Scott Shafer kept his press conference short. The media only asked three questions before the Syracuse head coach hurried over to the fans waiting to meet him and get his autograph.So far, Shafer said the community’s support has been tremendous. On Friday he got a chance to give something back to the nearly 2,500 fans in attendance. After watching a full practice with pads, hitting and lots of action, they then got to meet and greet the players and coaches.Fans filled a chunk of bleachers and also lined the fence surrounding the practice field. “Great turnout,” Shafer said. “We just appreciate the fans so much.” Another benefit for Shafer was that he felt his players were more focused and driven while playing in front of a crowd. Along with the fact that it was the first practice with full contact, Shafer credited the team’s intensity to the fans. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Looking over at the fans I think motivated the kids to push through what was a tough practice,” Shafer said.So after his pithy interview, Shafer walked to the adjacent field. His players were already there, sitting down at long tables and getting their Sharpies ready. Eager fans flocked around the field, lining up one-by-one to get their favorite players’ John Hancock. Shafer said Fanfest was the team’s first chance this year to connect to the fans. “Everybody’s been so great in the community, and I really appreciate them,” Shafer said. “I really do.” Comments Published on August 10, 2013 at 3:08 am Contact Trevor: firstname.lastname@example.org | @TrevorHass Facebook Twitter Google+
Florent Malouda was Wednesday night turned into Chelsea’s latest £4million-a-year outcast – after being banished from any involvement with the Blues first team.Just months after similar treatment of Nicolas Anelka and Alex fanned the dressing room flames that helped bring down Andre Villas-Boas, former France skipper Malouda was told he must train with the youth team for the last year of his £80,000-per-week stay at Stamford Bridge.Malouda announced his internal exile on his Twitter feed, posting a picture of the under-21 block at the club’s Cobham base with the message: “This is where I’ll train for my last season with the Blues!!!”And last night Chelsea confirmed the 32-year-old had been told he has no place in Roberto Di Matteo’s thoughts for the rest of the season, despite being named in the club’s 25-man Premier League squad – he was omitted from their Champions League players – only on Tuesday.Chelsea insisted that Malouda – a £13.5million signing from Lyons by Jose Mourinho and who has scored 45 goals in 230 appearances – had been dumped because he wanted to leave the club.Potential moves back to Lyons and also Brazilian side Santos fell through over the midfielder’s personal terms, with Malouda reluctant to take a pay cut. Malouda, who signed a four-year deal in 2009, has consistently frustrated the Blues hierarchy with his contribution since the last few months of the Carlo Ancelotti era.But his high wages have prevented the club offloading him, with Chelsea unwilling to help sweeten any possible deal.Even so, the treatment of a seasoned international who played in the Champions League Final triumph over Bayern Munich runs the risk of upsetting the dressing room, as Villas-Boas’ decision to exile Anelka and Alex did last season.While Chelsea maintained the cases were different, the club were adamant in December that both Anelka, who went to Shanghai Shenhua, and Alex, who joined Ancelotti at Paris St Germain, had been cast aside because of their desire to quit Stamford Bridge.Di Matteo has revamped the squad over the summer, with Didier Drogba, Jose Bosingwa, Salomon Kalou, Michael Essien and Raul Meireles all leaving and Eden Hazard, Oscar, Cesar Azplilcueta, Victor Moses and Marko Marin all arriving. Malouda, though, looks like being lucratively-rewarded passenger until the transfer window reopens in January and while the majority of the Francophone block at the club have departed, Di Matteo’s decision could backfire if there is internal resentment at the treatment of the Frenchman.