Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats

By Donn Risolo | Go to book overview

1

EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE

Five days shalt thou labour, as the Bible
says. The seventh day is the Lord
thy God’s. The sixth day is for football.
ANTHONY BURGESS, English playwright,
composer, critic, translator, linguist, and author
of A Clockwork Orange, from the comic novel
Inside Mr. Enderby

It’s not whether you win or lose.
It’s whether you play.
JAMES CAAN, actor and American
youth soccer coach

Soccer is a universal game, enjoyed everywhere by people regardless of age, gender, size, skill level, color, creed, or station in life. Along with youth leagues, school leagues, amateur adult leagues, multidivision professional leagues, national cups, regional international competitions, and the World Cups—male and female—there are major championships for the deaf, for the blind, and for players with intellectual disabilities. Versions of soccer are played on grass, beach sand, cinders, hardwood, asphalt, and ice. Elephants have played it, as have robots. A tournament held in a pool in Germany as part of 2006 World Cup festivities featured players wearing weights for ballast while kicking away at a heavy soccer ball. Clearly, soccer’s debut in outer space is only a matter of time.


The Homeless World Cup

While horse racing is known as the sport of kings, soccer is the sport of the working class. Make that the sport of the indigent class as well, officially beginning in July 2003 in Graz, Austria, where eighteen teams took part in the first Homeless World Cup. The event was played out over seven days in two of the city’s major squares. Clad in the colors of their home countries, ten-member teams of homeless

-1-

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Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • 1 - Everyone, Everywhere 1
  • 2 - History 13
  • 3 - Worldcup 51
  • 4 - Misbehavior 89
  • 5 - Soccer, War, and Peace 135
  • 6 - America 169
  • 7 - Referees 223
  • 8 - Coaches 247
  • 9 - Superlatives 259
  • 10 - Snafus 279
  • 11 - Tragedies 313
  • 12 - Only in Soccer 337
  • Bibliographic Essay 387
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