Held captive for 3,080 days during the Iran-Iraq war, Emad Nimah‘s “grief was made worse due to total ignorance of how Tottenham were getting on.”
Football grounds around the world have a tradition of offering refuge from disasters. Stadiums and soccer itself offer shelter and solace in Haiti following the devastating earthquake Jan 12.
Update on the Haiti earthquake from Laura Anduze, international liaison for L’Athlétique d’Haiti, the youth soccer program founded in Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince, in 1996 by Robert Duval.
Liberated from apartments outside Atlanta, 75 kids play in a Martin Luther King Day soccer tournament. Local nonprofits use soccer to help children from warring countries, whether Angola or Burma or Sudan, adjust. With video (8:39) »
Filmmaker, writer and footballer Gwendolyn Oxenham chronicles The Soccer Project, an in-process documentary film that tells of the intimate bonds soccer creates through pickup games (aka “kickabouts”) in South America, Israel, France, Kenya and elsewhere.
Ron Newman helped build the U.S. game, calling on carpentry skills to construct goalposts out of discarded building materials. In Atlanta in 1967, he jumped off a Memorial Day float and kicked a ball to youngsters. With podcast »
Beijing | Brazil’s got a striker so good he can score blindfolded. Felipe Marcos‘s goal in the last minute broke a tie with China and gave Brazil Paralympic gold, 2–1, in five-a-side soccer, blind classification.
Long-form Sports Illustrated writer Gary Smith again has applied his odd epistemology to soccer (“Alive and Kicking,” Jun 23). In 8,000 words, he writes passionately in his familiar mode of author-vacated all-knowing about the Fugees of Clarkston, Georgia—ground already well plowed by Warren St. John of the New York Times (see 25 Jan 07). (Jun 19)
Football universes exist in parallel. Such was the case in May 08 when Ukraine United and Shakhtar played a friendly, not in the motherland, but on an artificial pitch at Ontario Soccer Centre.
Miami | Haiti past, present and future came together early in May on an urban oasis in Little Haiti. After 10 years of negotiation and bureaucratic delay, a rare inner-city, full-sized pitch opened on what was industrial ground north of downtown. With multimedia and podcast »
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)
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.
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.
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)
Charlotte, North Carolina | Given the rigors of a night-shift job, Ron “Pop” Miller sometimes would sleep until the last possible moment before practices preceding the Homeless World Cup. Physical conditioning, fatigue and poor nutrition all posed obstacles for Miller’s participation in the fifth homeless tournament between Jul 29 and Aug 4 in Copenhagen. Further, Miller found himself learning a new game that some teammates from Central America had been playing much of their lives.
Baghdad, Aug 9 | A triumphant march through the Asian Cup tournament in July contributed to the resurgence of the Arabic phrase Assood al-Rafidain (Lions of Mesopotamia) to refer to the Iraqi national football team.
“It’s a way of labeling them with this unifying and historic cultural icon,” says Newsweek Baghdad correspondent Larry Kaplow, who appeared on our Aug 7 podcast. Rising above divisions by ethnicity and sect, the Iraqi team, which trains and plays matches in Jordan, defeated Saudi Arabia 1–0 on Jul 29 to lift the Asian Cup for the first time.
Atlanta, Jul 25 | Much of soccer culture in the United States remains hidden, but matches such as the Jul 28 Copa Amistad between the Atlanta Silverbacks and Cruz Azul cast light on the place of the sport in everyday lives of Latinos.
Will Ramírez, publisher of Estadio, a Spanish-language sports weekly based in Tucker, Georgia, describes in our Jul 24 podcast how he and many of the 425,000 Hispanics in the Atlanta area remain linked to soccer despite, or because of, displacement. Also joining us are Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica and Los Angeles Times writer Sam Quinones.