Round Of 16

20 May 19
The Sun
RELEASED by Ipswich at 16, goalkeeper Will Fuller thought his dreams of playing in the big time were over. But after his penalty shootout heroics last Sunday, he and Cardiff Met Uni FC have achieved the seemingly impossible and qualified for next season’s Europa League. Fuller recovered from nine months out earlier in the season to help send his team on a European adventure A tearful Will Fuller is congratulated by Joel Edwards after managing to save three penalties A team made up of the University’s students and alumni, Fuller and co are now eyeing fairy-tale ties against the likes of Wolves, Rangers and even the daddy of them all, Manchester United. For they are now in the hat for the Preliminary Round draw after the Welsh Premier League side beat Bala Town in a play-off to claim the country’s last European place. The win landed the club a £193,000 golden cheque — and they will now be waiting nervously for the draw on June 11. Before having the chance of taking on the giants they have a two-legged tie against a qualifier from one of Kosovo, Northern Ireland, San Marino, Luxembourg, Andorra, Gibraltar or the Faroe Islands. If negotiated successfully they will then find themselves in the First qualifying round, where Nuno Espirito Santo and Steven Gerrard’s sides will be waiting. Fuller, 25, was the shootout star against Bala, saving three penalties to kick-start their European adventure. And it tastes even sweeter having missed out on the Europa League the last two years after losing in the final. He said: “I’d been saving them up. I don’t think I’d saved one in about five years, but I did it when it mattered most. “We’re lucky to have a sports performance analysis course at University with a team who work with us week in week out putting videos together of the opposition. “They’d clipped up all their penalties from the season, so I had a bit of an idea of where to go. Bradley Woolridge (left) and Emlyn Lewis (right) lift the trophy for a side made up of the Welsh university’s students and alumni “And I prepared the water bottle before the game, with the tape around it and marker pen on it of what to do for each player – I just got it right in the moment. “None of us get paid and we just do it for the love of it. And it was just raw emotion afterwards, with a few tears and a lot of hugs. To top off this season by getting into Europe is amazing, and to be put in the same bracket as the like of Rangers and Wolves is crazy. “Even after losing the final in the last two we didn’t think the dream was over. We always speak as a group about never having arrived. Even now, we’ve not arrived. “There’s more to do and we want to carry on and progress onto bigger and better things. And we’ve now got an opportunity and platform to do that in the Europa League.” The win was reward for years of hard work for a team managed by Christian Edwards, the former Swansea, Nottingham Forest and Bristol Rovers defender. In the last eight years they’ve risen from Wales’ fourth-tier to the Premier League. And Fuller has been with them every step of the way, moving to Cardiff at 18 to study an undergraduate degree. He did a Masters in sports psychology and now works as a training and development manager for a medical company that “sells human tissue”. ‘NEVER GIVE UP’ He added: “I was released at Ipswich at 16 – I got picked up late and bombed off pretty quick! I’m still a fan though and it hasn’t changed my feelings towards the club. “Connor Wickham was in my age group and while I have fond memories I never quite made the grade. “I then had two years down at Salisbury City before they went bankrupt and have played at Uni since then. “You’ve just got to never give up and keep working hard in the hope that you have more days like Sunday and stories to tell the kids and grandkids.” The first-leg is on the 28 June so the squad have been given two weeks off, time to reflect and gear up themselves up mentally as they seek to prolong the dream. Fuller only managed a handful of games during the season having missed around nine months of the season after needing his quad re-attached. But the Suffolk boy is back to full-fitness and looking forward some R&R before training starts in earnest ahead of the first-leg on June 28. [article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN SPORT” posts_category=”321″ posts_number=”12″ query_type=”popular” /] He said: “Days like this won’t come along very often and who knows what we can go on to do. If you’d told us eight years ago that one day we’d qualify for Europe as a group then we all would have laughed. “If we can move on and keep progressing then let’s see what we can do. These clubs being talked about are massive, massive clubs with European pedigree and history. “But we’ve got to get through before we can even think about it so we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.” Elliot Evans gets the party started after smashing home the decisive penalty The champagne was flowing after Cardiff Met Uni FC reached the Europa League after a dramatic penalty shootout win against Bala Town [bc_video video_id=”6029414686001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Football player Bendrix Parra misses penalty after attempting a Panenka “]
20 May 19
GoldDerby
Laine Hardy‘s life is likely to be forever changed now that the 18-year-old Louisiana lad is officially the Season 17 winner of “American Idol.” His buccolic existence in the small burg of French Settlement in southern Livingston Parish is about to be upended. His days of four-wheel-driving and bass-fishing will soon take a backseat to promoting his new single, “Flame,” recording an album thanks to his spanking-new recording contract and going on tour. While he had tough competition from his fellow finalists, Alejandro Aranda and Madison VandDenburg, anyone who knows “Idol” could tell this teen from the swamps was catnip for those texting young fans sending all their votes to him. Laine also had an advantage after auditioning last season and getting cut during the early rounds. This time, he went to an auditon in Idaho to accompany another hopeful but the judges encouraged him to try out, too. And the rest is “American Idol” history. TV fame has already affected the boy who loved to go “mud riding” through the swamps in a four-wheeler, swam and skied in the backyard pond and fished at a local landing. Once Laine got on the show, he switched up his image by wearing a dapper suit and turning his boyish bangs into a pompadour. He also got some teeth fixed — damaged by a dirt bike accident when he was  young — and coined his own slogan: “Party with a Hardy!” SEE ‘American Idol’ recap: Who wins Season 17 — Laine, Alejandro or Madison? Before he becomes a true “American Idol” superstar in the tradition of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, here are seven things you need to know about Laine, courtesy of “The Advocate,” which visited his hometown to dig up more about his background. *According to his real-estate agent mom, Cindy, the young man with the Elvis-like aura would arrive wearing shoes when he went to the local guitar shop for his lessons. But once there, he would take them off — and sometimes forgot to put them back on. Now he is wearing $4,000 diamond-studded footwear on TV. *Laine bought his first guitar at a local Walmart store. His parents let him take lessons when he turned 8. He would save up $1,300 or so from gifts over the years and bought a G&L Legacy sunburst electric guitar. He loved Elvis Presley and would dress like him as he played Southern rock, country and classic rock. *He began performing at local eateries and restaurants in a family band called the Band Hardy. While he was part of the Talented Music program when he was in ninth grade at his local high school, Laine refused to carry a tune. He told his instructor, “I don’t sing.” The first time his teacher heard him sing was when he was asked to audition for a production of “High School Musical.” But the shy teen rejected the idea. SEE ‘American Idol’ Winners: Where Are They Now (Seasons 1 – 16)? *Eventually, his older brother, Kyle, encouraged to sing in the woods alone and record himself. He ended up auditioning for Season 16 after “Idol” producers saw him on YouTube. His mother says he took his ultimate rejection hard. But she encouraged him not to give up. As he told “The Advocate,” “Last year, when I was on the show, I went into it not knowing anything about music. I could barely sing. But after I got eliminated, I got home and started playing everywhere.” *As for why he opted for tailored suits, his mom was initially taken aback when he asked for one, thinking that he should act his age. But as Cindy says, “I think that suit, he feels like he is putting on this armor … like he’s a different person.” Now he has half a million followers on Instagram. *In some ways, though, Laine is still a kid who never cotton to being in Los Angeles for the duration of the TV contest. For his home visit last week, portions of which were shown on TV, he met with the governor, performed for 10,000 people at a concert and had a day named on his honor. But all he really wanted to do is to go home and sleep in his own bed again. When a homesick Laine arrived back to the house he grew up in, he walked into the kitchen, sat down and wept, according to his mom. SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions
20 May 19
Entertainment Gists

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News Directory

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Ashbroyale

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