Why Did Soccer Fail In The U.S. When Other Sports Thrived?

Below is a link to a research paper I wrote last year that I’ve uploaded to my Academia page. It concerns research into the growth of gridiron football (NFL-style), baseball, and basketball in the US and why association football (a.k.a. soccer) failed to grasp the country’s imagination as the other three.

https://www.academia.edu/40016593/Why_Did_Soccer_Fail_In_The_U.S._When_Other_Sports_Thrived

An excerpt:

Most importantly, “the game in America badly lacked willful leadership…Plenty of athletic departments and administrators may have thought soccer was vaguely a good thing, yet none seemed to possess the eagerness and ambition to lift it to greater prominence” (Wangerin “Distant” 32).

The main issue facing the leagues across the nation was the lack of a governmental body to enforce a set of rules agreed upon by all. Leagues played according to their own sets of rules, which put them at odds with each other and the fanbases they catered to. A league in St. Louis, for example, “played halves of 30 minutes instead of 45” (Wangerin, “Soccer” 29).

The AFA, founded, ironically enough, by a group of British expatriates made the first to attempt to unify the country’s leagues in the late 19th century. Unfortunately, any and all attempts at unification became power struggles between British and American leaders of the sport who “engaged in petty rivalries and internecine organizational struggles that only helped to preserve their narrow fiefdoms and the status quo at the expense of creating an institutional structure that might have been able to disseminate the sport to the vast majority of the American public” (Markovits “Offside” 53).

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Biblioteca de Catalunya (photos)

I geeked out at the Biblioteca de Catalunya (Library of Catalonia) in Barcelona this past April. I even spent some time there to work on an academic paper. Academia eventually rules us all!

You can find the full album here along with larger/higher quality versions of the photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afroxander/albums/72157710380479047

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Sin Fronteras: A Historiography on the Evolution of Perceptions of the San Diego/Tijuana Region as Separate & Unified Territory

Below is a link and an excerpt of a paper I wrote a few months ago for a course in Mexican history. It is a historiography on the development of the San Diego/Tijuana region of southern California + Baja California as separate territories with an emphasis on people’s understanding of the territory as a separate & unified territory.

The paper can be downloaded at my Academia page.

Below is an excerpt:

Early writings and writings of the San Diego/Tijuana (or vice-versa depending on which side of the literal fence one stands from) border region’s early history after the Mexican-American War illustrate the growth of the region as the emergence of two distinct zones that lures the citizens on each side with different promises. This non-symbiotic relationship between the two nations then steadily changes into a symbiotic one as scholars and academics begin to study the region’s evolution from a pair of separate and individual states to a pair of separate and strongly interconnected states. This interconnection occurs on multiple levels but is most typically understood via socio-cultural and economic lenses.

In recent years, new understandings of the border region have come from the experiences of people, Mexicans and Americans, whose daily lives consist of nearly equal time spent on each side of the US/Mexico border. Some of the writings on this topic began with the analysis of the flow of workers and consumers of both regions that began blending the flow of each country’s economics and labor with one another. Beyond this phenomenon, scholars have also recently defined the experiences of some of these citizens as a “ transborder/transfronterizo” persons who have experienced a lifetime of bi-nationality, that is, a lived experience of traversing a physical, international barrier that begins in childhood and extends into adulthood. Finally, activist groups that understand the border region from a highly politicized lens have also established their own framework of thinking about the border region in SD/TJ as well as other borderland areas.

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Ghosted: How Tickets to L.A.’s Biggest Soccer Match Disappeared

ElTraficobyIvan

On Wednesday night, the LA Galaxy cancelled hundreds of tickets allocated to numerous ticket holders for Friday’s match between the Galaxy and LAFC. Why? I dove in to find out for LA Taco:

https://www.lataco.com/ghosted-how-tickets-to-l-a-s-biggest-soccer-match-disappeared/

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Football Stickers in Barcelona

Here’s another post from my trip to Barcelona. This one’s short: a few photos of stickers slapped up by ultras and other fan groups that I found while out and about (including my own contribution).

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Barcelona: The Spanish Civil War Tour

I spent nine days in Barcelona this past April. This is the first of a few posts about that trip.

I began my second, full day in the city at the Plaça de Catalunya, which is the beginning and ending point of the Spanish Civil War walking tour. Nick Lloyd created the tour nearly a decade ago and offers it multiple times a week with the aid of his partner (whose name, I hate to admit, I’ve forgotten).

The Spanish Civil War walking tour traverses the Plaza and part of the area across the way in and around Las Ramblas covering various important locations and events of the era. You can read more about the tour at the official site.

All photos taken with my ZTE Z983 and edited on PSCC19.

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The tour begins with quick introductions at Café Zurich across from Plaça de Catalunya where the history lessons begin at the monument dedicated to Francesc Macià, president of the re-established Generalitat de Catalunya of 1931.

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Above is a pin promoting the Olimpiada Popular (People’s Olympiad) of 1936. The event was a response and protest against the official 1936 Summer Olympics hosted by Germany and the Third Reich. Thousands of athletes from 22 countries were set to compete under the watchful eyes of Catalans and journalists from all over the world on July 19th when war broke out on July 17th.

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A view of Las Ramblas as we walked over to…

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…the Hotel Continental! George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) stayed here multiple times during the civil war and included it in Homage To Catalonia.

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One of the many narrow streets around Las Ramblas.

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The Santa Maria del Pi church. The large, circular window is new as it was destroyed during the civil war.

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An art store across from the church.

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A box of matches featuring the logos of the CNT, Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, and the AIT, Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores.

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A combat helmet of the era.

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And a gas mask of the era!

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The remains of a case of a rocket-propelled grenade.

STRONG CONTENT WARNING for the next photo!

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Spanish Republicans published this image as part of its propaganda campaign against Francisco Franco and the Nationalists. The child in the image was killed in an air raid.

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First aid bandages.

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A  matchbook.

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A shaving kit.

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The above two photos are from the Plaça Sant Felip Neri. The façade of the church remains scarred by damage from the shrapnel of two bombs dropped onto the square during the war.

The sign outside the plaza (first photo) gives the details of the bombing: on January 30th, Italian fascists bombed Barcelona from 9am until 11:20am. The church in the plaza provided refuge to many children during the war and 20 of them died during the bombardment. Pro-Franco propaganda claimed that the damage to the building was the result of the slaughter of Catholic priests at the hands of anarchist firing squads.

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A copy of the New York Times from January 31st, 1938 with an article about the bombing.

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The Hotel Rivoli on Las Ramblas was once the headquarters of the POUM, Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, which Orwell was a member of.

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This plaque is located on the Hotel Rivoli. It marks the date when POUM co-founder Andreu/Andrés Nin was kidnapped from the POUM’s office by pro-Stalinist Spanish Communists and disappeared, tortured and killed.

Orwell covers many of the events leading up to Nin’s capture in Homage to Catalonia and narrowly avoided being kidnapped by Stalinist forces himself.

The final set of photos are from the interior of the Bar Llibertària. The bar features numerous artifacts connected with the POUM and CNT.

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Above: “The Revolution Has Placed The Earth In Your Hands”

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Above: “Comrade! Work and fight for the revolution.”

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A pin of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade a.k.a. Lincoln Battalion, composed of hundreds of volunteers from the USA. The battalion was a member of the XV International Brigade, a brigade composed of foreign volunteers who fought alongside the antifascist/anti-Franco forces in Spain.

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A framed portrait of Buenaventura Durruti.

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Currently Listening To: 2019 Mid-Year Edition

I have had a few artists on a heavy rotation these past couple of months as I weathered my final semester of coursework at SDSU:

Frikstailers – Extrasolar

The Argentine duo forced us all to wait six years for a new album, but it was worth the wait. One could argue that they made us wait only two years as the duo released an album of music under the name Klik & Frik for musical aesthetic purposes. That album, Telepat, however, was a slight digression towards a sound stripped to nothing but electronic beats, sans the direct Latin American influences and genre mixture Frikstailers are known for. This album under their original moniker brings them back to their original sound with the help of musical guests Mateo Kingman, La Yegros, Aterciopelados, and Marrón.

Vudufa – Congorito

Vudufa is the name of this new project by Lima-based producers Pounda and NoModico. Their debut album, Congorito, features eight tracks of a sound they’ve dubbed “Afrobass with Peruvian flavor,” which is a darker version of the already-dark tunes of Dengue Dengue Dengue and Animal Chuk. What differentiates Vudufa from their peers is their focus on African beats and rhythms with nary a hint of cumbia.

Gustavo Dudamel – Celebrating John Williams

I interviewed Dudamel of the LA Philharmonic for FLAUNT magazine (you can check that out here) and, thus, spent days listening to much of his work. My favorite is the recording of his concert at Santiago de Compostela where he conducted Beethoven’s 9th with the Galician Symphony. His latest album is a live recording of his tribute concert for legendary composer John Williams with the LA Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January 2019.

Capsula – Bestiarium

Capsula is a band I’ve covered extensively throughout the years since first learning about them many years ago. I think it was at SXSW eight years ago. In any case, they released a new album earlier this year. Bestiarium is a concept album based on numerous mythological creatures of ancient folklores and some damn good rock n’ roll, as always.

If These Trees Could Talk – The Bones of a Dying World

I learned about this band and album thanks to the Radio option on Spotify. Now before anyone accuses me of crafting a sponsored post without attribution, Spotify is my main method/app to listen to music and podcasts followed by Podcast App, Mixcloud, direct streams, and good ol’ fashioned terrestrial car radio.

Anyway! This band has been one of my favorite instrumental bands since I learned about them. It’s great music to study to, to drive in the rain to, to cure writer’s block to, etc. If anything, give the song “Earth Crawler” (my favorite track) a listen.

Crim – Pare Nostre Que Esteu a L’infern

Crim are a punk band from Tarragona, Spain who I learned about thanks to a concert flyer I found while in Barcelona in April (more on that in a forthcoming post). They’ve got a political slant as any good punk band does with lyrics that focus on many of the modern social problems in their home country.

Arpaviejas – El Último Cartucho

Arpaviejas are also a punk band from Spain but these guys are from the outskirts of Barcelona. JR Kubensis founded the band in 2000 and continues today as his pet project feat. a rotating cast of musicians that form his band.

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