2013: The Soccer Year in Datelines and Recommended Reading (Part 1)
SEATTLE, April 23 — As part of my SI magazine feature on emerging U.S. women’s national team superstar Alex Morgan, we watch the first leg of the Barcelona-Bayern Munich Champions League semifinal at the house of her boyfriend (now fiancé), MLS player Servando Carrasco. Bayern destroys Morgan’s beloved Barça, ensuring she’ll never watch a game with this bad-luck charm again, but it’s a nice window into the way Morgan sees the game and talks about it.
Other April stories that I’ll remember:
James Montague is the Indiana Jones of soccer journalism, turning up in fascinating spots around the world, and his story on Zahir Belounis, a French player trapped in Qatar, is eye-opening (and months ahead of the rest of the world media).
In the 100th year of U.S. Soccer, Graham Parker had a good take on the centennial.
Joshua Robinson with a nice piece on a winning team of American seminarians in Rome.
Gwendolyn Oxenham had a terrific story on pickup soccer in the U.S.
Sam Borden visits U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe in France.
Nick Firchau went in-depth on Portland owner Merritt Paulson.
LONDON, May 25 — In a celebration of German soccer, Bayern beats Borussia Dortmund in an electrifying Champions League final at Wembley Stadium on a late goal by Arjen Robben. My piece in SI magazine that week focuses on the rise of German soccer and gives a nod to the classic “Soccer Made in Germany.”
CLEVELAND, May 29 — A summer odyssey following the USMNT begins with a less-than-impressive 4-2 friendly loss to Belgium. Little does anyone realize that the U.S. is about to start a record 12-game winning streak with a 4-3 win against Germany a few days later. In Ohio, I sit down with Klinsmann to talk about his decision to name Clint Dempsey the U.S. captain as part of a story on the past and present of the captaincy.
Other May stories that I’ll remember:
Sam Borden on the Chivas USA discrimination lawsuit.
Donald McRae wrote a tremendous feature on Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp.
Borden on the Champions League anthem.
Charles Boehm on the rise of artificial turf.
The Oregonian on Portland’s memorable day with young Atticus Lane-Dupre.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, June 7 — With Michael Bradley showing he’s the U.S.’s most indispensable player, the Americans get a late game-winning goal from Brad Evans, of all people, to set up what will be a perfect nine-point June in World Cup qualifying. Bonus points: I had an impromptu talk at my hotel with Jamaican FA president Captain Horace Burrell, who flew off in his helicopter afterward.
SEATTLE, June 11 — The U.S. disposes of Panama 2-0 in front of the most-raucous pro-U.S. crowd I’ve ever seen. This will also be remembered as the trip Clint Dempsey fell in love with Seattle, sparking a move to the Sounders in August.
SANDY, Utah, June 18 — The U.S. has a harder time than expected against Honduras but bags the win anyway, thanks in part to Jozy Altidore’s fourth straight game with a goal.
HARRISON, N.J., June 20 — Abby Wambach makes history, scoring four times against South Korea to break Mia Hamm’s all-time international goal-scoring record (she now has 163 international goals, and counting). Hamm, not surprisingly, is classy in her congratulations.
Other June stories that I’ll remember:
Wright Thompson is amazing in basically everything he writes, and his epic piece on Italian soccer racism is one of the stories of the year.
Robert Andrew Powell on the tragic journey of Richard Swanson, who died trying to dribble a soccer ball from Seattle to the World Cup in Brazil.
Gabriele Marcotti with a great story from Brazil on São Cristóvão, the club that gave Ronaldo his start.
Roger Bennett on a soccer-playing barber in Recife.
Bonnie D. Ford on the specter of artificial turf field for the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
We’re just now starting to get detailed tactical breakdowns in U.S. soccer journalism, and Liviu Bird does a terrific job with it.
Nick Zaccardi on the wild story of finding Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng’s Champions League winner’s medal and returning it to him.