Tag: "Grassroots & Youth"

Afrika's tale—saved from the streets to play on the streets

Afrika’s tale—saved from the streets to play on the streets

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 »

Canada | First among soccer nations

Beckham, on Vancouver swing, tries football by Canadian rules

Vancouver, British Columbia, Nov 7 | As usual, David Beckham‘s North American barnstorming circuit—with a stop tonight at BC Place Stadium—to us raises more interest in pre-existing soccer traditions than in the soccer actually being played.

‘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.

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.

Winning with tolerance | Sydney lesbian club shows Australia it is bats for football

Sydney, Aug 8 | The Flying Bats’ fifth-division representative in the North West Sydney Women’s Soccer Association suffered its worst outing of the season on Aug 5: a 0–6 loss to Thornleigh.

The taste of humiliation still lingered the following morning for team member Danielle Warby, who called the experience both “embarrassing” and “painful.” But the community liaison for the Flying Bats Women’s Football Club, the longest-running lesbian soccer club in Australia’s capital, offers more fundamental reasons for the club’s existence.

Cross of distinction | Cruz Azul’s visit to Atlanta offers another cultural intersection

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.

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.

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.

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.

Importing Real football | Beckham adds his share to U.S. trade imbalance

Carson, California, Jan 22 | The bridge metaphor has become prominent with the Los Angeles Galaxy’s signing of David Beckham from Real Madrid. “David is truly the only individual that can build the bridge between soccer in America and the rest of the world,” says Timothy Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Galaxy.

Such brainless marketing patter deservedly sinks into the well of words that has accumulated about this player transfer of global insignificance.

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.

Nine years after volcanic eruption, football still suffers | Readings for 2 December 2006

Articles on football in Montserrat, an Arsenal stadium mystery, a winner in the Football Art Prize competition, possible relief for German referee Robert Hoyzer, the “wee ones” in Scotland, and a plan for cleaner World Cups.

The league that can field only 2 teams for the game of 2 halves | Readings for 21 November 2006

Articles on the world’s smallest football league–on the Isles of Scilly–and Islamist restrictions on football in Somalia.

Hungary | Ferenc Puskás dies, aged 79

Articles on the death of Ferenc Puskás at 79; Hugo Sánchez‘s first statements as coach of Mexico; Ligo Revelacion in Decatur, Alabama; a grumpy columnist in Israel; and another study on sectarianism in Scottish football.

Homelessness | Where soccer becomes a work of art

Charlotte, North Carolina | Soccer for the homeless keeps gathering steam. Beginning Saturday, teams from across the United States compete on a street-soccer court in downtown Charlotte to select eight players and eight alternates for the fourth Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, from Sept 24–30.