Interviews with smart soccer people
Howler editor George Quraishi interviews soccer journalists, managers, players, and activists. Dummy is about everything except what happened on the field last week: the business, politics, history, personalities, and social issues that touch the world’s favorite game.
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MARCH 16, 2018
Andrew Downie is back to discuss his new book, Doctor Socrates, in more depth.
March 09, 2018
Iceland has been one of the best stories in world soccer over the last few years—a tiny nation that is riding a golden generation to its first ever European Championship and then World Cup in the span of just two years. (We published a big feature on Icelandic soccer by Davis Harper that came out in the first half of 2016—so we were either ahead of the hipsters or super duper hipsters, depending on your point of view.)
For this episode, George traveled to Iceland to speak with the technical director and president of the Icelandic FA—plus the president and first lady of the country itself.
Next week, Andrew Downie will return to discuss his book Doctor Socrates. Pick up a copy here (Howler gets a small cut when you purchase with this link). And then drop any questions or comments you’d like Andrew to address into this form.
March 02, 2018
What Happens When Athletes Do the Sports Writing? by Amos BarshadDoctor Socrates is the latest Howler Book Club selection—pick up a copy here (Howler gets a small cut when you purchase with this link). Author Andrew Downie will stop by for a more expansive conversation about the life of Socrates.
February 22, 2018
We published a big ol’ package on referees in the latest issue of Howler, and in this episode of Dummy, George speaks with one of the writers about his survey of the academic literature and what it tells us about the psychology of people who are brave enough to become referees. Dive in with us (but not too obviously) to learn more about an under-covered and vital facet of the game.
february 15, 2018
Andrew Downie’s new book Doctor Socrates tells the story of one of the most interesting players in soccer history. Socrates trained as a physician but chose to become a professional footballer, and he was captain of the wonderful Brazil side that was expected to win the 1982 World Cup but fell to Italy, the eventual champion. He was a heavy drinker, smoker, and philanderer who was nonetheless beloved by fans of Botafogo and then Corinthians because of his incomparable abilities as a playmaker and finisher. He also led a movement called Corinthians Democracy that brought a social and political consciousness into the locker room, putting him at odds with the way business was done in Brazilian soccer and eventually with the dictatorship that ran the country.
Doctor Socrates is the latest Howler Book Club selection—pick up a copy here (Howler gets a small cut when you purchase with this link). Andrew will be back in about a month for a more expansive conversation about the life of Socrates.
February 08, 2018
George and Ryan (host of the Dirty Tackle podcast and an occasional writer for the mag) are in London at a big Nike marketing event, and of the many players present—including Alexis Sanchez, Neymar, Christian Pulisic, and Marcus Rashford—they got two very short interviews with Eden Hazard and Tobin Heath. In this episode, a discussion about how commercial events like this one have come to drive so much of the soccer media, a quick look at the very funny piece Ryan wrote for the latest issue of Howler, and, of course, three minutes each with Hazard and Heath.
february 01, 2018
January 22, 2018
On Thursday, we hosted a live show with the gentlemen from the Total Soccer Show. Tab Ramos and Alexi Lalas were our special guests, and Brooks Peck of Dirty Tackle made a cameo at the end during the Wikipedia Game.
January 18, 2018
As president of Soccer United Marketing, Kathy Carter has helped US Soccer earn megaprofits in recent years. Now she is running to be president of the federation. Among the topics she discusses in this episode: potential conflicts of interest (MLS owners also own SUM), how she plans to manage the technical staff, solidarity payments and pro/rel, and why she thinks there are suddenly eight candidates when Gulati ran unopposed in the last three elections.
january 11, 2018
As chief scout for the USMNT under Bruce Arena, Thomas Rongen was responsible for keeping tabs on potential US internationals, including 18-year-old midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez, who chose this week to represent Mexico instead of the US. In this episode of Dummy, Thomas talks about the process for making contact and building relationships with players who have the option to represent multiple countries, which is something he did during the past year but also as head coach of the US U-20 team from 2006 to 2011. He has helped find and recruit players like John Brooks, Bobby Wood, Julian Green, Mix Diskerud, Terrence Boyd, Jerome Kiesewetter, and others—and his thoughts on why Bobby Wood is still a big part of the national team while Julian Green’s career has stalled are especially interesting.
JANUARY 05, 2018
My scheduled interview fell through, so when my dad stopped by, I made him sit down and answer my questions about how American soccer has changed since he arrived from England in the early 1970s to play college soccer and then in the old NASL. It was a nice reminder that even though we might think we’re in a moment of crisis, things actually seem quite stable and positive to someone who was around back then.
DeCEMBER 22, 2017
Jason Davis spends 10 hours a week talking in public about American soccer on his Sirius radio show. Now that the field has been narrowed to eight candidates, he and George discuss what could happen, what’s likely to happen, and what they hope will happen. They also discuss what a Wynalda or Carter presidency would mean for Major League Soccer and more broadly for the future of the game in the US.
DECEMBER 15, 2017
Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee decided to ban Russian athletes from participating under their national flag at the 2018 Olympic Games and it banned for life Vitaly Mutko, the Russian deputy prime minister who oversaw the country’s massive, state-run Olympic doping program during the 2014 games in Sochi. Mutko also happens to be the head of Russia’s World Cup organizing committee and a FIFA vice president who sits on the FIFA Council and four other FIFA committees, but there is little chance he will lose any of those positions as a result of this scandal. Here to explain why, and give us more insight into the relationship between Russian sports, politics, and international institutions like FIFA and the IOC, is Manuel Veth, editor-in-chief of futbolgrad.com, who just so happens to have a PhD in the study of Soviet sports.
DEcember 08, 2017
DEcember 01, 2017
November 22, 2017
November 16, 2017
November 09, 2017
november 01, 2017
UCLA law professor Steven Bank is back to discuss today’s hearing in a Brooklyn courtroom as the NASL seeks an injunction against the U.S. Soccer Federation’s decision to re-classify the league as division three. We learned some new things, including details about Soccer United Marketing’s relationship with both MLS and the USSF as well as where the judge might be leaning in this case.
October 27, 2017
Qatar recently announced that it will begin to reform the Kafala labor system that keeps migrant workers essentially powerless in the face of abuse. James Dorsey joins the pod to discuss what this means, why it came about, and the role of geopolitics and the World Cup in sparking this change.
October 20, 2017
october 12, 2017
OCTOBER 5, 2017
SEPTEMBER 28, 2O17
September 22, 2017
SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
September 01, 2017
August 25, 2017
Four 10-minute interviews on four stories from whatahowler.com this week:
1. How Target’s switch from NASCAR to soccer sponsorships could help transform the American game (with Amadi Thiam)
2. Why ultras from Bayern Munich and many other Bundesliga clubs have declared “war” on the German football federation (with Travis Timmons)
3. Chelsea and England striker Eni Aluko claims she has been blackballed from international soccer after complaining about treatment by the Three Lions coaching staff (with James Bridget Gordon)
4. Morocco’s bid for the 2026 World Cup may lead to increased scrutiny of the country’s decades-long occupation of Western Sahara (with Aubrey Bloomfield)
August 18, 2017
August 11, 2017
july 20, 2017
JUNE 28, 2017
JUNE 16, 2017
June 9, 2017
George and Bobby discuss last night’s game between the U.S. national team and Trinidad and try to answer a few questions:
- Which players are emerging as Bruce Arena’s automatic picks?
- Who should be playing between Altidore, Dempsey, and Wood?
- Michael Bradley or Kellyn Acosta?
- How will Mexico attack the U.S. back line of Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, and Villafaña?
- Why is Villafaña only getting his first caps now, at the age of 27?
Bobby was running out to catch a plane to Mexico City, so they taped a short segment near the end in which they analyze the build-up to the first U.S. goal. This is for Bobby’s podcast “The Play” but you’ll probably enjoy it too.