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

November 2022

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 [...]

October 2022

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 [...]

September 2022

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, [...]

August 2022

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 [...]

An Iconic Image in Search of a Credit

By |2022-08-01T22:06:30-04:00August 1st, 2022|GZ blog|

Nice picture, eh? Anyone know who took it? If so, drop me a line — even if it means taking the image offline. I’d prefer to keep it and properly credit the photographer, of course. Because I love this photo, even if my book designer wasn’t nearly so crazy about it. As readers of Generation Zero and this blog can attest, I was as committed as any American soccer fan could be in June of 1990, when this image was [...]

July 2022

Bruce Murray Goes Public with CTE Diagnosis

By |2022-08-01T22:07:29-04:00July 14th, 2022|GZ blog|

I’ve been wracking my brain all week, trying to remember the details of my last conversation with Bruce Murray. It took place December 2021, when he was gracious enough to spend a bit more time talking to me about Generation Zero — about Chuck Blazer, his Olympic Development Program days, former teammate and lifelong friend John Kerr Jr., and his time training with the Swiss club Luzern, among other things. I’ve just gone through my notes. The subject matter ranged [...]

GZ: The Modern Creation Epic American Soccer Didn’t Know It Had

By |2023-02-02T15:15:57-05:00July 10th, 2022|GZ blog|

Baseball has its Knickerbockers and the 19th century National League, while basketball traces its roots back to Dr. John Naismith and his peach baskets. With Generation Zero, the new sociological/sports history from author Hal Phillips, American soccer finally has a Creation story to call its own — a modern one, befitting the extraordinary growth the game has undergone since 1970, after a full century in the wilderness. Generation Zero: Founding Fathers, Hidden Histories & The Making of Soccer in America (Dickinson-Moses Press, [...]

June 2022

Oft mocked but never ignored, the mullet earns another moment

By |2023-02-23T10:14:29-05:00June 30th, 2022|GZ blog|

When it comes to Generation Zero, the late 1980s, and the contemporaneous making of soccer in America, there is no getting around the mullet. Oft mocked but never ignored, this seminal coiffure was everywhere during this period. National team defender and three-time World Cupper Marcelo Balboa summed it up best, when we spoke to me in 2018: “We wanted to leave something behind, a legacy — and I think it was the mullet. We tore it up on the mullet [...]

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