Montevideo: Uruguay striker Luis Suarez will miss his country’s next friendly matches against South Korea and Japan on October 12 and 16 respectively, as he is expecting the birth of his third child, the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) has said.The AUF said on Friday that if Suarez’s wife Sofia Balbi gives birth before the games, “the player will be available”. National coach Oscar Tabarez will allow Suarez, 31, to avoid selection after a decision was made “based on the same criteria applied to earlier cases with other footballers,” said the AUF. IANS
BEN CLASSON/Herald photoWisconsin?s softball team doesn?t play at home until their36th game of the season, due to the state?s inclement weather. This makes itall the more surprising that there are six players who will leave the sunnystate of California and join the Badgers in the Wisconsin cold.One of the most notable California natives is junioroutfielder Ricci Robben.?The cold weather is always hard to get used to,? Robbensaid. ?But it isn?t as big of a deal as you would think. I just look at it asexperiencing something new, which makes it more fun.?By visiting during the warm weather ? and with a little helpfrom the UW football team ? Robben was sold on Wisconsin?s program and helpedbring her friend and teammate Joey Daniels with her.?I came here on a recruiting visit, and I just fell in lovewith the place,? Robben said. ?This place is full of tradition, and we went tothe football game, which was awesome. It was really helpful to already knowsome girls on the team, and then Joey [Daniels] also decided to come here.??She influenced me, and I influenced her, and we ended upchoosing UW,? Daniels added.Since she arrived in 2005, Robben has been one of the team?sbest offensive players. Her freshman year she hit .255 with 31 RBIs, which wasthird best on the team. After a redshirt year in 2006, Robben batted .318 anddrove in 33 runs, second most on the team.?I just don?t think too much when I am at the plate,? Robbensaid. ?I don?t press myself and just wait for a pitch to hit.?With her sustained offensive success, Robben has led herteammates and coaches to believe she can be relied on to drive in runs.?Whenever I get on base I know she is going to hit me in,?said Daniels, who is the team’s leadoff hitter. ?She has been clutch since wegot here as freshmen, and it is very reassuring to have her right behind me inthe lineup.??Over the past few years Ricci has really evolved as ahitter,? head coach Chandelle Schulte added. ?She used to be more of just apower hitter, and now she hits both doubles and singles and is a little morepatient at the plate. Ricci comes from a good softball background, and it showsin games because she is very aggressive at the plate.?Unfortunately for the Badgers, Robben hasn?t quite found herstroke this year, as she is batting just .213, though she does lead the team inRBIs with 17. Both Robben and her coach believe it is merely a prolonged slumpand that she will start hitting again soon.?She is just in a slump, but the best thing about slumps isthat they end,? Schulte said. ?She is clearly a good hitter and hasdemonstrated that before, so as coaches we need to make her feel good about herswing again.??I am thinking about [the slump] a little too much rightnow,? Robben added. ?When I have success I am more relaxed and just go up thereand look for my pitch. Right now, though, I keep pressing and over-thinkingeach at-bat.?Along with carrying a lot of offensive responsibility,Robben is also one of the leaders on the team. Fans might not notice it,however, if they expect her to give speeches and constantly be talking.?I am not one of those cheerleader-type people,? Robbensaid. ?I prefer to lead by example and let my play do the talking. If I thinksomething needs to be said then I will say it, but otherwise I just play thegame.?Just as Robben?s batting average has suffered, so too hasthe team?s record. At just 10-21, the Badgers have already lost more games thisyear than they did all of last season. But despite all the struggles, Robben isoptimistic that the team will turn it around with the Big Ten season startingthis weekend.?It is difficult,? Robben said of the team’s losing record.?Last year we started out hot, but then cooled down at the end. This year, Ithink that we are already turning it around in our last couple of games, so Ithink we may have started slow, but we will finish the season strong.?