother of former high jump world champion Blanka Vlašić, usually plays as an attacking midfielder. But on a Croatia team featuring the likes of Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović and Kovačić in midfield, Vlašić is used as a winger.

Statistically one of best midfielders in Serie A this season with Torino, where he is on loan from West Ham, Vlašić is often involved in the buildup to goals and also puts a lot of shots on target.

Vlašić exited Croatia’s opening 0-0 draw with Morocco at halftime after picking up a knock, but returned as a substitute in a 4-1 win over Canada.

“Everyone thinks about the three midfielders, and rightly so, but this team now carries even more threat,” Belgium coach Roberto Martínez said of Croatia.

“(Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić) highlights new players that are coming in around those three players.”

Belgium also relies on a veteran attacking core of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku — who hasn’t been 100% physically — in attack, meaning that the baby-faced De Ketelaere, or “CDK” as he’s referred to, has only played off the bench so far at this tournament.

But De Ketelaere impressed upon his arrival at Italian champion AC Milan in August, drawing comparisons to former Rossoneri standout Kaká for his dribbling ability and precise crosses in the playmaker position.

“Some of the young players that haven’t been in the game, they are growing behind the scenes. I can feel that they can be called on when needed,” Martínez said. “I thought the players that came on against Morocco, they did their jobs, they performed well.”

Croatia can secure a round-of-16 spot with either a win or a draw, while Belgium needs to win to be sure of advancing.

Croatia and Morocco lead Group F with four points each, Belgium has three points and Canada has zero and is already eliminated.

If Canada beats Morocco, it’s possible that both Croatia and Belgium will advance.

“It’s very difficult to go into the game looking just for a point — that’s not our mentality,” Vlašić said. “We need to go for a win because if you just look for a point, you concede a goal and you are in panic mode all of a sudden. So we are going for the win.”


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Changes let high school athletes bank big endorsement bucks

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jada Williams was a social media star and a talented point guard when she moved with her mother from a Kansas City suburb to San Diego, looking to play basketball for a high school powerhouse and parlay her online prowess into endorsement deals.

She found it all in California, which has become the trendsetter among the 19 states that allow high school athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness without affecting their eligibility to play in college.

The 17-year-old Williams is now pulling in six figures a year from six major endorsement deals. The senior at La Jolla Country Day School has signed to play at the University of Arizona.

“It’s definitely a big change for me, but it was good in every single direction,” Williams said during a break from her exhaustive practice routine, which she often documents with videos and photos posted online. It was the right decision for school and basketball, “and on top of that I was able to start capitalizing off NIL,” shorthand for name, image and likeness.

The effort that began when former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon took on the college sports establishment over NIL rules is quickly reshaping high school sports. Elite prep athletes are banking six and even seven figures before heading to college. The buzz extends to social media, where the top stars have millions of followers on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, which in turn helps boost their NIL valuation.

“It’s getting bigger by the day,” said Michael Caspino, a Newport Beach attorney who became NIL savvy while reviewing deals for his son’s high school friends and pushing back against the ones that tried to take advantage of the athletes.

Three high school stars are at the top of’s NIL valuations, which include both college and high school players. They are Bronny James, the son of Lakers star LeBron James; Arch Manning, the third generation of the first family of quarterbacks; and Mikey Williams, a basketball star at San Ysidro High in San Diego.

James tops the list with a valuation of $7.5 million. He attends Sierra Canyon High in the Los Angeles area and recently signed a deal with Nike. Mikey Williams, who has committed to Memphis and has a multiyear deal with Puma, has a valuation of $3.6 million. Manning, who attends Isidore Newman High in New Orleans and has committed to Texas, is at $3.4 million.

The On3 NIL valuation, considered the industry standard, uses performance, influence and exposure data. While the algorithm includes data from deals, it does not act as a tracker of the value of NIL deals.

Jada Williams has a half-dozen deals, including with Spalding; Move Insoles, which was co-founded by NBA star Damian Lillard; Lemon Perfect, a bottled water company in which Beyonce is a major investor; and Gym Shark.

“My social media was already kind of big so I was just doing basically NIL without getting paid because it was illegal,” she said.

After being approached by a few large companies with NIL offers, the family discovered that the deals weren’t permitted in Missouri and that California was the only state that allowed it at the time.

“I realized wow, this is insane,” said Williams’ mother, Jill McIntyre. Jada Williams moved to San Diego with her mother and an older sister ahead of her junior year.

“She had to take advantage of the opportunity where she can literally invest in her future at 17,” said McIntyre, a regional sales manager for a tech company who helps her daughter manage her business affairs.

“We’re still young, but at the same time we’re learning about how to manage money and just learn a lot of life skills that are way bigger than just NIL,” said Williams, a two-time gold medalist with the U.S. junior national team who has incorporated as Jada Williams Inc. and plans to start a foundation.

Malachi Nelson, a senior quarterback at Los Alamitos High who has committed to USC, landed big deals even before signing with Klutch Sports, the agency that represents LeBron James. He’s 42nd on the top 100 with a valuation of $794,000, 10 spots ahead of UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Jada Williams is at No. 71, with a valuation of $550,000.

California was the first state to allow high school athletes to sign NIL deals. Southern California has always been a hotbed of prep talent. Athletes from other regions, like Williams, are moving to the Golden State to take advantage of NIL. Some transfer for just their senior season.

NIL has become such a big deal that a Los Alamitos High coach who helps players with recruiting also guides them through the new frontier.

“We’ve got guys on our team making a heck of a lot more money than I am this year,” Los Alamitos head coach Ray Fenton said. “All across the country, kids are getting paid a lot of money for deals they sign.”

Peter Schoenthal, an NIL expert who is CEO of Athliance in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, predicts that every state will allow high school athletes to take advantage of NIL within a year or so.

“We have 8-year-olds in this country and all over the world that have YouTube channels where they’re making millions of dollars reviewing toys,” Schoenthal said. “There’s no way to really stop an individual who has marketing ability to stop them from their right to publicity, whether or not they’re high school athletes, whether or not they’re big-time recruits.”

Schoenthal and Caspino help athletes avoid the downside of NIL, such as one-sided deals, and they offer assistance with understanding taxes and handling money.

“Most of the families I’ve worked with are very low on the economic totem pole in our society. For the first time, they’re able to have economic stability in their life,” said Caspino, whose son, Sam, is a freshman tight end at SMU.

Coaches, too, try to keep athletes from getting in trouble.

“You really have to be grounded as a family, because you have 18-year-old kids that all of a sudden walk into a lot of money, and they think it’s endless,” Fenton said. “It could be $10,000, and for a kid who’s never had $5 in his pocket in his whole life, that $10,000 is an incredible amount. What they don’t realize is $10,0000 runs out, and it runs out pretty fast.”

Bruce Bible, the associate head coach at Los Alamitos, cautions against young athletes becoming “all about NIL.”

“The main thing has to be the main thing — academics and athletics. NIL is secondary,” he said. He also tries to “temper expectations” because not everyone is going to get an NIL deal.

Bible said Nelson, who has a deal with a Los Angeles-area hospitality group founded by a former USC walk-on, is a perfect example of what drives NIL.

“It’s not based on the school he’s going to. It’s based on him and what he’s doing in his career and how marketable he is,” Bible said.

“This is the wave of the future and it’s just going to get bigger and bigger,” he added. “Can you imagine LeBron James in high school nowadays, what that would look like?”

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Germany needs a win and help to avoid World Cup early exit

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After getting a favor from Costa Rica, Germany needs a win against the Central American team on Thursday to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages at the World Cup.

Costa Rica’s surprise win over Japan on Sunday ensured Germany did not face the prospect of immediate elimination with a loss to Spain later that day. With the pressure off, Germany fought back from a goal down and drew 1-1 thanks to Niclas Füllkrug’s late equalizer to postpone its fate to its final game in Group E.

Germany will advance to the round of 16 with a win if Spain also beats Japan in the other group game. Costa Rica controls its fate and will advance with a win.

“We didn’t come to sit around and take pictures of Qatar,” Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suárez said before the tournament.

Even a draw would be enough for Costa Rica to reach the knockout stages if Spain beats Japan in the group’s other game being played at the same time.

Spain leads Group E with four points after two games, followed by Japan and Costa Rica both on three, while Germany has just one.

“We have a lot of humility,” said Germany midfielder Thomas Müller, who pointed to the team’s position in the table. “There isn’t much reason to be really euphoric.”

Müller said Germany’s late draw against Spain provided a morale boost for the team, as well as the chance to get to the knockout stages and “show the football world what we’re really made of.”

Germany was in a similar situation at the last World Cup in Russia, where Joachim Löw’s team lost its opening game 1-0 to Mexico before beating Sweden 2-1. A win against South Korea in the final group game would have ensured the defending champions progressed, but it slipped to a 2-0 loss and crashed out.

“Now we have to do it differently,” Müller said. “When the football world looks at Germany vs. Costa Rica, I think we’re the favorite for those looking from the outside. It’s clear we have to win. Naturally we have respect.”

If Japan wins or draws it could go down to goal difference between Germany and Japan or Spain, depending on the result.

Costa Rica will go through with a win, while a draw will be enough if Japan loses.

“Costa Rica has shown two faces at this World Cup,” Füllkrug said. “The game against Spain is difficult to evaluate. Then they made a nuisance of themselves in the second game against Japan. They had better positional play and let the ball run. We’re prepared for them playing like they did against Japan.”


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