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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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