Category: Teaching Resources

England | Rough girls, delicate boys

England women try to surmount culture of contempt

Leicester, England, Sept 21 | With the United States and England preparing to meet in a Women’s World Cup quarterfinal Sept 22 in Tianjin, China, the contest matches players who, to some degree, owe their footballing fortunes to the deeds of Lancashire forebears.

We interview Jean Williams of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture on the early history of English women’s football and on the “contemptuous” attitude that has endured toward women playing the national game.

Black Queens and Super Falcons dare to transgress on a 'crooked field'

Black Queens and Super Falcons dare to transgress on a ‘crooked field’

“For a woman to play [football] in many places is a transgression,” says Martha Saavedra in a 2007 podcast. Through her research in West Africa, Saavedra sees how football works to define masculinity.

‘Do other Martas exist?’ | In ‘machista’ Brazilian culture, one cannot be sure

Rio de Janeiro, Sept 12 | Argentine journalist Diego Graciano since 2004 has been assembling the story of Marta Vieira da Silva, Brazil’s greatest female player and a potentially galvanizing figure in lifting women’s status in her country.

With her exploits in the cathedral of Brazilian futebol in July, leading the team to a Pan American Games gold medal with 12 goals and having her footprints calcified in the Maracana’s Walk of Fame, she pushed herself into Brazil’s male-dominated sporting consciousness.

‘The feel of the game’ | On the streets, Charlotte participants experience football as sole force

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.

Historically black and proud | At Spelman, women’s soccer pushes beyond expectation

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.

Pride of lions | Iraqi Asian Cup victory reminds a civilization what ‘normal’ feels like

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.

The year of Speedy Gonzales | In 2006 Texas final, Brownsville’s Cowboys produced outsider’s art

The Porter High School Cowboys’ soccer season ended prematurely this year, in a regional quarterfinal playoff to Brownsville rivals Rivera.

By defeating Coppell in the 2006 final, the school, however, will always lay claim to having become the first team from the Rio Grande Valley, in any sport, to have won a state championship competing among Texas’ largest high schools (class 5A). They also validated, in the face of prejudice, their existence as straddlers of culture and language.

Coverage abroad | In Islamic world, head scarves not always compulsory football equipment

Rabat, Morocco, Mar 11 | A cursory survey of women’s use of the hijab within football, in both Muslim and non-Muslim lands, shows variance that likely defies a systemic approach.

Whose heads are covered? | Rules-addled Quebecers keep hijab, but not politics, off the field

Laval, Québec, Feb 28 | Eleven-year-old Asmahan (Azzy) Mansour walked onto an indoor field at a youth soccer tournament in suburban Montreal Sunday and into the maelstrom of Canada’s identity politics.

Women who matter | West Midlands photographer offers clearer picture of grassroots game

Birmingham, England, Feb 14 | When Jaskirt Dhaliwal trained the lens of her Mamiya 7 II on players of Birmingham City Ladies FC, she told them not to smile. Instead, the players were asked to think about their lives in football and all that such a life entails.

Sisters, united | Like mushrooms, women’s soccer sprouts in northern Malawi

Nkhata Bay, Malawi, Jan 15 | In this zone in northern Malawi, bordering Lake Nyasa along the southern terminus of the Great African Rift Valley, rates of HIV/Aids infection among pregnant women reach 24 percent. Lack of economic opportunity and education, isolation, alcohol abuse and boredom all contribute to the epidemic’s hold in a breathtakingly scenic countryside that lures tourists to well-appointed chalets.

But football for women offers an alternative in which Nkhata Bay Sisters United persist, although they must travel 62 miles round-trip to play many of their opponents in a 16-team league based in Mzuzu.

‘Mad about football’ | Tackling the stigma of mental illness through calcio, cinema

Rome, Jan 12 | Within the sometimes cynical culture of calcio in Italy, the documentary “Matti per il calcio” (Mad about Football) offers respite from the latest “calciopoli” scandal: the dark dealings linking several of Italy’s major clubs to a pattern of match-fixing and referee seduction.

“Una cura di calcio” says the headline above the film review in La Rinascita della Sinistra. The article suggests the benefits of football in treating the mentally ill and clinically depressed, but also wonders whether the members of Gabbiano FC, the subjects of the movie, recapture some of the joy and life-renewing power that football was meant to provide.

Clerical error? | Iranian officials say coed attendance remains possible, despite sharia’ ban

Tehran, Iran, Dec 30 | With translation help from Portland, Oreg.-based writer and radio host Goudarz Eghtedari, we learn from Iran’s sporting authority that preparations are being made to facilitate coed attendance at football matches despite an ongoing ban by clerics.

’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.

Pinny lanes | On the margins and in the barrens, soccer gains a foothold

Deblois, Maine | In the part of the state that Mainers call Down East, soccer has flourished along with a bumper crop of wild blueberries.

At home and away | With march, migrants seek space on foreign field

Decatur, Alabama | Until hundreds of thousands marched yesterday, it had become hard to piece together isolated movements from such places as Janesville, Wisconsin; Liberal, Kansas; Bowling Green, Kentucky; San Angelo, Texas; and Dalton, Georgia. These are small to mid-sized locales featured in recent media reports for burgeoning Hispanic populations and for the development of local, ethnically based soccer leagues.

He’s in the pink | Interview with Simon Kuper

Interview with Simon Kuper from Jan 05.

Luz y verdad | Women’s football in the heights of La Paz

La Paz, Bolivia, May 4 | Periodically, unrest grips Bolivia as the marginalized and oppressed indigenous majorities clash with ruling European-descent elites. Years of struggle have taught poor Bolivians that official channels for lodging their complaints and bringing about change are useless.

Cinema | ‘Futbol Palestina 2006′

22 Apr 05 | Body searches, travel restrictions, arrests and martial law are not conditions usually associated with international football. These however have been familiar realities for members of the Palestinian national team. In spite of daunting odds, these players have succeeded in representing their nation. Futbol Palestina 2006, Nelson Soza and Marcelo Piña‘s (left) film in progress, is a record of the players’ struggles, determination and pride. See also “In ‘Tiro Libre,’ Walls of Separation and Misunderstanding” (Apr 23) »

Women’s football | In Colombia, fútbol for peace, but what about gender equity?

Anthropologist Beatriz Vélez on the intensely masculine world of Colombian fútbol and how it provokes “much suffering for women who play football.”

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