The Away Game

Author and former AP Islamabad bureau chief Sebastian Abbot joined FSF on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, for a discussion of his first book: The Away Game: The Epic Search for Soccer’s Next Superstars.

The online conversation delved into multiple aspects of the book’s descriptions of Aspire’s global network linking West Africa, the Persian Gulf and Europe. Topics discussed included age cheating, Qatari power, the complexity of academies, the role of socio-economic forces, and education’s place in elite sport development.

Participants: Tom McCabe, Brian Wesaala, Danyel Reiche, Andrew Guest, Liz Timbs, Itamar Dubinsky, Gerard Akindes, and Peter Alegi. Listen to audio of the session below.

 

Next FSF session: December 13, 2pm US Eastern Time, featuring Stefan Szymanski & Silke-Maria Weineck, authors of It’s Football, Not Soccer (and Viceversa) [link]. RSVPs to Peter Alegi [alegi AT msu DOT edu].

2018-19 Season Opener with Amy Bass

The 2018-19 season of the Football Scholars Forum opened on Tuesday, September 25, with a discussion of Amy Bass’s new book, One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together.

The genesis of the book, which has been described as in the tradition of Friday Night Lights and Outcasts United, goes back to this article Bass wrote for CNN in 2015 about Somali immigrants in Lewiston, Maine, playing for Lewiston High School’s Blue Devils.

The Emmy-winning author and historian was joined by Andrew Guest, Lindsay Krasnoff, Liz Timbs, Tom McCabe, Alex Galarza, and Peter Alegi. The FSF conversation shed light on a number issues, including the author’s methodology and writing process, as well as race, language, immigration, community dynamics, and youth soccer. We look forward to the Netflix version of this remarkable soccer story in the near future.

Click here for an audio recording of the session.

FSF 2018-19 Schedule

Announcing FSF’s 2018-19 “Apertura” season!

  • September 25, 3pm: Amy Bass, One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together [link]
  • October 17, 2pm: Sebastian Abbot, The Away Game: The Epic Search for Soccer’s Next Superstars [link]
  • December 13, 2pm: Stefan Szymanski & Silke-Maria Weineck, It’s Football, Not Soccer (and Viceversa) [link]

To participate in these online events, please contact Peter Alegi (alegi AT msu DOT edu).

Laurent Dubois’ The Language of the Game

FSF held its sixth and final session of the 2017-18 season on Thursday, April 26th.

The group welcomed longtime FSF member Laurent Dubois, Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, to discuss his new book, The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer ”a passionate and engaging introduction to soccer’s history, tactics, and human drama.” The session was made more special by the fact that the author graciously included FSF in the book’s acknowledgments!

Dubois provided background on the book’s genesis and the way that his teaching, blogging, and writing for a broad audience shaped it. The group discussion touched on the structure of Language of the Game, video assisted refereeing (VAR), soccer in the classroom, and writing style.

Participants included: Andrew Guest, Andrew Lee, Melissa Forbis, Lindsay Krasnoff, Adam Winkel, Patrick Ridge, Danyel Reiche, Anakwa Dwamena, Shawn Stein, Alex Galarza, and Peter Alegi.

Listen to the recording here.

#FSFSocrates – Andrew Downie on a Brazilian Legend

HIbs_Scarf_Socrates_by_Downie

On Friday, March 23, FSF held its second session of 2018. Andrew Downie, author of Doctor Socrates: Footballer, Philosopher, Legend joined the group to discuss his 2017 biography of the Brazilian. Chris Gaffney, a longtime FSF member whose book Temples of the Earthbound Gods was the subject of a 2010 FSF session, stepped seamlessly into a moderator role for Andrew’s book.

Andrew opened his comments on his book by citing his longtime Hibs fandom and experiences working with Sócrates’ unpublished memoirs. That manuscript, alongside Andrew’s research and interviews, was a central pillar of the group discussion. Our conversation also touched on Sócrates’ personal life, his legacy, contemporary soccer politics in Brazil, and the book’s reception amongst an English-speaking audience.

During the conversation, Andrew mentioned a book recently published by Sócrates’ widow and the footballer’s collection of columns for Carta Capital magazine.

Participants included Shawn Stein, Alex Galarza, Peter Alegi, Andrew Guest, Roger Kittleson, Chad Black, and Anakwa Dwamena.

Listen here.

FSF Socrates

Doctor Socrates book coverWHAT: Intellectual pelada with Andrew Downie, author of Doctor Socrates. Moderated by Dr. Christopher Gaffney.

WHEN: Friday, March 23, 2pm US Eastern Time

WHERE: FSF sessions take place online via Zoom.

 

To participate in the session, send an RSVP to Alex Galarza (galarza.alex AT gmail).

See you on the pitch!

 

#FSFDocFilms – Fútbol Documentaries in Zanzibar and Buenos Aires

We began our 2018 session with two documentary films from Megan Shutzer and Alex Galarza.

Megan’s film, “New Generation Queens“, tells the story of Zanzibar’s women’s soccer team, the New Generation Queens. The movie examines the history and culture around women’s soccer in Zanzibar. It also follows the team to mainland Tanzania, where the Queens participate in a tournament for the first time and several hope to be recruited to the Tanzanian national team.

Alex co-produced his film, “Ciudad Deportiva – El Documental“, with four Argentine journalists. It tells the story of Boca Juniors’ attempt to build a massive stadium and sports/recreational complex in the1960s. The documentary focuses on the history of this project and the fascinating links between soccer and the city.

Alex and Megan began by sharing their experiences of making their first films. Both took time to explain how they worked collaboratively with the people featured in the documentaries. Questions from the group touched on the technical aspects of filmmaking, storytelling techniques, and the process of distributing the documentaries. Additional themes covered were audience reception, the positionality of filmmakers, gender and sexuality, and the politics of sport.

Participants included: Peter Alegi, Melissa Forbis, Andrew Guest, Jessica Kessler, Itamar Dubinsky, Shawn Stein, Javier Pescador, Tom McCabe, and Danyel Reiche

A recording of the February 23 session can be found here. Apologies for the mediocre quality of the audio at the beginning; it improves noticeably around the 20 minute mark.

FSF 2018: Documentaries, Biography, and The Language of the Game

The second half of the Football Scholars Forum’s 2017-18 season features two documentary films, a biography, and a “guide to appreciating the drama of soccer.”

On February 23 (2pm US Eastern), FSF explores documentary film as a medium for stories about football. “New Generation Queens,” by Megan Shutzer, tells the story of Zanzibar’s women’s soccer and follows the Queens team to mainland Tanzania for a tournament where several players hope to be recruited to the Tanzanian national side. [WATCH it on [amazon] or [google play].  “Ciudad Deportiva – El Documental” by Alex Galarza and co-produced with four Argentine journalists, tells the story of Boca Juniors’ attempt to build a massive stadium and sports/recreational complex in the 1960s. The documentary focuses on the history of this project and the fascinating links between soccer and the city. [watch below, turn on English subtitles].

Doctor Socrates book coverIn late March (date/time to be confirmed), author Andrew Downie will join us for a discussion of Doctor Socrates: Footballer, Philosopher, Legend. A symbol of democracy and Brazil’s futebol romantico, Downie reveals Socrates to have been a man of many contradictions.

Then, on April 26 (3pm U.S. Eastern), we welcome longtime FSF member Laurent Dubois for a session devoted to his new book, The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer—”a passionate and engaging introduction to soccer’s history, tactics, and human drama.”The anguage of the Game book cover

To participate in the sessions send an RSVP to Alex Galarza (galarza.alex AT gmail).

FSF conducts its online sessions with Zoom. As always, the events will be recorded and archived on this website for those who cannot participate.

FSF Leeds

Lucas Radebe, Leeds UnitedThe Football Scholars Forum’s final session of 2017 took us to Yorkshire, figuratively speaking. Author and journalist Anthony Clavane discussed his award-winning book, Promised Land: A Northern Love Story, about Leeds (the city) and Leeds United (the club).

The conversation revolved around the themes of belonging, community, and identity. Football (and rugby!) cannot be adequately understood, Clavane’s work shows, without thinking deeply about the social, economic, political, and cultural underpinnings of sport. Leeds and United lent themselves to this kind of analysis, as they embodied broader transformations in English football and society since 1960.

Participants: Martha Saavedra, Chris Bolsmann, Tarminder Kaur, Danyel Reyche, Andrew Guest, Adam Winkel, David Kilpatrick, Alex Galarza, Peter Alegi.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the session.

FSF December: “Dirty Leeds” as Promised Land

On December 7, at 2pm Eastern US time, FSF welcomes journalist and author Anthony Clavane for a discussion of his book, Promised Land: A Northern Love Story, winner of the 2011 UK Sports Book of the Year.

Part memoir, part social history, part fútbology, Promised Land explores the “Dirty Leeds” image of both city and club, linking changes on the pitch to broader political, economic, and cultural transformations. As the publisher puts it: “This is a book about football. It’s about unconditional love for a club, even when it doesn’t always seem to love you back. But it is also a book about much more than that.”

To participate in the session send an RSVP to Alex Galarza (galarza.alex AT gmail). FSF conducts its online sessions with Zoom. As always, the event will be recorded and archived on this website for those who cannot participate.