Heartfelt praise | We’d like to thank the Academy for giving us a soccer player as host

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Jon Stewart Lebowitz, in his days with the Tribe. Link to SI.com interview.Los Angeles | Fresh off receiving an honorary All-America award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, late-night comedy host Jon Stewart (née Leibowitz) continues to soak up the glitz. On Sunday he will emcee the 78th awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Unlike the NSCAA gala, the Academy Awards will be televised.

Stewart, who played soccer for the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., from 1981 to 1983, has granted interviews to the predictable Hollywood news organs, but also to Soccer America and the website of Sports Illustrated. Speaking to Richard Deitsch of SI.com, Stewart shows off his improvisational skills by comparing soccer to crystal meth:

It’s very addictive, but really messes up your teeth. I guess I’ve never viewed soccer as some sort of controlled substance. To me, it’s probably more like Nutella. The rest of the world clearly loves it and puts it on almost everything, but here in America we’re like, “I don’t know, man, it tastes like almonds.”

Stewart also riffs on Diego Maradona, soccer films and the likely course of the U.S. side at the World Cup—defeat to Afghanistan in the final. Afghanistan plays on horseback.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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