Portugal since 2004 has tapped players from the United States and Canada for its national women’s teams. To Portuguese coaches and football authorities, these North American imports are “new Portuguese.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have offered our two cents—at current exchange rates, slightly less than one pence—on David Beckham‘s touchdown (bad metaphor?) in the United States. The article appears in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sunday “@issue” section.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Istanbul, Dec 20 | New York Times popular-music critic Jon Pareles refers in the opening paragraph of his appreciation to the “sheer improbability” of Ahmet Ertegün‘s career.
A reading of Ertegün’s life, even a superficial reading, demonstrates the often covert international influences on seemingly indigenous American art forms—on soul music and rhythm and blues, in Ertegün’s case—and on American soccer. The late Lamar Hunt, too, sought to bring the international spice of football to the U.S. sportscape.
Articles on the cult status of Celtic’s Shunsuke Nakamura, prospects for Australia’s A-League, Icelandic influence in the form of a takeover at West Ham United, FIFA’s ban on Iran, and pessimism over South Africa 2010.
Articles include a history of women’s football in England, the quest for “conkers” superiority, advances in the Australian game, and an actor, alone on stage, convincing audiences that he is attending football matches.
Articles on the football arts, Scottish influence on MLS, and the Mexican golfer temporarily displacing futbol from the headlines.