We have offered our two cents—at current exchange rates, slightly less than one pence—on David Beckham‘s touchdown (bad metaphor?) in the United States. The article appears in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sunday “@issue” section.
Toronto, Jul 7 | First there was Hockey Night in Canada. Now there is Soccer Day in Canada, a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. production that aims to fill two hours on Jul 8 with reporting on the grassroots game, tied to the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Of football documentaries that favor the human element there is no shortage of late. One of the most recent is Estrellas de la Línea, screened at English-language film festivals as The Railroad All-Stars, about Guatemala City sex workers who in 2004 organized themselves as a football team.
Dundee, Scotland, May 31 | In our second podcast, Billy Kay, author of The Scottish World, recalls Scotland’s influence on the worldwide spread and ultimate dominance of the passing, artistic style of association football. Scotland will not let England forget that “it wes us.”
Multibillionaire Philip Anschutz, owner of three Major League Soccer teams, has seized on football as a consumable, offering it to the American public in packaged, market-tested form devoid of any native countercultural quality.
Such practice is in keeping with what Umberto Eco and isolated voices from the past, such as Britain’s suffragettes, have noticed about male spectator sport: that it is a cultural neurosis “for which there is neither a reasonable explanation nor an effective cure.”
In our inaugural podcast, Texas writer Oscar Casares discusses his Nov 06 profile of the 2006 Texas state soccer champion Porter High School of Brownsville.
We wonder why the Dallas Cowboys, and not soccer, feature in his short stories and hear how a border culture, up to 98 percent Latino in places, may have helped foster Porter players’ resolve in facing up to racist taunts.
For art-house and football film buffs in the United States, viewings of the 2006 Cannes Film Festival entry “Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait” likely will be a private or slightly illicit affair.
Warsaw, Poland, Jan 30 | Ryszard Kapuscinski, 74, who died on Jan 23, rarely wrote about football. Yet the title of one of his best-known collections is “The Soccer War” (Granta, 1990), in which the title essay, translated from the Polish by William Brand, chronicles Kapuscinski’s insertion into the Honduran capital as war breaks out with El Salvador across the shared border.
Villains, for a moment | New York Times’ Fugee tale exposes soccer-challenged Southerners to public ire
Clarkston, Georgia | In the first few lines of a 6,000-word article by Warren St. John, readers of the Jan 21 New York Times—even those glancing casually at copies at supermarket checkouts—learned Clarkston Mayor Lee Swaney‘s feelings about soccer and, by extension, about the nicely kitted team of refugees who wanted to play in his town.
But they may have been misled by a convenient stereotype and should have been treated to a tale without villains.
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.
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.
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.