Author Archive

Mundane observations | In ‘Worktown,’ games of chance, snapshots in time

Bolton, England | A New Yorker article by Caleb Crain has peaked our interest in the Mass-Observation phenomenon and its relationship to football in Britain. Near the top of Crain’s treatment, “Anthropology of football pools” appears, tucked between “The aspidistra cult” and “Bathroom behaviour,” as one of the potential objects of study.

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Call to arms | The Georgia team prepares to march up Tryon Street in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 19 August 2006, the opening day of the inaugural Homeless USA Cup. Eight players would be selected for the Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, in September.

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Wheel of fortune | The 2005 senior class of Evansville (Indiana) Central High School, the Lady Bears, advanced in consecutive seasons to the semifinals of the state high school playoffs. “They’re like little sisters to me,” says coach Damon Brown. (Copyright © 2005 Damon Brown)

Greetings and felicitations | Burmese come home as surprise victors

Selangor, Malaysia, Aug 29 | Thirty-five years of hurt? Burma has ended a barren, trophy-less stretch with a surprising triumph in the Merdeka Cup, an annual event to celebrate Malaysian independence.

Pinny lanes | On the margins and in the barrens, soccer gains a foothold

Deblois, Maine | In the part of the state that Mainers call Down East, soccer has flourished along with a bumper crop of wild blueberries.

Homelessness | Where soccer becomes a work of art

Charlotte, North Carolina | Soccer for the homeless keeps gathering steam. Beginning Saturday, teams from across the United States compete on a street-soccer court in downtown Charlotte to select eight players and eight alternates for the fourth Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, from Sept 24–30.

Patriotic support | The fifth photo-contest winner

Artist Ruth Franklin of Decatur, Georgia—the Global Game’s hometown—submits from East Anglia our fifth photo-contest winner.

Waltzing and brawling | Mixing it up at the Women’s Asian Cup

Adelaide, Australia | For headline writers the Women’s Asian Cup has been a dream. With the suspension of three North Korean players following a mêlée in Thursday’s semifinal against China, desk editors had their choice of stereotypes. Some went with “soccer catfight.” Others went political, hence the headline in The Age: “North Korean missiles fly on […]

The culture cup | Copping awards for purple prose, Icelandic chic and fish graphics

FIFA may have its Golden Boot, but notable performances at the 2006 World Cup finals were not confined to the pitch. We present our awards in musical, advertising and website categories, including an homage to our favorite tonsured French footballer.

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

Berkeley, California | We could not include everything in our article on dogs and soccer in the current issue of Bark, the “modern dog culture magazine” founded in the Bay Area in 1997.

In April we reached Jim McNichol, former right back for Torquay United, in his current job as proprietor of the Exeter Inn pub in Ashburton, Devon. Shortly after picking up the phone, he knew exactly why we were calling.

Maryland is not in Germany | Delta settles on new World Cup slogan, ‘A time to make enemies’

Decatur, Georgia | “We only travel to come back home,” writes Ludwig Harig, the German master of the football sonnet. These words have never seemed more true following an aborted trip to Deutschland, a trip that ended in tears on Jun 27 on a sweltering curbside outside the Delta Air Lines terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Obviously the disappointment is acute, all the more so as one of the missions of the Global Game since 2003 has been to connect to the wider world.

En route to Germany | Optimistic beginnings for all but the Ghanaians

Atlanta, Jun 27 | Why Atlanta civic leaders wish to revive downtown with outlets for consumer and cultural consumption continues to mystify. This is the heart of Atlanta—its airport. As we begin an 18-hour haul to Berlin, we ask ourselves, Could it be any noisier here?

Trove to treasure | Marañón’s ‘Fútbol y cine’ makes marriage work between film and soccer

Fútbol y cine: El balompié en la gran pantalla (Football and film: The soccer ball on the big screen) represents the most striking book on football—on any subject—to come across our desk in some time. Which speaks volumes, because the text by Navarre native Carlos Marañón is in Spanish—traditional for books published in Spain—and his coveted spot for top football film goes to Victory (1981), the John Huston–directed star vehicle in which goalkeeper Sylvester Stallone has to be told where to stand on corner kicks.

Lure of the local | Passionate postmortems for the USA

Englewood, Florida | On holiday, near the one-time home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League and Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer, soccer and, specifically, the 2006 World Cup finals did not seem misplaced. Wait staff at a Tampa International Airport tavern did not object to tuning to the U.S.–Czech Republic in the first round, as long as you were stuffing your face with mahi-mahi. Others waiting for a lull in Tropical Storm Alberto set up camp, murmuring as the goals rained into the U.S. net.

Brush with round leather worlds | Football arts in the American South

Decatur, Georgia | Rare is the time when we can write from our own town about cultural happenings related to football. But the World Cup arts program has seeped into even this sweltering corner of the all-encompassing FIFA universe. The Vinson Gallery on 8 June inaugurated a showing of the 14 official art posters commissioned for the finals. […]

Global voices | Intriguing stories, beyond FIFA’s control

Cambridge, Massachusetts | We long ago realized the value of Global Voices Online, the Harvard University–based project that sorts and translates Web logs worldwide, but its ability to circumvent the predictability of mass media makes it a must-read during the World Cup finals. The writing lacks a high gloss but shows the integrity of individuals, […]

Football’s island charm | Brian Ching, Oahu and how Hawai‘i gained a World Cup spot

Haleiwa, Hawai‘i | Our fascination with football on islands continues, this time with good reason. Brian Ching has become the first Hawaiian to suit up for the U.S. national team and appears certain to appear in the World Cup finals in Germany.

Women’s soccer haze | Even with World Cup rush, sex always gets headlines

Evanston, Illinois | We had intended to let this one lie, but a recent posting from Newsweek columnist Mark Starr on the hazing scandal affecting the Northwestern University women’s soccer team made us reconsider. The actions of the players depicted on a vigilante-style website intended to document misbehavior among athletes cross all boundaries of decency. Yet the “girls gone wild” approach that male sports writers have taken in discussing the incident indicates more of a prurient interest in women athletes and their sex lives than genuine concern with misdeeds.

Armenian activist | Eskandarian strikes blow against an athletic cliché

Washington | “A 23-year-old professional athlete with a social conscience. What gives?” So asks Mike Wise of the Washington Post in his profile of D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian. The statement troubles both for what it says about the inner lives of athletes as well as about the assumptions of sports writers, who often lack time […]

Is soccer evil? | Quest for playing space threatens bucolic haven

Saratoga, California | In a drama played out daily at planning and zoning hearings throughout the United States, parents’ desires for soccer space in this bedroom community of redwood trees and sycamores have created tension with other residents’ wishes for peace and quiet. The San Jose Mercury News reports on the dispute over the future of […]

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