On Wednesday, December 5, at 3:30pm EST, our final “game” of the 2012 season will feature Jun Stinson’s short film, The 90th Minute.
The 20-minute documentary follows three members of FC Gold Pride, the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer champions. The film sheds light on what it’s like to be a female professional soccer player in the U.S. — a dream that has become more elusive after the demise of the WPS.
Why are Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach and others struggling to play professionally in their country? Why have two pro women’s soccer leagues failed since the heady days of Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and the 1999 Women’s World Cup? What needs to happen for a new women’s league in the U.S. to be sustainable? How does the situation in the U.S. compare with international trends?
Unfortunately, Jun Stinson is unable to join us for the session. However, Peter Alegi interviewed Jun on the film and asked a few questions on behalf of the group. To listen to Peter’s interview with the director, click here. We are pleased that Gwen Oxenham, former Duke and Santos player and one of the producers of the film Pelada, will join us for a terrific season finale!
Send Alex Galarza (galarza1 [at] msu [dot] edu) your Skype name to be included in the call. Alex can also email you the link and password to view the film.
Update: On November 21, “U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced the launch of a women’s professional league which will start play in March,” according to ESPN. Read more about it here and here.
FSF members met on November 7th to discuss a selection of chapters from Ted Richards’s edited volume, Soccer and Philosophy: Beautiful Thoughts on the Beautiful Game. The conversation began with Ted discussing the book’s genesis and quickly moved into exploring the potential of aesthetics and morality on the field to speak to deeper issues in philosophy and the human condition. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, the topic of FSF member David Kilpatrick’s chapter in the volume, served as a useful example for participants to discuss style, Nietzsche, and economics.
Participants: Ted Richards, David Kilpatrick, David Roberts, Christoph Wagner, Andrew Guest, Laurent Dubois, Peter Alegi, Alex Galarza
Unfortunately, due to technical issues, we were unable to record the session.
On Wednesday, November 7, at 1pm EST (the day after the U.S. presidential election), the Football Scholars Forum will convene to discuss Ted Richards’s edited book Soccer and Philosophy: Beautiful Thoughts on the Beautiful Game. This session promises to expand the horizons of those of us whose knowledge of the intersections of philosophy and football is limited to Monty Python’s famously hilarious “Germany vs. Greece” video.
“This book is a delight,” Simon Kuper notes, “and it taught me more philosophy than I learned in my entire time at university.”
Ted Richards, “a philosopher who loves soccer,” will be joining the conversation via Skype, along with chapter authors David Kilpatrick and Jesús Ilundáin. We have selected several chapters to discuss, though participants are free to delve as deeply into the book as they wish. The selected chapters are:
• Stephen Minister, “What’s Wrong with Negative Soccer?”
• John Foster, “Tell Me How You Play and I’ll Tell You Who You Are”
• Victor Durà-Vilà, “Why Playing Beautifully is Morally Better”
• David Kilpatrick, “Nietzsche’s Arsenal”
• Jesús Ilundáin and Cesar Torres, “Embellishing the Ugly Side”
Please RSVP by emailing your Skype name to Alex Galarza (galarza1 AT msu DOT edu) so that you can be included in the online call.
Our inaugural meeting of 2012-13 was an exciting affair. It revolved around Javier Pescador’s new work on Mexican fans of “El Tri” in the United States. The uses of wrestling masks, Aztec symbols, churros and other markers of Mexican-ness demonstrate some of the ways in which fans are helping to transform the Mexican national team into a global brand.
The discussion covered many important topics and themes, including youth soccer, commercial and media imperatives, differences between Mexico-based and U.S.-based fan experiences, club vs. national team tensions (in MLS, for example), and the sources and methodology informing this research. Pescador’s Flickr photostream here is worth checking out.
Participants: Alejandro Gonzales, Hikabwa Chipande, Ben Smith, Ed Murphy, and Peter Alegi (all with the author in East Lansing); David Keyes, Corry Cropper, Melissa Forbis, Ana Paula Martinez, Andrew Guest, Sean Jacobs, Chris Bolsmann, and David Kilpatrick (via Skype).
On Wednesday, September 26, at 1pm EDT, historian Juan Javier Pescador (Michigan State University) will participate in a discussion of his paper entitled “Global Fútbol, the Masked Fan and Flat Screen Arenas: Mexican Soccer Communities in the United States and the Genesis of the Tricolor Brand in Global Landscapes, 1970-2012.”
This paper analyzes the profile, evolution and transformation of Mexican soccer communities in the United States in the context of current globalization processes that are redefining national identities, recreational activities, ideals of youth and manhood, and consumer practices among people of Mexican origin or descent in the United States. Focusing on the interactions and connections U.S. Mexican soccer communities have developed with the Mexican national team and with the increasingly dominant Big Time sports global media, this study discusses new ways of producing and framing Mexican nationalist symbols in global arenas with significant and unexpected consequences.
The session, as is our custom, will be physically held in East Lansing, Michigan, and live online via Skype. For a copy of the paper and to participate online please contact Peter Alegi at alegi [at] msu [dot] edu and provide your Skype name.
With all the buzz around the upcoming European Championships and the Olympics, I thought it would be a good time for another installment of Football Scholars Miscellany— a ‘First XI’ of miscellaneous themes and links as food for FSF thought from recent months. As always, the intention is not to try to cover everything nor to focus on the specifically scholarly. Instead, the intention is to draw from a mix of the scholarly and the broader football world for thoughtful and thought-provoking perspectives. And please let me know what I’ve missed through comments or email—the First XI is never necessarily the best eleven; it’s just what’s available on the day…
Author, scholar, and journalist David Goldblatt became the second FSF author to visit Michigan State University in person (March 15-16). We had a lively discussion on the second half of his sacred text of football history: The Ball is Round. and learned more about David’s new project on the cultural politics of football in Britain since 1989. Participants included: Alejandro Gonzales, Hikabwa Chipande, Andrew Guest, Ben Dettmar, Aaron Passman, Alex Galarza and Peter Alegi (all with the author in East Lansing), and David Kilpatrick, Ben Healy, Brenda Elsey, Corry Cropper, and Alon Raab via Skype. The recording is available here. Goldblatt’s March 15 talk on football, Britishness, and Englishness is available here.
A reminder that our next session will take place on March 16, 2pm EST. David Goldblatt will join us in East Lansing to discuss the second half of his book, The Ball is Round. Our first session left off at page 479, so anything after that is fair game. A recording of our last discussion centered on the first half of the book can be found here. As always, please RSVP by sending me an email (galarza1 [AT] msu. [DOT] edu) with your Skype name so that I can include you on the call.
By David Kilpatrick, DKilpatrick [AT] mercy [DOT] edu
“There are no friendlies in football” is a well-worn cliché of the game, one that supporters of the sport in the United States are resorting to in defense of their enthusiasm for the men’s national team’s 0-1 victory over Italy in Genoa this week. As any Yank who has ever played overseas knows well, each match – whether pickup or pro – is a battle for respectability.
To be sure, there have been more shocking and significant results in the history of American soccer, from the win over England by the same scoreline in Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup, to the 2-0 win over the defending European and eventual World Champion Spanish side in the semifinal of the 2009 Confederations Cup in Johannesburg. But this was the first time in eleven efforts that the Americans were able to defeat the Azzurri. The 1-1 draw between the sides in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup Finals, the US playing much of the match with ten men, may well have been a greater accomplishment, as they were the only side to play but not lose to the eventual champions of that tournament. While no title was at stake this week, the result would be less impressive if earned on neutral soil; one cannot overstate the significance of Italy suffering their first defeat in Genoa since 1924. Continue reading →
Professional soccer in the U.S.A. took center stage at FSF on February 24. Ray Hudson not only braved the “football think-tank,” but also answered questions in the inimitable style he brings to broadcasting a Clásico on GolTV. Using the documentary film Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos, FSF discussed Cosmos and the NASL, as well as the representation and construction of history on film. “We had it all, man!” said Hudson looking back fondly to his playing days with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
Steven Apostolov, David Kilpatrick, Ben Healy, Melissa Forbis, Corry Cropper, Peter Alegi, Ben Dettmar, Hikabwa Chipande, and Alex Galarza participated in the session. The audio recording of the conversation is here.
FSF is holding its next online session on March 16, 2pm EST. Author David Goldblatt will be in East Lansing, Michigan, to discuss the second half of his book, The Ball is Round. FSF’s discussion of the first installment is here. For more information, contact Alex Galarza: galarza1[AT]msu[DOT]edu