The Beauty of Soccer, No Strings Attached

Cascarear. Pichanga. Pick-up. Park soccer. What do those terms mean? If you play soccer, you know what I’m talking about. They are soccer in its rawest, most basic form. With a ball and makeshift goal, you’ve got a game with two or more folks. Shoes. Bags. Backpacks. Shirts. Anything can serve as a goal. The key is a few inanimate objects, a round inanimate object, and a friend.

Yet this unique cultural event deserves more praise and more analysis. Continue reading “The Beauty of Soccer, No Strings Attached” »

The Obligatory Joe Hart Error Post In Which I Exhaust Every Conceivble Pun Involving His Last Name

Puns make the world go ’round. Or at least fill the front pages of the British sports dailies. Still, puns often come to as in very ad hoc fashion – to date, no scientific categorization or organization of puns, at least in football matters, has been completed or even attempted. As the self-appointed guardian of universal knowledge, I aim to rectify this deficiency.

With a mad assist to the excellent Fisted Away, I now present a breathtaking analysis of puns involving England’s goaltender Joe Hart. Continue reading “The Obligatory Joe Hart Error Post In Which I Exhaust Every Conceivble Pun Involving His Last Name” »

The Savage Defectives: An Untrue Story of an Unpaid American Mascot in the EPL

The dirty laundry has been aired out. As per The Guardian, many EPL clubs enjoy millions of pounds in revenue but have failed to pay staff the UK’s minimum wage. Rather, many are classified as “internships.” How the word “internship” became a magical term that supplanted “unpaid labor” is another story. What’s more interesting is what happened last summer: a young American college grad said “to hell” with grad school and went to the UK to follow his dream: being a mascot for an EPL side.

What he found was a cold, stark reality. This is his story. Continue reading “The Savage Defectives: An Untrue Story of an Unpaid American Mascot in the EPL” »

The Real Madrid v. Manchester United Recap Recap

Celebrated novelist David Foster Wallace garnered notoriety and perhaps got a bit of flack for teaching literature to college students by relying heavily on “commercial” books (Grisham, King, Clancy). However, DFW’s goal was simple: break down these works and see just how they manipulate/engage/attract our attention. Books of this nature as best compared to popcorn – they are not a full meal by any measure, but people really really like popcorn.

With a similar goal, I invite you to pull back the curtain on the popcorn of the soccersphere: the match recap. Let’s dissect this prevalent sub-genre and then, together, rebuild it. Continue reading “The Real Madrid v. Manchester United Recap Recap” »

I am Zlatan: the House on Amiralsgatan Street

I am Zlatan. You are Zlatan. Aren’t we all a little Zlatan? Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s autobiography has been short-listed for a Swedish literary award. No, not an award for most interactive iPad app. A literary award. L-I-T-E-R-A-R-Y. You remain skeptical. What exactly rose to critical acclaim, you ask? The colorful cleats picture? The tattoo explanations?  The problem is simple: you are looking in the wrong place. The merit lies elsewhere.

Zlatan’s autobiography has two versions: the glossy and commercially viable iPhone app, but also a poignant, emotional, and expressive series of vignettes very similar to Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street.” Like Cisneros, Zlatan’s tale reveals the troubled and painful longings of an immigrants’ child. The short but poignant vignettes offer a glimpse into the depths of a delicate soul. He grew up in the Rosengard neighborhood of Malmo, Sweden, but his tale touches on universal themes of acceptance, rejection, adolescence, and adulthood.

We are honored to have gotten our hands on a version of the literary manuscript with the working title, “The House on Amiralsgatan Street.” We present 12 vignettes from that text for your reading pleasure. Continue reading “I am Zlatan: the House on Amiralsgatan Street” »

Summer Roadmap and Some Reading Recs

As many of you suspect, I am both a soccer hipster and a eurosnob. Thus, the European Championships have ended and I am going on summer break. No transfer rumors. No MLS mid-summer regular season. No US beating up on countries with a fraction of a fraction of our GDP. I will keep an eye on all these things, but no blogging.

I will turn my focus to writing “Real Madrid & Barcelona: the Making of a Rivalry.” However, things will still be happening around here. Continue reading “Summer Roadmap and Some Reading Recs” »

Friedrich Nietzsche Reflects Upon the European Championships

We are honored at Futfanatico to welcome Friedrich Nietzsche as a visiting scholar, classical philologist, philosopher, and soccer analyst. The German intellectual heavyweight took a break from his grueling publish or perish schedule to answer pressing questions on the European Championships, the gay science, post-nihilist studies, and the final between Italy and Spain.

His answers will probably confuse (but may amuse) you. Continue reading “Friedrich Nietzsche Reflects Upon the European Championships” »

The European Championships Semifinals: And Then There Were Some

16 teams were invited to Poland and Ukraine for the European Championships. However, upon arrival, they realized a trap had been set: all had been invited, but not everybody would make it. One by one, like the nursery rhyme “10 Little Indians”, they dropped like flies. Why and for what reason did each one die? Explanations abound, but often contradict. The waters are muddled. Contested facts shift complexion like the dunes of a desert. This is no cold case.

Still, some conclusions can be drawn. As the mystery unfolded and still unfolds, we look at the odd circumstances surrounding each departure.

Continue reading “The European Championships Semifinals: And Then There Were Some” »