18 articles

Reflections on Villaplane

A French soccer star's rise and fall from sports to cons to the Nazi Party.

"I watched, horrified, as she let Villaplane into her home, followed by three other men. I took aim, putting my finger on the trigger of my pistol. Then I remembered the Communist Party order not to assassinate individuals, and as the door closed, I ran to find my friends. It was too late: they had been arrested by the Brigade Nord-Africaine. An Arabic soldier pointed a gun at me, telling me to give up any weapons and join the others. My comrades and I were marched to a ditch and ordered to line up with our hands on our heads. I stood on the far right as three men in SS uniform marched into view."


Running the Lines for Fulgence

In a Haitian tent city, a referee prepares for a soccer game.

"Almost unconsciously, I began gathering various items from the tent: my official registration card, a couple of Fox whistles, two pairs of black socks, a black undershirt, an armband, two flags, my kangaroo-leather turf shoes, and then three different jerseys that I had so painstakingly preserved. I stuffed all of this into an Agency sack, which I normally used for collecting my ration of nourimil cereal."


Last Champions of the Third Reich

The story of the 1944 German national soccer championship game.


The World's Team

How FC Barcelona became the most successful - and most beloved - club in soccer.


The Beautiful Game

In Argentina, where the fútbol underworld controls everything from t-shirt vending to murder, and “rowdy gangs” have turned the stadium into a battleground.


Here & Gone

On the strange relationship between Lionel Messi and his Argentinian hometown.


Follow the Money

The evolution and economics of English football.


Let It Fly

A profile of Mo Isom, a former goalie on the LSU women’s soccer team now trying to kick for the football team.


A Soccer Prodigy, at Home in Brazil

“Calça de veludo ou bunda de fora.” Why Neymar, one of the world’s best talents hasn’t taken the money and run.


Short-Fused and Explosive

A profile of Italian soccer star Mario Balotelli.


Family of former soccer pro can’t accept shame of suicide ruling

The controversy surrounding the death of Uche Okafor.


All the World is Staged

Catching “the world’s most prolific criminal fixer of soccer matches.”


Corruption, Murder, and the Beautiful Game

On FIFA’s history of scandal.


The President

As the head of the CBF, Ricardo Teixera rules Brazilian futebol from the top down, controlling everything from the value of championships to broadcast rights. He needs the pull off a flawless 2014 World Cup in order to set the stage for being elected FIFA’s president, but there’s one hitch; the trail of bribes and scandals he has left in his wake.

Whenever you want him to go on the record, Teixeira shushes you and raises a finger to his lips.  He addresses men and women alike as “meu amor,” with an exaggerated Rio accent. “Meu amor, it’s all been said about me – that I smuggled goods in the Brazilian national team’s airplane, that there’s been dirty dealing in the World Cup, all those investigations into Nike and the CBF."
Translated from the original Portugese.


Orange Devolution

Why all soccer fans should root for Holland to lose to Spain.


The World at His Feet

Argentina’s Lio Messi, the best soccer player on the planet, stands all of 5’7” and needed growth-hormone injections to get there.


The Dividing Line

On the day of the earthquake, two men went into Haiti’s Soccer Federation headquarters. Only one came out.


The Hero Who Vanished

Sixty years ago, the U.S. upset England in the World Cup on a goal from Joe Gaetjens. In most countries he would have been idolized. Instead, he was ignored in America and marked for death in his native Haiti.