Honolulu, Feb 29 | Gamba Osaka’s 6–1 victory over Houston Dynamo in the Pan-Pacific Soccer Championships final added another jot to the history of the Japanese on the Hawaiian Islands—a history that spans three centuries and that has helped create a multicultural population well-suited to building soccer from the grassroots.
Global Voices profiles writer and blogger Nicholas Laughlin of Port of Spain, whose innovations include watching a football match by not watching it. (Feb 25)
Barcelona, Feb 20 | An exhibit of more than 400 pictures and artifacts of football fandom’s recent checkered history occasions surprise not for its place within the halls of culture but that the material evidence—a formaldehyde-drenched pig’s head, an evenly toasted Vespa—has been so lovingly preserved.
Far from defying convention, soccer on the Hawaiian Islands is mainstream, with a year-round youth soccer schedule and active adult leagues, including the Women’s Island Soccer Association (see Michael Tsai, “Can the Pan-Pacific Soccer Tourney Deliver?” Honolulu Advertiser, Feb 18). Such grassroots strength—for additional background, see our report of 7 Jun 06—has helped lure the Pan-Pacific Soccer Championships, which starts Feb 20. (Feb 19)
At the conclusion of the 2008 African Cup of Nations, we offer a new translation of Ejigayehu Shibabaw‘s, or Gigi‘s, song “Kwass Meda” (Soccer Field). The song features on the 2000 release One Ethiopia, with the translation from Amharic by Solomon Abebe and his nephew, Befekadu. (Feb 11)
Miami, Feb 9 | A cultural renaissance in Miami’s La Petite Haiti (Little Haiti), the most populous Haitian neighborhood outside the Caribbean nation, continues as a community complex and soccer park conceived 10 years ago come to fruition.
A series of soccer games on 3 May will conclude two days of inaugural events, including an art exhibition at the nine-acre site at Northeast Second Avenue and 59th Street.
Our test of a “live blog” application, during the African Cup of Nations semifinal between Ghana and Cameroon, went swimmingly. That is, except for our miscalculation of Greenwich Mean Time, which meant that we missed the first half. The “replay” is available—second half only—with accent on the Ghanaian national anthem (which we missed) and on attempts to render international football in “claymation.” (Feb 7)
Promotional material for the documentary Football Under Cover (see interview with director Ayat Najafi, 29 Sept 07) celebrates the display of “Frauenpower” in its chronicle of an Apr 06 friendly between BSV Al-Dersimspor of Kreuzberg, Berlin, and the Iranian women’s national team.
Atlanta, Feb 5 | His work in ministry, as a public speaker and as face of the American civil rights movement prevented him from developing strong sporting enthusiasms, but at least once in his career Martin Luther King Jr. stepped onto a soccer field.
Metaphorically, King’s strides on the Sacramento State pitch in Oct 1967 point toward soccer as a place of social change in America of the civil rights era.
Rarely do we comment on the technical aspects of maintaining and updating a website on world football, but a Jan 25 database collapse, followed by a switch in web hosts and assorted Windows Vista meltdowns had us grateful even for our several hundred inveterate daily spammers when normal service finally resumed, about 0300 GMT on Jan 29. (Jan 30)
Soccer bashers and advocates for soccer often take on roles in the United States resembling bickering marriage partners, rehearsing old lines and grievances in a zero-sum debate in which the game acquires the capacity to corrupt or to save. Guardian Unlimited writer Steven Wells (see 31 Oct 07) compiles a roster of the sport’s critics, including some unexpected voices from academia, and adds an important observation often missing in the meaningless discussion over whether soccer will displace American games (“The Truth the Soccerphobes Refuse to Face,” Jan 17). (Jan 22)
The confluence of Arctic cold with Gulf of Mexico–spawned low pressure seemed to bode great things for the seven-year-old Metropolitan Atlanta Casual Soccer League. But there was no snow-viewing party, and no football.
In an interview Jan 11 with the Jewish Chronicle of London, Meir Granat—father of Chelsea manager Avram Grant—details the displacement and death that met the Hasidic family in wartime Europe (Simon Griver, “Shoah Horrors That Haunt Avram Grant”). (Jan 11)
Bethlehem, West Bank, Jan 11 | The statement of the biblical Ruth, the Moabite, a poor woman gleaning in Bethlehem (“house of bread”) behind reapers of barley strikes a parallel with the women’s football team from Palestine, taking its passion and pleasure from scraps left by a patriarchal culture and occupying authorities.
From an initial bid of €50 on Jan 8 to €3,310 ($4,900) two days later, 102 chancers on ebay Deutschland have demonstrated that 24 hours of managerial service to bankrupt fourth-tier Oberliga side KFC Uerdingen is worth paying for. Bidding lasts until Jan 15, four days before the winner assumes tactical oversight during a fund-raising friendly versus Rot Weiß Oberhausen. (Jan 10)
Rangers chairman David Murray has more than a football ground in mind in recent proposals to create a £700 million “Rangers Village,” including the redevelopment and possible renaming of Ibrox, the Govan ground that boasts one of the most iconic façades in world football. The distinctive red brick South Stand, opened 1 Jan 1929, would be retained in Rangers’ proposals, which have not yet been made final. (Jan 9)
Ian Plenderleith, not for the first time, has done great service by offering a synopsis and highlights in translation of director Britta Becker‘s 90-minute documentary Die besten Frauen der Welt (“The Best Women in the World,” Jan 7).
The film chronicles Germany’s championship at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sept 07 and, along the way, points to “the obvious contrasts between the Germans and the US team that failed to advance beyond the semi-final.”
The longest-running radio sports program in the world, the BBC Sports Report, celebrated its 60th anniversary on Jan 3. Recognition also goes to the Edinburgh inflections of James Alexander Gordon, who as part of the show has read the classified football results at 5 p.m. every Saturday since 1972 (see Andrew Baker, “Classified Football Results Make Music at BBC,” Daily Telegraph, Jan 3). (Jan 6)