N.B.: It is always possible that links below will have expired, or that the link will take you to an archive, where you must part with $3.00 or so for a 750-word article. Another possibility is that a subscription or registration of some sort will be required. We apologize for any inconvenience, noting only that there frankly are too many links on the site to keep up with them all.
If, however, you would like us to find a now-expired article in our archives, we'd be happy to send it to you, if available. Please use the contacts link.
When steroids aren't an issue
Osaka, Japan, 4 April 2005 | Sam Schechner, writing in Slate, poses the most tantalizing question in robot soccer: "Will a team of robots beat the World Cup champions—or at least the
Stirring up frenzy before 'soccer war'
Saitama, Japan, 8 February 2005 | Emphasis before the World Cup qualifier tomorrow between North Korea and Japan has fallen on the background of hostilities and bitterness. Japan is said to be readying 3,400 security forces as some among the 150,000
Two members of the North Korean side, which last reached the World Cup finals in its scintillating run of 1966, play in the J-League: Ri Han-jae of Sanfrecce Hiroshima and An Yong-hak of Nagoya Grampus Eight. "I can't help but feel nervous," says An. This is North Korea's first attempt at qualification since 1994. "The government has paid deep attention to developing football in a systematic way," says a member of the country's physical culture and sports-guidance commission. (Update: The match ended peacefully, with Japan 2–1 victors.)
Mrs. Kushida and Yasuharu Kawarada from Big Issue Japan. (Copyright © 2004 Georg Lassacher)
The third Homeless World Cup is scheduled next summer for New York, with the Ford Foundation providing much of the financial backing. The practical difficulties of organizing the event and of fielding a team are well-chronicled in the New York Daily News (Michael O'Keeffe, "The Game of Life," 11 April) and New York Press (Ron Grunberg, "Street Soccer," 23 June). Both articles discuss the bureaucratic tangles involved in compiling identity and travel documents. Grunberg, the New York team's coach, writes that
[e]ven after several months of planning and twice-weekly practices, after recruiting players at the food lines and in the shelters, with all the interest we'd stirred up—we had just a few bona fide candidates who could play, travel legally and pass the medical tests. But then three new players walked in: two hailing from Peru, the other from Haiti. Not only do they have their papers in order, they're naturals on the grass.
Other complications also crop up, as social worker Zmira Amrani told the Daily News:
"We had a player wind up in the hospital in Austria last year," she says, referring to a homeless New Yorker who came apart emotionally under the pressure of competition. "We want to make sure the players we take to Sweden don't have a history of mental health problems—or if they do, that they are taking their meds."
Renewal in spirit and body, though, has been a more common outcome. Twelve of last year's 141 players are now pursuing a career in football; others have gone back to school or found other jobs. Just competing is an emotional risk. David Tajmas, captain of the Sweden team, said "at first I never wanted to play in the team because I did not want to reveal my [addiction]. But this opportunity has rebuilt my self-confidence" (Simon Reeves, "Homeless WC Finals," footballculture.net).
Other significant football and sport gatherings that have already occurred or that will take place in Europe this summer include the EuroGames 2004 in Munich, a project of the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF); the Global Games in Bollnäs, Sweden, organized by the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS-FID); the Partially Sighted World Championships in Manchester, England, in December; and the Mondiali Antirazzisti, or Anti-racist World Cup, in Montecchio, Italy, organized by Football against Racism in Europe (FARE).