Johan Cruyff: the American diaries

Johan Cruyff’s impact on football was far-reaching to say the least. His influence on the game in the Netherlands and Spain has been rightly lauded, and his role in the revolutionary Total Football of the 1970s and his moments of incomparable brilliance on the pitch are incomparable. Few would dispute that Cruyff was more to…

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Teófilo Cubillas: the greatest Peruvian of them all

On 3 June 1978, Peruvian footballer Teófilo Cubillas broke the hearts of five million Scots with a set-piece of ineffable magic. Moments earlier, Cubillas stood 20-yards away from the Scottish goal, staring down goalkeeper Alan Rough. Rough, like any sane goalkeeper, was expecting the Peruvian to strike the ball around the outside of Scotland’s six-man…

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Why Don Garber went to Zürich

US Soccer’s concept of professional league divisions is a farce and a red herring, because it masks Major League Soccer’s real agenda and intention. • • • • MLS’s real agenda and intention is simple: what today we call the lower professional divisions (Divisions II and III, for respectively NASL and USL Pro), will eventually become MLS’s official minor…

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The failed Team America experiment

LONG BEFORE A TEAM OF ANIMATED PUPPETS decided to take on the world under the banner of Team America, a hodgepodge collection of superstars and NASL underlings joined together in 1976 to take on Brazil, Italy and England in a one off tournament called the American Bicentennial Soccer Cup. As the name suggests, the tournament was…

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Janusz Kowalik: the NASL’s first superstar

THE TIME BEFORE PELÉ, CRUYFF AND CHINAGLIA was a barren one for the North American Soccer League, or NASL to you and me. Born in 1968 following a merger between the United Soccer Association and the National Professional Soccer League, NASL had wholly humble beginnings. So humble in fact that many regard the inaugural NASL season…

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How Pelé and the New York Cosmos changed soccer

“The New York Cosmos were the best and worst of American soccer,” Rodney Marsh once said. It’s often rare that one sentence can sum up every argument you want to make; Rodney Marsh does that though. The New York Cosmos truly were the best and worst of what American soccer was. The extravagant celebrity lifestyle dominated the…

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