Soccer players never get tired of playing the game.

That’s what this page is all about.

Where your FIRST TOUCH SOCCER book ends, the FREE KICK page begins.

It’s a chance for you to learn more about River Plate … and for me to talk about some of the great stories I couldn’t squeeze into the book.

Scroll down to get the latest news … and to learn more about Argentinian soccer. And check out some of the cool collectibles I have in my home.

Enjoy this site, check back whenever you like, and contact me with any questions or comments.

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Breaking News

What’s up with C.A. River Plate

March 7, 2020: Although River Plate fans didn’t realize it, their club’s 1–1 draw with Atletico Tucuman cost them a share of Argentina’s Premier Division championship. Boca Juniors won that day and was one point ahead when the season ended due to the coronavirus. Rafael Santos Borre led the club with 12 goals.

August 17, 2019: River Plate destroyed defending league champion Racing Club 6–1, with Rafael Santos Borré scoring twice. It was the most goals the club had scored against its longtime rival since 1962.

March 14, 2018: River Plate defeated Boca Juniors 2–0 in the Supercopa Argentina. Ignacio Scocco and Gonzalo Martinez scored for River Plate, which won the Supercopa in 2014 and 2016.

December 9, 2017: River defeated Atletico Tucuman 2–1 to win the Copa Argentina for the second time in team history. Ingancio Fernandez scored the winning goal early in the second half. Midfielder Enzo Perez was named Man of the Match.

Primera Division & Copa Argentina

Lucas Alario
(Photo courtesy of Agencia de Noticias ANDES)

  • River Plate plays in the Primera Division (First Division), the top level of Argentine soccer. Thirty clubs play in the Primera Division. Each plays 29 games—one against every other team. At the end of the season, the club with the worst three-year average record is sent down (“relegated”) to the Primera B Nacional league. The Primera B champion moves up to replace it. Argentina’s first soccer league formed in 1891. It was the second organized league in the world at the time.

  • The Copa Argentina (Argentine Cup) is an annual tournament open to soccer clubs throughout the country. The winning team goes on to represent Argentina in the Copa Libertadores for the South American championship. River Plate won the 2016 tournament, defeating Rosario Central, 4–3. Lucas Alario scored a hat trick (3 goals) in the game.

Collector’s Corner

Jose Maria Minella
(© El Grafico)

Oscar Mas
(Black Book Archives)

Americo Gallego
(© Panini)

More treasures from the author’s collection!

  • Jose Maria Minella — Midfielder
    1935-1942
    Jose Maria Minella fueled the famous forward line of La Maquina with his smart passing from midfield. Minella led the club to three Argentine championships as a player and later managed the club to several titles in the 1950s.

  • Norberto Yacono — Defender
    1938-1953
    Norberto Yacono was the first great defensive player in club history. While La Maquina was scoring goals in bunches, he was helping to prevent them. Yacono helped River Plate win six national titles and played in nearly 400 games.

  • Amadeo Carizzo — Goalkeeper
    1945–1968
    During his 20-plus years in goal for River Plate, Amadeo Carizzo changed the way his position was played. He was one of the first goalies to wear gloves and to leave the penalty area to break up plays.

  • Oscar Mas — Forward
    1964—1977
    Oscar Mas scored 198 goals for River Plate—second only to Angel Labruna. Mas was the leading scorer in Argentina’s Primera division twice and went on a famous goal-scoring spree during the 1970 Copa Libertadores.

  • Daniel Passarella — Defender
    1974–1982 & 1988-89
    River Plate fans called Daniel Passarella “El Gran Capitan,” which is Spanish for The Great Captain. He was a brilliant defender who loved to join the attack and catch opponents off-guard. Passarella scored 99 goals for River Plate and later became the club’s coach and president.

  • Americo Gallego — Midfielder
    1981-1988
    Americo Gallego was an amazing passer and a solid defensive player. He was part of Argentina’s winning World Cup team in 1978 and then helped River Plate win its first Copa Libertadores, in 1986.

Fun Facts

Bernabe Ferreyra
(Black Book Archives)

Did You Know?

• The club’s River Plate name comes from the English “translation” of Rio de la Plata. Actually, Rio de la Plata is Spanish for River of Silver. During the building of Buenos Aires Port in 1901, a group of construction workers took a break to play a soccer game. The crates they were working with at the time were stamped “The River Plate” and the name just stuck.

• River Plate’s first international star was Bernabe Ferreyra. He scored 185 goals in 200 matches for the club during the 1930s. He was the first South American player to have a movie made about his life.

• In 2014–15, River Plate became the first team to hold titles in all four of CONMEBOL’s international championships at the same time. CONMEBOL is the South American soccer federation. The four championships were the 2014 Copa Sudamericana, 2015 Recopa Sudamericana, 2015 Copa Libertadores, and 2015 Suruga Bank Championship—a match between the top team in South America and Japan’s top team.

• Club Atletico River Plate sponsors teams in other sports, including basketball, volleyball, and handball. Its women’s field hockey team is one of the best in the country.

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