On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we interview William Heyen about his poem “Parity,” concerning a 1944 football match at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Beside crematoriums, Nazis engineered the ultimate perversion of sport.
For Aleksandar Hemon, the Bosnian-born writer, lack of soccer means spiritual death. With interview »
Football’s powers of resurrection have rarely had a better exemplar than Martin Afrika. The 32-year-old captain for South Africa at the Homeless World Cup has reconstructed his identity through sport. With podcast »
Marta Vieira da Silva, 22, announces that she will leave her home of five years—Umeå, Sweden, the northern coastal city that nurtured her game and personality but that could not keep her from the bigger world. With timeline and podcast »
Assaf Gavron, captain of the Israeli writers’ XI (see 9 Dec 08), regards football as a legitimate literary subject: “The main appeal is to accomplish the boyhood dream of many men really, not only writers. It is to be a football star.” With podcast »
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 »
Claudio Tamburrini—philosophy professor and former goalkeeper—speaks about his Mar 1978 decision to “opt for life” and escape an Argentine prison. With podcast »
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 »
Monrovia, Liberia, Apr 6 | Football has its hidden stories, but even when these stories are reported some aspects still remain hidden.
Such is the case with amputee footballers of Liberia, who on Apr 6 defeated neighbor Sierra Leone to earn the championship of the second All Africa Amputee Cup of Nations. In the final at Antoinette Tubman Stadium—the facility named for the spouse of former president William Tubman—Junior Kulee scored Liberia’s lone goal. With 14-minute podcast.
Hugh Hornby, author of a comprehensive account of Britain’s 15 surviving festival football games—Uppies and Downies: The Extraordinary Football Games of Britain (English Heritage, 2008)—says the ideal venue for these mass-participation events is a town of between 5,000 and 10,000. With podcast »
The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer, by David Goldblatt, appears at booksellers in North America this week, and we wonder how many will read the title’s four words as a direct challenge to the myth of American centrality in all things.
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dec 10 | Özgür Dirim Özkan, in fieldwork among supporters’ groups in Sarajevo since Feb 07 and on the Bosnian Football Culture website, has examined football as but a small part of a society that, in the Western frame, implies little but ethnic-riven conflict and a constellation of indecipherable place names. With 28-minute podcast.
Football-generated passions, says Coelho, will propel Brazil toward 2014
Paris, Nov 8 | Within 24 hours of writing about Brazil’s successful presentation to host the 2014 World Cup and the role of writer Paulo Coelho in the bid effort, we received a message from one of Coelho’s assistants, taking note of our comments. We speak with Coelho about his role in the bid and the place of football in Brazilian life.
Unable by temperament and conviction to create a “conventional” sports report, Steven Wells has built a Web 2.0 following by trusting his punk-poet instincts and inducing an irony-challenged foamy slaver among his American and UK readership. With 40-minute podcast.
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.
Atlanta, Aug 23 | As soccer tacticians do, Spelman College coach Philmore George speaks of building a team from the back, using combination play to instill belief in the collective.
It makes sense, therefore, that the co-captains in George’s fourth season, which begins Sept 1, are defenders: seniors Ashley Hamilton and Rabiah “Rabi” Jamar. Together they not only have led the Spelman Jaguars from the back but the spread of women’s soccer into new territories in America’s fragmented demographic.