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Call it a Summer Soccer Festival

What is it about this time of year for football fans? Everywhere you look, there’s a lot of football going on – and in far-flung locations, too.

Call it a Summer Soccer Festival, and it stars not only the Copa America that’s taking place in Chile, but also the Women’s World Cup, which is being contested at the same time in Canada.

The women are more than up to the task of sharing the spotlight with their male counterparts. The knockout rounds are fast-approaching in locations all over Canada and the top teams are asserting themselves, just as many expected.

Germany and Norway look like the powerhouses in Group B, Japan seems poised to rule Group C, the same for Brazil in Group E. The most competitive may be Group F, where Colombia, England, France and even Mexico are trying to assert themselves and move on.

While we’re at it, remember that is the smarter way to send money to such Women’s World Cup participant countries as Canada, China, the Netherlands, Germany, Ecuador, the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Spain, ColombiaEnglandFrance and Mexico.

Meanwhile, follow all the action of the 44th Copa America, where Chile and Bolivia are among the points leaders – and they’re together in the same group.

For football fans, there is much at stake, whether it’s happening in Canada with the Women’s World Cup, or in Chile at the Copa America.


Powerhouses Brazil and Colombia Lean on their Young Superstars

Two of football’s youngest, brightest superstars are on a collision course with destiny in the Copa America, where Neymar of Brazil and James Rodriguez of Colombia go up against each other at Estadio Monumental David Arellano in Santiago de Chile.

Consider this Group C showdown a rematch of the memorable 2014 World Cup quarterfinal, where Brazil edged Colombia, 2-1. It was a memorable afternoon. James scored Colombia’s only goal and Neymar was forced to leave after fracturing his vertebra while taking a hard foul.

Powerhouses Brazil and Colombia are certain to be leaning on their top players. Neymar, 23, scored four goals in group play in the last World Cup, two against Croatia and two against Cameroon.  Captain of the Brazilian team, Neymar plays for FC Barcelona of the Spanish League.

James, who turns 24 in July, scored six goals for Colombia at the World Cup and was the top goal-scorer in the tournament, winning the Golden Boot. He also stars for Real Madrid in the Spanish League.

Brazil’s Oscar injured his thigh during practice with Chelsea of the Premier League, but he has been replaced by 31-year-old veteran striker Robinho. After missing the World Cup because of a knee injury, Radamel Falcao is healthy once again for Colombia and is likely to team up with James to head the offensive attack.

Remember that Brazil has won four of the last six Copa America titles.

And don’t forget that the smarter way to send money to friends and family back home in Colombia and Brazil is


Jamaica Takes on Paraguay

Chances are it will be a rude welcome for Jamaica at the Copa America, where the invited team has landed in a rough and tumble Group B that also includes Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

When Jamaica takes on Paraguay at Estadio Regional Calvo y Bascunan in Antofagasta, all eyes will be focused on Jamaican star Darren Mattocks, who will be heavily counted upon if Jamaica is going to advance out of the group stage. The 24-year-old Mattocks, a skilled and inventive dynamo who plays professionally for the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps, must show the way for Jamaica. Still, Jamaica is likely to be overlooked because of the talented teams surrounding it.

The 44th Copa America features 12 teams, 10 of them from CONMEBOL and two other invited teams from CONCACAF – Mexico and now Jamaica. Mexico is a perennial invitee, but Jamaica has taken the second spot that used to belong to the United States and most recently Costa Rica.

Paraguay, going up against Jamaica, is a two-time Copa America champion and was runner-up in 2011. It may be that the best hope to advance for Paraguay, just like for Jamaica, is to be one of the two third-place teams that advance from group play. That issue may be settled when they collide.

While you’re following along, remember that the smarter way to send money to Jamaica is


How do you stop Lionel Messi?

How do you stop Lionel Messi? That’s been the unanswerable question since October, 2004, when Lionel Andres ‘Leo’ Messi Cuccittini of Rosario, Argentina, made his debut for Barcelona.

Nothing has stopped him since. And now, with his 28th birthday only 11 days after Argentina opens its Copa America play against Paraguay, the eyes of the sport are once again trained on Argentina’s captain, wearing number 10, the unstoppable force. If he isn’t the top player in the game, he’s probably first in the conversation.

It’s true that Messi isn’t big, only 5-feet-7, but he has put up incredibly big numbers his entire career as he continues to try to measure up to the sizeable reputation of Diego Maradona as Argentina’s greatest football player ever.

Messi just ushered Barcelona to the Champions League title. No one had more goals in the tournament than Messi (10) and no one had more assists (5). For the season, Messi scored 48 goals on 187 shots in 38 games and had 18 assists.

The numbers keep on growing, but that’s not a new trend for Messi. A four-time World Player of the Year, Messi scored a European record 73 goals in 2012 for Barcelona.

Meanwhile, don’t forget that the smarter way to send money to friends and family in Argentina is

Messi is one of 14 of the 23-player Argentina squad in the Copa America that made it to last year’s World Cup final. He scored four goals in the tournament and was chosen as named the best player in the World Cup.


Preview of Mexico vs. Bolivia in Group A Qualifiers

The pressure starts early in Group A for Mexico when it takes on Bolivia in the first match of the 44th edition of the Copa America at Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar, Chile. Not only is coach Miguel Herrera fielding Mexico’s so-called ‘B Team,’ Herrera has already gone out on a limb and predicted that El Tri will surely reach the final.

That may be a lofty goal. Mexico is facing some tough company in Group A that includes, in addition to Bolivia, Ecuador and host country Chile. Going against Bolivia, ranked 89th by FIFA, is shaping up to be a must-win opener for Mexico, ranked 23rd, if it is destined to fulfil Herrera’s goals.

There was not a great deal of buzz generated by Mexico’s fans after Mexico’s ‘B Team’ lost, 2-0, to Brazil in a recent international friendly in Sao Paulo. Mexico also had a recent 1-1 draw with Peru. In the meantime, Herrera still must sort out the goalkeeper situation. His options revolve around Jesus Corona and Alfredo Talavera. One bright spot has been the play of 21-year-old Carlos Salcedo, who came on at halftime in Sao Paulo and helped Mexico keep Brazil off the scoreboard.

And don’t forget that the smarter way to send money to friend and family in Mexico and Latin America is

Uruguay is the defending champion, but Brazil remains the favorite in the 12-team Copa America, the main international tournament for the national football teams of South America.


Have you ever written an online review of a product or service?

One of the ways to find out whether the product or service you’re researching is up to par is to ask around, or better yet, go online. Many find the information you can come up with online as worthwhile – or not, depending on the review.

Some who review products or services online have an ax to grind and are therefore not complimentary. On the other hand, there are loads of genuinely sincere people who are completely honest in their reviews. But someone has to write these reviews, of course.

So Xoom, a leading digital money transfer provider, thought it would be telling to check it all out. Xoom decided to conduct a survey of some of its Fil-Am customers recently and asked the question, ‘Have you ever written an online review of a product or service?’

The numbers are indeed revealing. Some 67 percent of those who responded to the survey question said that, yes, they had written an online review of a product or service, but only 33 percent said they had not written an online review.


How many apps do you have on your phone?

It can’t be surprising that many of us are glued to our mobile phones, judging by the way how many times you’ve probably seen someone with their face stuck in their cell phone walking into a light pole. Might as well get real, cell phones aren’t going away. In fact, they’re becoming even more popular. Pretty soon, cell phones might outnumber us.

But there really is something that does outnumber us already: Apps. You name it, there’s probably an app for it, that’s why we have so many apps. Looking at the popularity of apps in our app-society, started Xoom thinking. So Xoom, a leading digital money transfer provider, conducted an exclusive survey of some of its Fil-Am customers and asked this apparently applicable question about apps: ‘How many apps do you have on your phone?’

You may find the answers sort of surprising. The most people, 35 percent, had the greatest number of apps on their phones – 17 or more apps. But 20 percent of those who answered the survey said they had just 1-5 apps while 18 percent answered that they had 6-10 apps on their phones. Meanwhile, 11 percent said they had 11-16 apps and eight percent said they didn’t have a single app. Oh, and there were also eight percent who said they didn’t have a smart phone.


Do you plan to send money for tuition or back to school expenses to someone in the Philippines?

When it’s back-to-school time, there are a lot of feelings that each family must go though. For parents, sometimes it’s separation anxiety, just not ready to let go now. Kids have their own thoughts about back-to-school that could include a dose of anxiety, but more likely the expected thrill of seeing your classmate friends again. Oh, and maybe even learn something in school that’s going to help you down the road.

Most families could use some kind of help at back-to-school time. It could be thoughtful good wishes or organized carpools or planning after-school homework sessions at a friends’ house.

But there is yet another way to show your support and that’s what prompted Xoom, a leading digital money transfer provider, to conduct a survey of some of its Fil-Am customers and asked this question: ‘Do you plan to send money for tuition or back to school expenses to someone in the Philippines?’

A majority of those who answered the survey, 53 percent, said they planned to send money for tuition or back-to-school expenses to someone back home in the Philippines. And, of course, Xoom offers the safest, fastest and most convenient way to transfer money, so here’s the perfect opportunity to use Xoom, again and again.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of those in the survey said they don’t plan to send tuition or back-to-school money to the Philippines and 12 percent said that they were undecided.