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 »
Tag: "Grassroots & Youth"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Articles on the world’s smallest football league–on the Isles of Scilly–and Islamist restrictions on football in Somalia.
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.