Topic: Soccer

December 19, 2013

At times, Jozy Altidore both looks like and is the most electrifying American soccer player in recent memory. At other times, during his peripatetic and mostly unhappy pro career in Europe, he really doesn't. The fun, and the emotion, comes from watching him figure it out.

December 11, 2013

Paris Saint-Germain's forgotten star can be one of the most exhilarating players in soccer. Of course, that's more likely to happen when he's playing.

December 4, 2013

The home team, Ranchito, wore white jerseys with a single green stripe down one side, and green shorts and socks. No badges or sponsor. The visitors were Progresso FC, and they wore Barcelona kits. Not kits that look like Barcelona kits: actual replica Barça kits. 

November 12, 2013

According to reports, the construction for World Cup 2022 in Qatar is averaging nearly one fatality per day. At that rate, 4,000 workers will die before the first game. But that's just one of many reasons the 2022 World Cup could be an epic mess.

October 18, 2013

 A national team is still just a team. It can’t get by on the trappings of nationality alone. Sharing a nationality with the players is no substitute for sharing a sense of purpose with them. You need to know that when you look at them, they will sometimes look back at you. Otherwise, why does a team exist at all?

October 8, 2013

On the Champions League, aesthetics, branding, the vague but deeply felt subliminal effects of a great-looking soccer pitch and the profound, strange significance of groundskeeping.

September 6, 2013

There's a song to be written about this whole Suarez-to-Arsenal-then-not-and-now-they-have-Mesut Özil thing. Something about not always getting what you want, but that if you tries sometimes, you just might find you get what you need. For now, though, all Arsenal fans can hear is the sound of "öööööööömmm …" in their ears.

August 23, 2013

In Argentina, the longstanding and supremely heated rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate means a lot. But that doesn't mean just anyone can get into it. 

August 5, 2013

Spain has been the best team in international soccer for several years, and Xavi Hernandez has been the player most important to their success and identity. Yet, after many difficulties in the Confederations Cup and broader changes in club soccer, is it time to phase him out of the team's plans?

August 1, 2013

A lesson in humility, and the importance of language, and the significance of playing soccer very badly, as learned at a high altitude in a former Soviet republic.