Russ Anderson at the southern terminus of the A.T.On his quest to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, Russ Anderson of Linville, N.C., has endured hypothermic conditions, Army rangers with machine guns, and bears that know how to get food bags out of trees. Not bad for a 71-year-old retiree who’d never spent a night on the A.T. before deciding to hike it from end to end.How much of the A.T. have you hiked so far? I’m 178.5 miles in. I started in Springer, made it to the Nantahala Gorge, then skipped the Smokies and hiked into Damascus. This summer, I hope to start in Damascus and head north, then come back to do the Smokies in the winter.Is it as tough as everyone says? It’s like six or seven hours of extreme manual labor. Even if you’re 25 years old, it’s difficult. Those first days in Georgia were tough. Foggy, drizzling rain, cold, hail, sleet, freezing winds. Once I arrived at a shelter, I stripped off my rain gear and got into my sleeping bag. It took two hours to get warm again. But it’s worth it. The trail itself, the people I’ve met…it’s worth it.What does your wife think about you thru-hiking the A.T.? She doesn’t like it. A person my age is supposed to be the leader of a family. I’m not supposed to disappear for six months. In a sense, I feel like I’m cheating the people in my lives. My wife and I are empty nesters, so she’s alone when I’m out there hiking. Even my friends think I’m crazy. They say I’m going to get eaten by a bear or fall off a cliff.What made you decide to undertake this hike? I’m a retired naval officer. My life has been filled with unusual adventure. I just need more of that. Only 11 people over 70 have ever thru-hiked the A.T. And none of them had tried hiking it for the first time over 70. So that got me interested.What’s been your most memorable moment on the trail so far? My second night out, I was sleeping in a shelter with 10 other people. All of a sudden, I hear a big explosion. Then machine gun fire. Then I hear yelling and shouting. None of us knew what was going on. Everybody was wicked scared, thinking the Russians were coming or something. Turns out, we were in the middle of an Army Ranger training exercise. We sat there for two hours while things blew up all around us. 1 2
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Two more former winners – John Higgins and Shaun Murphy – also won their opening matches.World number one Mark Selby gets his campaign underway later. Northern Ireland Open winner Mark King was beaten in the first round at the UK Championship – after forgetting his cue and then being docked a frame for being late.He eventually lost 6-2 to Sam Craigie.Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is safely through after beating Boonyarit Keattikun 6-nil.
U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called 26 players to Carson, Calif., for the USA’s first FIFA World Cup preparation camp in 2014. The camp starts Jan. 6 and will be held in California and San Paulo, Brazil. U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called 26 players to Carson, Calif., for the USA’s first FIFA World Cup preparation camp in 2014.The camp, which runs from Jan. 6-Feb. 1, will be conducted across two continents. After six days in California, a 23-player group will base in Sao Paulo from Jan. 13-25 to give the players and staff a dry run of this summer’s tournament in Brazil. The team will then return to the U.S. Soccer National Training Center.The roster is packed with veterans of the World Cup qualifying campaign as a total of 10 players helped the United States advance to the finals for the seventh-consecutive time. At the other end of the spectrum, nine players will be looking to earn their first cap for the Senior Team.“We are all very excited for this camp because, as a team, it will give us our first taste of Brazil,” said Klinsmann. “This is a very important camp in our preparations for the World Cup. It’s important for the players to continue developing their bond and sense of urgency for the tournament. It’s important for us to see how they do in Brazil, how the new players fit with the group and to make sure everyone is focused on reaching the highest level for next summer.” Jurgen Klinsmann Previews 2014 January CampThe camp culminates with a friendly against Korea Republic on Feb. 1 in Carson, Calif. Kickoff at the StubHub Center is set for 2 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.More than 15,000 tickets have been sold for the USA’s first game in the New Year, which is one of only two games currently scheduled before the naming of the World Cup roster in May. Fans can purchase tickets through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION – Detailed RosterGOALKEEPERS (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)DEFENDERS (10): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)MIDFIELDERS (8): Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)FORWARDS (4): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)ROSTER NOTES Ten players on the camp roster appeared in World Cup qualifying matches for the USA in 2013. Graham Zusi led all players with nine appearances and was followed closely by Omar Gonzalez and Eddie Johnson, each with eight.Nick Rimando backstopped the team to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup crown, collecting five victories and earning a shutout in the final, a 1-0 win against Panama.Landon Donovan tied for the team lead in 2013 with eight goals. He started all six games in the Gold Cup and shared Golden Boot honors with Chris Wondolowski, each scoring five times. Mix Diskerud was the only other player to make an appearance in all six Gold Cup matches.Twenty-five of the 27 players on the camp roster represent 11 different Major League Soccer teams. Current MLS champion Sporting Kansas City has five total (Matt Besler, Benny Feilhaber, Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic and Zusi) on the roster, the most of any team.Besler, Feilhaber and Zusi were all included on last year’s January camp roster, while Myers and Sinovic are both receiving their first call up to a camp with the full U.S. MNT.Luis Gil, Michael Harrington, Chris Klute, Shane O’Neill and DeAndre Yedlin are also all receiving their first call-up to a camp with the Senior National Team.Gil, O’Neill and Yedlin were all part of the 2013 U.S. U-20 World Cup team. During the tournament in Turkey, Gil scored against Spain and O’Neill against Ghana. Gil and Yedlin started all three matches of the tournament while O’Neil started the final two.Yedlin finished third in the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year voting.Mike Magee was voted the 2013 MLS MVP after scoring 21 goals. The 29-year-old was also named to the League’s Best XI alongside Besler, Gonzalez and Zusi.Thirteen players were also in attendance at last year’s January camp: Kyle Beckerman, Besler, Brad Davis, Diskerud, Evans, Tally Hall, Bill Hamid, Eddie Johnson, Sean Johnson, Wondolowski and Zusi.Prior to that camp, Besler had never appeared for a U.S. National Team. He partnered with Gonzalez in central defense in the historic 0-0 draw in Mexico, becoming only the second player in U.S. history to start a World Cup qualifier with less than two caps.After Donovan (154 caps/57 goals), Eddie Johnson is the most experienced member of the camp roster with 61 career caps and 19 goals. Johnson tied DaMarcus Beasley for the most MNT appearances in 2013 with 17 – nine of which he started.In 2013, Johnson accumulated five goals and one assist. He scored the goal that completed the USA’s quest to qualify for the World Cup, netting the opening goal in the 2-0 win against Mexico.Zusi earned his first cap for the MNT at the end of the 2012 January camp when he started in the 1-0 win against Venezuela, then scored his first international goal four days later when the tallied the game-winner in the 1-0 win against Panama.Evans scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win in Jamaica on June 7 in Kingston. Recording his first goal for the MNT, his strike in the second minute of second-half stoppage time handed the U.S. a huge three points. He has started at right back in eight of the last nine games for which he was available, including five World Cup Qualifiers.Diskerud appeared in 13 of the USA’s last 14 matches dating back to July 5 against Guatemala. He played in all six matches in the 2013 Gold Cup winning run, and started the last two World Cup qualifiers. Remarkably, the United States holds a record of 12-1-3 all-time in games in which Diskerud has appeared.