Monday, June 23, 2014

Favorite soccer writing so far - by Phillips, Ballard, Thompson & Jones

There's of course been a tremendous amount of writing on soccer since the World Cup began June 12th and my favorite pieces so far have been by Brian Phillips, Chris Ballard, Wright Thompson and Chris Jones.

The Phillips story is the one I saw most recently with him writing "Train in Vain" for Grantland and it's a remarkable look at the games themselves juxtaposed against the problems in Brazil and just brilliantly done work.

For Sports Illustrated Longform a few days ago, Chris Ballard provided "Coming of Age," an excellent piece on U.S. soccer fandom, told through the lens of the author's trip with longtime friends to watch the Americans play Ghana and that compared to travelling with much the same group to France for U.S. World Cup games in 1998.

As would be expected, there's been a huge volume of writing done for ESPN so far during the tournament, with a big chunk of that provided by Wright Thompson with incredibly frequent posts of stories (and salsa recipes!) to his ESPN World Cup blog. So many of the pieces are well-written features that he's pumping out constantly as he's been travelling through Latin America and the story of his so far that stands out the most as I scroll the blog is "A place that God forgot," written from the "murder capital of the world," San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The last really good piece of soccer writing to note here wasn't actually on the World Cup, but totally captures the idea of soccer fandom, and to that adds a dollop of fatherhood. "How a Kid Becomes a Fan" was by Chris Jones for the latest issue of Esquire and is just a really nice short piece.