Barking instructions | Soccer dogs feature in ‘dog culture’ magazine

We have many personal associations between dogs and soccer. I still remember the interval of a 2001 Women’s United Soccer Association semifinal in Atlanta. The halftime show featured Frisbee-catching dogs. With Atlanta trailing Philadelphia 0–2, Beat coach Tom Stone made a substitution, bringing Chinese international Sun Wen off the bench to play as striker. She scored on a spot kick to help lead Atlanta back to a 3–2 extra-time victory, and I have always thought that watching these dogs during her warm-up helped calm her for the task at hand.

Updates

  • Former Belgian international goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff, 54, will appear in net in a four-on-four Belgium-Netherlands match featuring boxers. A Romanian artist has trained the dogs for the Antwerp Winter Circus (see 7 Dec 07).
  • We thank Socster.com—an excellent site containing a database of pickup games in the United States, as well as in Australia, Canada, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and the UK—for the link to this post, as well as for leading us to the mother lode of soccer-dog photos and videos. Who knew there were so many talented snouts about? Perhaps the dog lover’s favorite footballer should be Belgian striker Gilles de Bilde. In September 2006, the animal-rights activist sat out a match for Belgian side Willebroek in order to mourn his dog’s death.

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Aaron Corman:

    And if they ever need another story, there’s the one about my dearly departed Chocolate Lab named Nutty. I used to bring her with me to games all the time … as a player and as a ref.

    One day when I was reffing a game, I looked over at her and noticed that she wasn’t at her usual location by my bag. And as play went back the other direction, I soon realized that Nutty was ambling across the field. The match was still scoreless as the attacking team moved in for a shot, but as Nutty was making her way across the penalty area, she blocked the ball near the penalty spot.

    The regular ’keeper, interestingly, didn’t do quite as well that day as his team would go on to lose the match 8–nil.

    That is among my favorite memories of Nutty, who made many friends along the touchline and elsewhere.

  2. The Global Game | Circus is in town:

    [...] an update to our earlier report on dogs and football (20 Jul 06), Pfaff will be tending the nets during a four-on-four exhibition—Belgium vs. [...]

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