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.
Decatur, Georgia | “We only travel to come back home,” writes Ludwig Harig, the German master of the football sonnet. These words have never seemed more true following an aborted trip to Deutschland, a trip that ended in tears on Jun 27 on a sweltering curbside outside the Delta Air Lines terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Obviously the disappointment is acute, all the more so as one of the missions of the Global Game since 2003 has been to connect to the wider world.
Englewood, Florida | On holiday, near the one-time home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League and Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer, soccer and, specifically, the 2006 World Cup finals did not seem misplaced. Wait staff at a Tampa International Airport tavern did not object to tuning to the U.S.â€“Czech Republic in the first round, as long as you were stuffing your face with mahi-mahi. Others waiting for a lull in Tropical Storm Alberto set up camp, murmuring as the goals rained into the U.S. net.
Decatur, Georgia | Rare is the time when we can write from our own town about cultural happenings related to football. But the World Cup arts program has seeped into even this sweltering corner of the all-encompassing FIFA universe. The Vinson Gallery on 8 June inaugurated a showing of the 14 official art posters commissioned for the finals. [...]
Evanston, Illinois | We had intended to let this one lie, but a recent posting from Newsweek columnist Mark Starr on the hazing scandal affecting the Northwestern University women’s soccer team made us reconsider. The actions of the players depicted on a vigilante-style website intended to document misbehavior among athletes cross all boundaries of decency. Yet the “girls gone wild” approach that male sports writers have taken in discussing the incident indicates more of a prurient interest in women athletes and their sex lives than genuine concern with misdeeds.
Washington | “A 23-year-old professional athlete with a social conscience. What gives?” So asks Mike Wise of the Washington Post in his profile of D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian. The statement troubles both for what it says about the inner lives of athletes as well as about the assumptions of sports writers, who often lack time [...]
Saratoga, California | In a drama played out daily at planning and zoning hearings throughout the United States, parents’ desires for soccer space in this bedroom community of redwood trees and sycamores have created tension with other residents’ wishes for peace and quiet. The San Jose Mercury News reports on the dispute over the future of [...]
London | An American edition of the Times of London—for distribution in New York and Washington—will try to capitalize on “unsatisfied demand” for soccer coverage, especially during the World Cup finals. The staid London daily, owned by the Rupert Murdoch–controlled News Corporation, is responding to trends in Internet traffic that show close to 40 percent of [...]
Overland Park, Kansas | For horses lacking in confidence, skittish or out of shape, a Kansas City–area horse trainer over the past two years has been devising rules and marketing products related to horse soccer. Reneé Miller says she devised the game by accident, rolling her children’s 50-inch rubber play ball in front of a [...]
Riga, Latvia | The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation as well as a major player in the International Olympic Committee, Rene Fasel fears for ice hockey’s status in North America. Speaking to Reuters at the IIHF world championships, Fasel says hockey is under threat from soccer.
Washington | National Geographic in June features soccer as its main story package with a website supplement, “The Beautiful Game: Why Soccer Rules the World.” On the Web, and likely in the print version as well, NG includes lengthy excerpts from the soon-to-be-released (in the USA) Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup (see Apr 7). [...]
Washington | U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently embarked on a mission of soccer diplomacy. Now President George Bush has shared his own views in an interview with German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, timed to the Washington visit of Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor.
London and San Francisco | Dave Eggers states the facts straight in a book excerpt published last weekend in the Observer. In yet another permutation of the “Why Americans don’t like soccer” argument, Eggers mentions, first, the Cold Warâ€“era “commie” taint and, second, the prevalence of diving (aka “simulation”).
Blackburn, England | The visit would not exactly qualify as ping-pong diplomacy, but sport as a means of high-level diplomatic exchange continues with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s excursion to what has been termed “the center of the world.”
Dortmund, Germany | Supporters lent a raucous surrounding to today’s friendly between Germany and the United States. We did not see denizens of the Signal Iduna Park wearing any of the free 11,000 T-shirts reading “Ihr fÃ¼r uns und wir fÃ¼r euch” (“You’re for us and we’re for you”) meant to soften feared hostility toward Germany’s manager. At least the U.S. television commentators were not wearing them.
East Rutherford, New Jersey | Names for Major League Soccer clubs these days appear to have all the staying power of names for PGA Tour events. Last week Red Bull New York—which, confusingly, will compete as the New York Red Bulls—supplanted the MetroStars with the latter’s acquisition by Red Bull GmbH of Austria. This follows the rebranding [...]
Houston | Comments posted on a Houston Chronicle web log—all by English-speakers, mind you—ran strongly negative following the announcement earlier today that the Major League Soccer club would be called “Dynamo.” In a change of marketing strategies, club officials scratched “Houston 1836″ following protests that the name recalled the ugly secession of Texas from Mexico [...]
Tokyo | It would have made a better first-round game in soccer’s World Cup. But in baseball, Japan versus China—a pairing that today helped launch the first World Baseball Classic—resulted in an 18–2 thrashing administered by the home side. Soccer, and the world-embracing success of the quadrennial World Cup finals, has motivated Major League Baseball’s attempt to “internationalize the sport,” according to [...]
Los Angeles | Fresh off receiving an honorary All-America award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, late-night comedy host Jon Stewart (née Leibowitz) continues to soak up the glitz. On Sunday he will emcee the 78th awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Unlike the NSCAA gala, the Academy Awards will [...]
Miami | Eyes turn toward Brazil when considering links between football and the pre-Lenten season. Rio and São Paulo clubs exist symbiotically with samba schools that parade to the sambadrome during the Rio Carnaval. Yet a recent article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel makes even clearer, from talking with expatriate Brazilians in Miami, the strong [...]