Thursday, December 04, 2008

Seen Stoke's Sling-Shot Samba Style !

After seeing pictures of a certain young lady in a London newspaper this morning, I thought it only fitting to do a little bit of research on the background of this rising star of the Brazilian women’s national football team, and look at her own unquestionably unique and rather remarkable individual the female game’s answer to Rory Delap, (below left)
the man whose deadly throw-ins have attracted a host of media attention, and have been described in some circles as 'weapons of mass
destruction on the football field.'
Delap’s gargantuan throw-ins have been the talk of football this season as Stoke City have taken their Premier League bow.

Leah Lynn Gabriela Fortune was born in San Paulo,
Brazil to American parents.
It turns out her dual citizenship is a blessing in disguise: Leah can play with one foot in each continent, straddling playing time between her club, Team Chicago, and the U-20 Brazilian national team.
However, all bets are off once Leah turns 21, when she'll have to commit exclusively to the USA or Brazil.

But for now, as the youngest player on the team at 17, Fortune is taking full advantage of the opportunities that come with a starting role for Brazil.
With a 30-goal surplus against opponents over the course of seven games, Leah and her teammates stormed through the CONMEBOL South American U-20 Championships last March, as if every game was a carnival.

However the headline cascading across Brazilian televisions and newspapers during the Tournament was 'Leah Cambalhota Mortal' - for Leah is famed for owning a trick the Brazilians had never seen before! A throw-in in which she levitates the ball into the box with her hands by means of a somersault!

Click on the Link and watch Leah in action, for Brazil in their victory over Mexico at the 2008 Women's U'20 World Cup.


In her second game in the CONMEBOL, Leah connected with forward Pamela on a flip throw for the team's first headed goal in a 5-0 rout of Paraguay. 'The Brazilians had never seen anything before like it, so they were going nuts. The crowd loved it,' said Leah. Her father and Team Chicago program director, Hudson Fortune, was also on hand to see the games. 'Every time Leah had an opportunity for a throw-in, the crowd would stand and chant her name in hopes she would do a flip throw.'
And hers has a nickname, 'The Mortal Somersault.'

Leah may not be able to match Delap in the weights room, so she uses incredible leverage to get an insane amount of air underneath the ball and turn every throw in near the box into a poor man's corner, not unlike what Delap endeavours to do when he unleashes a throw for his club side.
'The Mortal Somersault' even earned Leah time on Brazil's 'SportsCenter' highlights reel following an U-20's win over Argentina.
The 'cambalhota' is a front handspring from the sidelines that slings the ball into a box teeming with targets. Fortune's flip allows her to hone in on a roving player - a move that can turn the game on its head.

After a year of gymnastics as a child, she transferred the skill to soccer and has been executing the flip throw since she was 9. The closest thing to a corner kick, the 'cambalhota' leaves most defenders gob smacked at the sight of a throw-in with 20 extra yards of firepower.

The U-20 World Cup in Chile concludes on 7th December.

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