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

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 [...]

Greenland to Join CONCACAF? Someone Should Warn Them

By |2023-12-18T10:00:09-05:00September 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, [...]

USWNT Fends off Alumnae Expectations ahead of Swedish Encounter

By |2024-01-21T10:29:52-05:00August 5th, 2023|GZ blog|

Soccer and the national team movement, here in the United States, have stumbled into very new territory Down Under, and I’m not talking about a lackluster group-stage performance. Not entirely. While the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) has failed to win World Cups and Olympic titles in the past, their rare missteps have never produced such widespread carping from former national team players. I’d frankly prefer Carli Lloyd talk more about how World Cup debutante Portugal — ranked no. 21 [...]

RIP, Hubie Vogelsinger: Youth Soccer Revolutionary, Icon & Enabler

By |2024-01-05T11:29:28-05:00June 28th, 2023|GZ blog|

Video evidence of the 1974 World Cup was not made available to me until July 1977. That was the summer I first attended overnight soccer camp, a veritable rite of passage for me and so many fellow members of Generation Zero, those American boys and girls born in the 1960s, then raised in the 1970s as this country’s very first soccer natives. The Puma All-Star Soccer Camp, where I matriculated three straight summers, was owned and operated by Hubert Vogelsinger, [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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