Author Archive

’Tis the season for tears | The extraordinary, untold story of Marta Vieira da Silva

Dois Riachos, Brazil, Dec 28 | Marta Vieira da Silva, proclaimed by FIFA on Dec 18 as the best player in women’s soccer, has been on the road for much of the past six years.

Beginning at 14, when she followed a path from the nordeste to Rio de Janeiro, seeking opportunity with Vasco da Gama, she has played around the world for age-group and the full Brazilian national team and now, professionally, for Umeå IK in Sweden. The journey took her to the Zurich Opera House last Monday night for recognition, at 20, on a gilded stage and with a golden trophy.

Butting in on Christmas | Zidane, Materazzi herald His coming

Including figures from the world of football in the holiday-time presepe could not be sacreligious, as football in Italy certainly takes on characteristics of faith.

Ahmet Ertegun and Lamar Hunt | Adding spice, foreign and domestic, to American soccer

Istanbul, Dec 20 | New York Times popular-music critic Jon Pareles refers in the opening paragraph of his appreciation to the “sheer improbability” of Ahmet Ertegün‘s career.

A reading of Ertegün’s life, even a superficial reading, demonstrates the often covert international influences on seemingly indigenous American art forms—on soul music and rhythm and blues, in Ertegün’s case—and on American soccer. The late Lamar Hunt, too, sought to bring the international spice of football to the U.S. sportscape.

Magnum opus | From Charlton to Cantona, book charts a Devilish history

Manchester, England, Dec 15 | The Independent calls them “£imited editions.” These are books seeking the reverence once granted the Gutenberg Bible, instant collectibles demanding coffee tables with reinforced legs.

The latest megabook publicity splash concerns the Manchester United Opus, nearly 80 lbs of silk-coated pages with a base price of £3,000.

Terminal sadness | Stranded in time, Ghanaian plays football alone

Within Diosdado Macapagal International Airport six miles northwest of Angeles City in the Philippines, Ghanaian footballer Ayi Nii Aryee spends his days in legal limbo, lacking proper paperwork to travel to his destination or back to his point of origin.

He has been living at the airport, the one-time U.S. air base formerly known as Clark Field, since July, sleeping first on terminal chairs and then on a cot provided by the airport’s fire brigade.

Occupied territories | For Palestinian women, a field is a dream

Articles on the Palestinian Territories national women’s soccer team, on tensions at Heart of Midlothian in Edinburgh, on the run on £5 notes depicting George Best, and on the assassination of a Sunni Arab soccer official in Baghdad.

Nine years after volcanic eruption, football still suffers | Readings for 2 December 2006

Articles on football in Montserrat, an Arsenal stadium mystery, a winner in the Football Art Prize competition, possible relief for German referee Robert Hoyzer, the “wee ones” in Scotland, and a plan for cleaner World Cups.

The Chinese commentator for whom soccer brought pain

Articles on the downfall of Chinese football commentator Huang Jianxiang and on the end of Lansdowne Road in Dublin.

Frank McCourt recalls some hallowed turf | Readings for 29 November 2006

Articles by Frank McCourt on the sporting culture of his Limerick of youth, on further suppression of football-watching in Somalia, on Abbass Swan of Maccabi Haifa, and on reprieve for Iran’s football federation.

The Japanese Bhoy done good | Readings for 27 November 2006

Articles on the cult status of Celtic’s Shunsuke Nakamura, prospects for Australia’s A-League, Icelandic influence in the form of a takeover at West Ham United, FIFA’s ban on Iran, and pessimism over South Africa 2010.

The league that can field only 2 teams for the game of 2 halves | Readings for 21 November 2006

Articles on the world’s smallest football league–on the Isles of Scilly–and Islamist restrictions on football in Somalia.

2002 World Cup inspired a ‘toilet culture’ | Readings for 20 November 2006

Articles on the “toilet culture” inspired by the 2002 World Cup, on a 35lb Pele book and on the coaching skills of Hope Powell, manager of the England women’s national team.

Hungary | Ferenc Puskás dies, aged 79

Articles on the death of Ferenc Puskás at 79; Hugo Sánchez‘s first statements as coach of Mexico; Ligo Revelacion in Decatur, Alabama; a grumpy columnist in Israel; and another study on sectarianism in Scottish football.

2,063 goals, but this was the first | Readings for 17 November 2006

Articles about the first goal scored in a FIFA World Cup and barn swallows at risk from construction on an airport South Africa wishes to add before the 2010 event.

Don’t call them WAGs | Readings for 16 November 2006

Articles include a history of women’s football in England, the quest for “conkers” superiority, advances in the Australian game, and an actor, alone on stage, convincing audiences that he is attending football matches.

Fabulous Falcons win 5th Africa crown | Readings for 15 November 2006

Articles on the African Women’s Championship, an award for Sepp Blatter and the Luton Town manager’s rant against women linesmen.

The art of football | Readings for 14 November 2006

Articles on the football arts, Scottish influence on MLS, and the Mexican golfer temporarily displacing futbol from the headlines.

Strangers on a train | On metro, Spartak adopts ‘lazy fare’ approach to team travel

Moscow | The city’s metro stations have been dubbed “people’s palaces,” an architectural blend of art deco and socialist-realist influence that creates an ornate underground habitat for 8.2 million daily passengers. But despite its reputation as the “people’s team”–with origins in the trade-union movement, independent of other enclaves of state power–Spartak Moscow until Oct 31 had not availed itself of the 173 miles of subway service on 12 lines.

Global Game Wallpaper 29

New Global Game wallpaper| Mural outside a station along the Reseau Express Regional, the urban-rail network in Paris, on 4 July 2006. On the next day France would defeat Portugal in a World Cup semifinal, but the Coupe du Monde would become known as the Coupe de Boule (Head butt).

Kicking it with Karl | Both the ball and head are round

London | Talk on the world’s most downloaded podcast—some 8 million downloads confirmed by Guinness World Records—occasionally turns to sport and to football. Ricky Gervais Show co-host Stephen Merchant on 22 Aug 06 asked the third man of the trio—the world’s favorite Mancunian, Karl Pilkington—if he had been paying attention to the Commonwealth Games.

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