Gus Johnson Won't Ruin Soccer
May 24, 2013

Soccer fans call the sport, without irony, “The Beautiful Game.” Sportscaster Gus Johnson, by contrast, does not luxuriate in the beauty of any game.

The Alex Ferguson Era Won't End With His Retirement
May 10, 2013

His legacy is Manchester United itself. 

We Are Addicted to Football. It's Time for Rehab.
April 25, 2013

The NFL only cares about dominating now and into the future.

The Biggest Ego in Professional Sports
April 23, 2013

The amazing and infuriating career of Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho.

Why Pelé's Cosmos Were the Best and Worst Thing to Happen to American Soccer
February 26, 2013

The Brazilian star's shadow still looms over the MLS.

The Geopolitics of Cheating
February 18, 2013

Soccer's fixing epidemic is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Mali Burns, Malians Shrug
January 31, 2013

The fighting hits Timbuktu, but soccer's still on television.

Barca Lounging
April 19, 2010

In the run-up to the first goal in the recent game between Real Madrid and Barcelona—known around the world as El Classico—Lionel Messi, currently the best player in the world by a long shot, was fouled and knocked down, only to get up quickly, receive the ball, and pass it on to Xavi, who returned it with a sublime chip over the hapless heads of Real’s defense—and while Raul Albiol* thrashed around as though about to speak in tongues trying to stop him, Messi scored with a shot that simultaneously looked clumsy and exactly perfect.

Kick Start
December 04, 2009

Turning off the main highway in Johannesburg, South Africa, our minibus taxi is stopped by a police officer at a roadblock. Our driver, a jaunty Zulu-speaking teen sporting a black baseball cap and an ancient plastic armband that might have been a “LiveStrong” bracelet from another geological era, pulls over to the side of the road and rolls down his window. The officer reaches inside, hooks his fingers through the bracelet, snatches the driver out of the minibus, and begins punching him. None of my fellow passengers twitch.

How Governments Nurture Soccer
June 19, 2006

Determining the political and economic conditions that yield soccer glory.