Category: Regions

Streets paved with soccer | Atlanta-birthed grassroots program teaches game and life in ‘Soccer 101’

We are grateful for the biweekly indulgence, from the north Atlanta studios of WGSR, of speaking to soccer-impassioned people about soccer. Today we feature Soccer in the Streets, part of the streetfootballworld network of some 80 football-based social-development initiatives aimed at communal and personal transformation.

Soccer made in Canada | CBC schedules grassroots broadcast spanning B.C. and the Maritimes

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.

Lofty discussions | Morales’s maneuvering in Zurich earns reprieve for La Paz

Zurich, Switzerland, Jul 6 | Is it safe to play football on the Andean altiplano or the Tibetan plateau? FIFA has not decided yet, but it continues to modify its judgment, originally decreed in May, that FIFA competitions could not be staged above 2,500m. We interview, as part of our third podcast, Eduardo Ávila of Global Voices Online to learn about Bolivia’s reaction to FIFA’s decision-making process.

Souls on ‘The Line’ | Guatemala City sex workers turn to fútbol for a sense of who they are

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.

Out of thin air | Where llamas and footballers prosper, FIFA fears to tread

La Paz, Bolivia, Jun 15 | On May 27, FIFA’s executive committee announced the ban on competitive international matches 2,500m above sea level. For once united internally and with their Andean neighbors, Bolivia—the country most severely affected—is organizing. A manifesto sponsored by several Bolivian newspapers concludes, “Bolivians are a poor people, we play football with humility, but we are dignified and we have a national character such that we will defend our rights when we are not at fault.”

‘It wesnae a goal, Geoff’ | Worldwide, Scots lend ‘fitba’ their distinctive style

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.”

We brake for commercials | Soccer spectacle fits seamlessly in America’s land of make-believe

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.”

Back to Brownsville | Chronicling a soccer team, and a sister city, skilled at border crossing

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.

Flower of Scotland | Do nationalist feelings last longer than 90 minutes?

Nationwide parliamentary elections have lifted Scottish nationalists, for the first time, into a plurality of seats in the Scottish Assembly at Holyrood. Did feelings for the Scotland football team, made explicit in the lusty terrace singing of “Flower of Scotland,” play a role?

Wor(l)ds for football | From ‘ball-coise’ to ‘kaduregel’ to ‘voetbal’

A long explanation for why we include “socca’ ” and “socker” on our newest T-shirt offering.

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.

Visual arts | The sixth photo-contest winner

The winner of the quarterly photo contest is posted.

Talisman of the throw | FIFA searches for new moniker to proclaim Blatter’s reign

Zurich, Apr 1 | Suits at FIFA, the governing body for the world game, apparently are a bit miffed at the license being taken with Joseph “Sepp” Blatter‘s honorific. Gliding unopposed into a third term as FIFA president, Blatter has on occasion been heralded in press reports as the FIFA “boss,” “supremo” or, sometimes, “kingpin.”

Cinema | Iranian women, in Panahi’s film, move beyond a boundary

The women in OffsideJafar Panahi‘s 2006 production receiving limited release in American cinemas—have “entered a forbidden space before the law has given them permission to do so,” says the Iranian director.

Don’t smoke ’em if you got ’em | Coming ban in England stadia another blow to terrace nostalgia

London, Mar 16 | Any traces of the UK terrace culture after which nostalgists now pine may be snuffed out permanently as of Jul 1, at 6 a.m., when a nationwide public smoking ban comes into force.

Jean Baudrillard, 1929-2007 | Coining a ‘worldwide currency’ for football violence

Paris, Mar 12 | Little evidence exists of Jean Baudrillard‘s rooting interests in football. The French philosopher, who died Mar 6, left behind a corpus of cultural reflection.

To him belonged clear-eyed, if not always clearly worded, explication of concepts such as “hyperreality” and “simulation”—with the latter implying more than Arjen Robben flopping around on the left-hand touchline. Such notions have lent themselves to football, including Baudrillard’s own essay on the Heysel disaster of 1985.

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.

A portrait with fluidity | Preserving Zidane’s day of work on ‘the green of the field’

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.

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.

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