Generation Zero

Founding Fathers, Hidden Histories
and the Making of Soccer in America

Generation Zero

Founding Fathers, Hidden Histories
and the Making of Soccer in America

About Hal Phillips

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So far Hal Phillips has created 34 blog entries.

Listen Up, U.S. soccer fans: Generation Zero now Available via Audio Book

By |2024-05-22T14:02:33-04:00May 22nd, 2024|GZ blog|

The audio version of Generation Zero, the best-selling U.S. soccer history from author Hal Phillips, is now available via Amazon, alongside its print and eBook editions. Published by Dickinson-Moses Press and released in July 2022, Generation Zero: Founding Fathers, Hidden Histories & The Making of Soccer in America details the game’s unlikely modern ascent, during the 1970s and ‘80s, after a century of false starts. Featuring period imagery from USMNT photographer Jon van Woerden, GZ is the definitive account of [...]

England May Have Wrexham AFC (Est. 1864) … We Have the Baltimore Blast

By |2024-04-13T10:13:59-04:00March 14th, 2024|GZ blog|

Americans have developed a soft spot for expertly produced, soccer-centric docuseries and “Welcome to Wrexham,” in particular, has engendered a specific appreciation for futbol clubs older than dirt. As a sporting culture, we have traditionally struggled to give a fig about this concept. The Chicago Bears, for example, don’t make a big deal about having been established in 1920; as Red Sox fan, I know Fenway Park dates to 1912, but the club itself? Not sure, and I’m not [...]

Avoiding Spoilers? Remove Your Branded Gear, FFS

By |2024-05-22T13:52:14-04:00March 7th, 2024|GZ blog|

Allow me to push back, just for a moment, on soccer’s prevailing merch mania. Kitting up to watch one’s preferred team in a stadium or tavern remains expected and accepted practice. I further realize that every club entity and national federation around the futbol world is feverishly marketing product to supporters and hangers-on, 24/7. But honestly: What’s with this exhibitionary jersey-wearing while out and about in public? Even in-stadium, the naked tribalism of fans dressing similarly, at best, strikes [...]

Why the Mainstreaming of U.S. soccer & The Dream Team Share a Movement

By |2024-02-16T11:47:33-05:00February 16th, 2024|GZ blog|

During the late 1980s, as super powers went mono, mullets were fashionable and iconic walls came crashing down, it was perhaps easy to miss the internationalization of American team sport. Yet this phenomenon took shape all through this era, step by step, forever changing big hunks of the U.S. sporting landscape in the process. Prior to this eventful period, fans here in The States followed teams and leagues on a purely domestic basis. In large part, we still do: Our [...]

Requiem for Match of the Day (and The Sanctity of Unspoiled Endings)

By |2024-02-16T11:15:13-05:00February 14th, 2024|GZ blog|

There’s a wonderfully prescient exchange in Whit Stillman’s 1990 film, “Metropolitan,” wherein the know-it-all main character is interrogated on all the works of literature he can’t stop referencing. “You don’t have to have read a book to have an opinion on it. I haven’t read the Bible either,” he reveals, by way of defending himself. “I don't read novels. I prefer good literary criticism. That way you get both the novelist's ideas as well as the critic's thinking.” Befitting Stillman’s [...]

Irresistable Grant Wahl Delivers Billion Dollar Goal, From the Grave

By |2023-12-12T09:24:21-05:00December 11th, 2023|GZ blog|

It’s been exactly a year since Grant Wahl was taken from us, so the timing of his posthumous Paramount+ project, The Billion Dollar Goal, which debuts tonight, could not resonate more strongly with fans of U.S. soccer. That goes double for me, because this docuseries covers much the same ground showcased in my July 2022 book, Generation Zero: Founding Fathers, Hidden Histories & The Making of American Soccer. Grant was one of GZ’s first readers and in many ways its [...]

Like Riding a Bike: Garnacho Stirs Memories of Wonder Strikes Past 

By |2024-01-10T09:14:46-05:00November 30th, 2023|GZ blog|

Garnacho’s wondrous overhead golazo against Everton on Nov. 26 reminded the world soccer community of why we find the bicycle kick so damned compelling. It remains the most dynamic, daringly athletic maneuver in a game replete with them, and it doesn’t matter where on the pitch they might happen. Check out the images attached here. Defenders of all skill levels react similarly when someone goes up for a bike: They back away slightly, because recklessly contesting may mean a boot [...]

Emma Hayes Will Preside over Massive USWNT Change. Expect Fireworks

By |2023-11-28T14:48:06-05:00November 20th, 2023|GZ blog|

Color me extremely curious when it comes to Emma Hayes’ pending tenure as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. She won’t take the helm until spring, when her season with Chelsea FC has concluded. Still, the timing of her hire drips with big-picture import, none of which has anything to do with pay equity (though it IS diverting to note that, because she will make exactly the same as her USMNT counterpart, we ‘ve learned that $475,000 [...]

Chapter 8 Excerpt: MISL Fills the Mid-Century Void

By |2024-02-13T15:50:20-05:00September 13th, 2023|GZ blog|

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY U.S. SOCCER FANS may not realize it — or wish to contemplate such an unbecoming reality — but for a short time immediately post-NASL, indoor soccer was the American game’s dominant professional strain. Indeed, the heyday of Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) took place during this period, even as the country’s first golden generation of outdoor talent began to coalesce. These coincidental facts, these uncomfortable truths, represent yet more indicators of a domestic soccer culture in a worrisome [...]

Greenland to Join CONCACAF? Someone Should Warn Them

By |2024-02-29T16:09:05-05:00September 4th, 2023|GZ blog|

Welcome, Greenlandic soccer players, supporters and administrators! Your May 2022 application to join the Confederation of North American, Central American and Caribbean Association Football is duly noted here and across the diverse climatic environs of CONCACAF. Yes: The acronym is unfortunate. Perhaps because those letters had never before been thrown together, in such a poorly branded sequence, until Sept. 18, 1961. That’s when the North American Football Confederation merged with the Confederación Centroamericana y del Caribe de Fútbol. Still, [...]

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