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

May 2023

This Summer’s Women’s World Cup May Well Reveal a New Balance of Power

By |2023-09-13T11:11:52-04:00May 5th, 2023|GZ blog|

[Posted May 5, 2023] From the moment women’s international soccer formalized itself, during the 1980s, The American Way has prevailed. This not-so-controversial historical judgment has traditionally held water on the two fronts that matter most: In the competitive crucible, the U.S. Women’s National Team has proved the finest side in the world for more than 30 years. It has won four of the eight World Cups contested since the tournament was launched, in 1991. The USWNT also claimed four [...]

March 2023

Only Now Recovering from ‘Berhalter Fatigue’? Time to Buckle Back Up

By |2023-06-29T15:53:14-04:00March 27th, 2023|GZ blog|

My own case of Berhalter Fatigue kicked in around Dec. 17, 2022 — a day before the World Cup final, 10 days into the Berhalter-Reyna Family Barbecue, and two weeks after Holland dumped the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) out of the tournament. The tawdry nature of Berhalter’s unprecedented bust-up with the Reynas could not be fully understood until last week, when the U.S. Soccer Federation released its third-party report. No one emerges unscathed from this full and seemingly [...]

Stamford Bridge 1985: Standing With Away Fans & Other Mistakes

By |2023-03-10T14:38:05-05:00March 9th, 2023|GZ blog|

Today, thanks to the stewardship of oligarchs both Russian and American, Stamford Bridge has been transformed into something of an all-seater jewel. I’ve heard older, more hidebound Chelsea FC fans deride it as a “bleedin’ galleria”. Back in the winter of 1985, when attending my first proper English match there, it was no such thing. Fans of Daniel Gordon’s superb “30 for 30” documentary on the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster would recognize the old Bridge for what it was: a [...]

February 2023

McKennie Transfer Seals EPL Baton-Pass: FFC to Leeds

By |2023-09-05T09:18:29-04:00February 1st, 2023|GZ blog|

[Ed. — In 2007, I ventured to the SW6 section of London to report on the Fulham FC phenomenon for espn.com. That piece lived a good long life online but sadly, now it's gone. Or I cannot find it (!). Either way, it has been reprinted below — just in time to serve as an EPL bookend, as Wes McKennie joins comparably Yank-infused Leeds United] ... LONDON — There are moments, sublime moments, when spectators sitting in the Johnny Haynes [...]

January 2023

Help Wanted: Creatures of the Federation Need Not Apply

By |2023-02-06T16:18:19-05:00January 28th, 2023|GZ blog|

The departures of Men’s National Team Sporting Director Earnie Stewart and General Manager Brian McBride represent a post-World Cup housecleaning, but they also underline the stubbornly clubby, insular nature of soccer administration in this country. The installation of former players to coach and direct national team programs, to head up entire federations, is not uncommon in world futbol. For too long, however, U.S. Soccer has promoted strictly from within. For a time, this was the only option. In 2023, in [...]

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 [...]

December 2022

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. [...]

November 2022

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 [...]

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