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 26 blog entries.

Dr. Rose, Abdul & the Cheeseburger Sub to End All Cheeseburger Subs

By |2023-01-11T19:08:44-05:00January 11th, 2023|GZ blog|

In the pages of Generation Zero and here on the book’s companion site, we’ve spent a good deal of time and space examining exactly when, how and by whose efforts American soccer came of age. Before GZ was but a twinkle in my eye, I engaged with these important questions in an altogether different way when Dr. David Rose called my office, out of the blue, with a question: You remember that time we watched that World Cup game together, [...]

June 20, 1975: The Night They Came for O Rei

By |2023-01-06T14:56:32-05:00January 6th, 2023|GZ blog|

1. Hotbeds: When they came for Pelé that brisk June night, the locals ripped the shirt from his back. They absconded with one of his shoes, too, and tore his vintage Seventies-era short shorts. Global sporting icons deserve far more solicitous treatment, we can agree. But those American soccer fans of pitch-invasion age (let’s call it 18 to 25) didn’t know from matters of soccer etiquette, not back then, not halfway through the ever-so-brief Ford administration, not so early [...]

USMNT Progress Plan: Keep Crowd-Sourcing Roster Development. In Europe

By |2022-12-30T15:08:18-05:00December 19th, 2022|GZ blog|

When America plays host to the next World Cup, alongside Mexico and Canada, it will likely field the most talented men’s squad ever trotted out by the U.S. Soccer Federation. And yet, to hear many American soccer fans tell it, our competitive place in the world game remains shamefully uncertain. Ambiguity, it seems, is a poor fit for cultures accustomed to hegemony. Internationally, futbol observers do agree the U.S. has finally amassed a bumper crop of young, potentially game-changing talent. [...]

Soccer In, Hockey Out: Behold, American Sport’s New Big Four?

By |2023-07-05T11:15:04-04:00November 18th, 2022|GZ blog|

No one is particularly fond of hedge fund managers, or the peculiar subphylum of Wall Street bullies and corporate scions who bestride world markets gathering sports franchises like baubles. But let’s be clear and clear-eyed: These guys aren’t pursuing National Hockey League franchises these days, or hockey clubs anywhere. Todd Boehly’s recent purchase of Chelsea F.C. means nine of 20 English Premier League clubs are today majority-owned by American-led consortia. Should Minnesota-based investor Maciek Kaminski consummate his recent offer for [...]

Puma v. Adidas, an Excerpt from Chapter 12

By |2022-12-28T12:24:07-05:00November 2nd, 2022|GZ blog|

Throughout the tumultuous month of January 1990, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) trained together in San Diego. Coach Bob Gansler, caught in the middle of all this fractious behavior, naturally feared how such dissension might affect his ranks. Fighting the U.S. Soccer Federation was one thing. Fighting amongst themselves was another. It was well known how close he remained with Federation president Werner Fricker, but Gansler did his best to support the guys, his team. He formed a five-player [...]

Getting to Know Soccer Legends: Seamus Malin Edition

By |2022-12-07T16:39:23-05:00October 26th, 2022|GZ blog|

It’s not every day an American soccer journalist, even the author of a new book spotlighting the very futbol moment most associated with Seamus Malin, sits down for a drink with the man himself. Still, when he and I met for an early October libation in Cambridge, not a single note was taken. Instead we gabbed as friends might — about his daughter, the traffic, Shep Messing, Rai Copeland, Gregg Berhalter and my parents, who had courted right there in [...]

Pack Life Revisited: The Indelible Marks of Posture & Gait

By |2023-02-23T08:25:10-05:00October 14th, 2022|GZ blog|

Several years ago I drove 20 miles east of my home, here in Maine, to the college town of Brunswick. It was Alicia Carillo who invited me over to Bowdoin College that autumn afternoon. She had grown up in my neighborhood (into a fine soccer player, at Harvard) before marrying a fellow Wellesley soccer product, John Sisk, who starred at Babson College during its D3/national championship heyday of the late 1970s. He also coached my club team for 2-3 [...]

Munich 1972: Fifty Years Gone and Still, We Cannot Look Away

By |2022-12-07T17:02:59-05:00September 25th, 2022|GZ blog|

In the spring of 1996, when I traveled to Munich for a trade show, naturally I set aside a Saturday afternoon to check out a Bundesliga match. Back then, as the Allianz Stadium remained but a twinkle in the eye of some insurance CEO, Bayern Munich still played its home games at the Olympic Stadium, and so did its local/lesser rival Munich 1860. Because Germany’s Big Red Machine wasn’t in town that weekend, I settled for 1860 home to Dusseldorf, [...]

The Rise, Fall and Latent Futbol Influence of Antonio Horacio Etchenique

By |2022-12-08T08:59:13-05:00August 29th, 2022|GZ blog|

My dad, the original Harold Gardner Phillips, passed away at the end of August 2011, all too soon. He was only 74. I try to write about him each year, before Autumn descends, as a means of better remembering him — an act that frankly gets more difficult and less specific over time. The act of writing helps me preserve the details of his life, in my own mind. This year, what with this new book having just been published, [...]

Seventies Soccer and the Superstars Effect

By |2022-08-14T12:03:26-04:00August 11th, 2022|GZ blog|

When my friends and I gathered in the Bates School gymnasium for our first-ever soccer tryouts in the spring of 1974, we were stunned to observe that coaches had failed to set up an obstacle course. As 9-year-olds in the mid-1970s, our pre-adolescent understanding was simple: Any athletic activity worth a damn required an obstacle course. Without one, we reasoned, how exactly could the nascent Wellesley United Soccer Club hope to parse the athletic attributes of all these kids? We [...]


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