On April 18, the Football Scholars Forum held a discussion on the recently released documentary SOCCERTOWN, USA, an award-winning film about how Kearny, New Jersey, helped nurture three friends—USMNT legends John Harkes, Tony Meola and Tab Ramos—on their way to successive World Cups.
Tom McCabe, a historian, and Kirk Rudell, a Hollywood writer and producer, shared insights and experiences in making soccer documentaries, from writing the script by “letting the story tell itself” to interviewing people and “making it seem like a conversation in the bar.”
Several rounds of questions about the documentary’s key topics and themes followed, including how “Scotch professors” spread the game in the United States, what constitutes a “soccer town,” the role of class and gender, how street soccer develops players, the importance of high school soccer in community building, the making of an organic American soccer culture and more.
On another Saturday without live football due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 20 participants in three continents were left with a deep appreciation for this cinematographic “love letter” to the game.
Listen to an audio recording of the session (for educational/personal use only):