Vardy’s unlikely route to record book

first_imgLONDON, AP – Jamie Vardy’s unconventional route to the English Premier League’s record book began with heartbreaking rejection from his hometown club at 16 and back-breaking work in a carbon-fibre factory. It later took in a conviction for assault, a police curfew that prevented him from completing games for his local team, and a 30-pounds-a-week ($45-a week) contract. And it involved working his way right up English football’s pyramid, first playing on muddy pitches against plumbers and electricians, then uncompromising lower-league defences, and then the bright lights and the big boys of the Premier League. One thing was a constant for Vardy on that up-and-down journey: An ability to score goals – and plenty of them. The hard work has paid off and tomorrow could see his crowning glory, as he goes in search of a scoring record for the ages. The 28-year-old striker, whose direct and hard-working playing style is straight out of the Sunday leagues, has scored in 10 straight Premier League games for Leicester, and another goal against Manchester United this weekend would see him break the record for scoring in consecutive games in the division. The record has been held by former Man United star Ruud van Nistelrooy since 2003. “There’s a lot of hard work gone into it,” Vardy says, “and long may it continue.” Vardy’s blossoming at the highest stage is a shock to most, although some say they saw it coming. Andy Pilley is the chairman of Fleetwood Town, an unheralded club in northern England that took a 150,000-pound ($225,000) punt on Vardy in 2011 when others were holding off despite his prolific form in non-league football. Fleetwood were also a non-league team then, and Vardy scored 32 goals in 34 games the following season to help them break into the Football League. Leicester soon came calling. “I remember saying, ‘We will watch when you play for England and when you play in the Premier League,'” Pilley told The Associated Press. “And, sure enough, that’s come true.” Vardy is currently top of the Premier League’s scoring charts with 13 goals — four more than his nearest rival — after 13 games and is playing alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney in England’s national team. He isn’t too dissimilar to a younger version of Rooney in the way he harasses defenders and grafts for his team, with a scrapper’s mentality. But he is quicker than Rooney ever was, and loves playing on the shoulder of defenders and seeing space ahead of him. This season, everything’s gone right — playing in a Leicester team that has bulldozed its way to the top of the league, Vardy has scored a goal every 74 minutes, all from inside the penalty area. He had only one goal at this stage last season. “It’s been a meteoric rise,” England assistant coach Gary Neville says. “The reports coming through (last season) were that he was raw, a little erratic in front of goal, but lightning quick and a handful. “He’s come into this season and he’s a completely different player. He was unpolished last season. Look at him now.” Vardy has been wearing a cast to protect two broken bones in his wrist, and scored a record-tying goal against Newcastle on Saturday while playing through injury. In truth, he’s taken knocks throughout his career. He joined the youth system of his boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday in 2002 but was released at 16, after being told he was too small. He quit football for eight months and worked in a carbon-fibre factory, a job he had to leave because of the stress on his back.last_img read more

Late rains leaving homeless in cold

first_imgRotary and Kiwanis clubs and churches are now providing meals for the homeless at various times in the afternoon, usually at the church sites or the Samaritan Center. Meanwhile, weather forecasters say more rain is possible this week. (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventHe said he could go to an overnight shelter in Oxnard but prefers to stay in Simi Valley, where he grew up. Virginia Nelson, director of the Samaritan Center for the homeless at 280 Royal Ave., said although her center is usually open just in the mornings from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., she has been keeping the doors open later when it rains. “We’ve stayed open several days because it was just pouring and people were exhausted,” she said. “We’ve given them tarps, sleeping bags, anything we can to help keep them protected.” The Samaritan Center is open weekdays all year and usually attracts about 30 homeless men and women who come for breakfast, showers, laundry facilities and dry clothes. The sleep sites had been open through March 31 at the Knights of Columbus Hall and various Simi Valley churches. SIMI VALLEY – Some homeless people in eastern Ventura County have been searching for dry places to spend the night during a spate of unseasonably late rains that hit the area after Simi Valley’s indoor sleep sites closed for the year. Churches and the Knights of Columbus in Simi Valley traditionally open their doors nightly from Nov. 15 to the end of March, and now that they are closed, some homeless have been camping in the rain. “It’s been tough. I bought a tarp so I could keep my stuff dry,” said Darren Navarro, 34, who said he is normally grateful to take advantage of one of the indoor sleep sites offered by volunteers. “I came from Texas in January and I’ve stayed in the sleep sites while I could. Now I’ve been camping in the hills, just trying to keep warm and dry.” last_img read more