The Best of Football Writing in 2013
This is the third year that The Best Football Writing list (2012, 2011) has come into existence. We’ve seen blogs come and go, as well as writers rise and get the recognition they deserve. 2013 was no exception, but the continued domination of social media in sport created a new landscape for writing. With a flood of information hitting us every day, it can be difficult to find the long reads amongst a pile of memes.
This year’s list was the hardest to compile, but there was hardly a shortage of quality writing. In fact, we were overwhelmed with tweets and emails recommending great writing in football. While we don’t know what’s in store in 2014, we’re proud to present The Best of Football Writing in 2013.
[[MORE]]
List compiled by Eric Beard, Maxi Rodriguez, Zack Goldman, and Dominic Vieira.
Design: Luke Barclay and 3nil.
Photography: Ryu Voelkel
















Most Compelling
















January 1 – Letter from San Diego – Soccer in a Divided Region – Alicia Rodriguez
January 15 - The Disappearance of Daniele De Rossi - Thomas Høy
January 21 – The Americas’ Team – Jorge Arangure Jr.
January 27 – Bob Bradley – The American Who Stayed – Habib El Magrissy
January 30 – How Galatasaray lured Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder to Turkey - Amy Lawrence
February 2 - Interview with Marco Garcés, Head of Scouting for Pachuca CF - David Keyes
February 7 – Soccer’s New Match-Fixing Scandal – Brian Phillips
February 11 – Be Here Now – Kevin Koczwara
February 28 - What Mario Balotelli means for Italy (and Italy) - James Taylor
March 19 - How Soccer Explains Israel - Amos Barshad
March 19 – Friendly Fire – Brian Straus
March 20 - The Blood of the Impure - Laurent Dubois
March 25 - All Hail The Game’s Great Anarachist - Cristian Nyari
April 16 - Coping with the information overload of modern football  - Mike Ticher
April 16 - Unpaid Internships in Performance Analysis: My View - Dave Willoughby
April 25 – Clarence Seedorf’s Brazilian renaissance – Jack Lang
April 26 – My Juventus – Simon Kuper
May 1 – Brittney Griner, Jason Collins and the Sex of a Story - Jennifer Doyle
May 6 - When The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly - Wright Thompson
May 12 – Two Hundred and Three – Graham Macaree
May 13 – An early exit after 27 years: Sir Alex steps down in his own style – Anthony Lopopolo
May 17 – Cantera Dreams – David Keyes
May 22 – Australia’s Code Wars – Neil Sherwin
May 22 - Is Major League Soccer selling its soul? - Jeff Carlisle
June 6 – Livorno are keeping Communist football alive – Callum Hamilton
June 12 – Dribbling Man – Robert Andrew Powell
June 14 – How Garcia can reinvigorate Roma – Andy Brassell
June 18 - A Revolta do Vinagre - Chris Gaffney
June 23 – Incitement – Laurent Dubois
July 4 – Why soccer pundits need to learn to embrace uncertainty – Richard Whittall
Augus 8 - Dempsey: An African-Americanesque Reflection – Miriti Murungi
August 15 – Catalonian Hatorade – Elliott Turner
August 25 - Recolonization! – Maxi Rodriguez
August 28 – Once the midfield master on the field and now the manager, can Cocu start a dynasty at his PSV? – Mohamed Moallim
September 4 - On Gedion Zelalem, soccer potential and ‘American-ness’ - Jason Davis
September 5 – Explaining the “Union high school” – Keith Hickey
September 17 – The Global Theatre – Laurent Dubois
October 18 - Football clubs and assets of community value – Andi Thomas
October 21 – Diego Fagundez’s path to the USMNT starts with green card, now it gets messy – Ryan Rosenblatt
October 29 - Not Going Away; On The Cost Of Watching Football – Glen Wilson
November 15 - A Yellow Card – Brian Phillips
November 29 – Paul Pogba – Fergie’s biggest mistake in 26 years? – Jonathan Fadugba
December 1 - Piers Morgan, Mental Health And Football’s Culture Of Bullying - Greg (DFAFS)
December 3 – Soccer and Logic Don’t Often Mix – Yael Averbach
December 13 – Goodbye to Rory Delap, long-throwing destroyer – James Tyler
December 31 - The Masters of Universality – Michael Cox
















Most Creative
















April 4 - Why We Watch: Xavi Hernández, Football Fundamentalist - Linda Hui
April 19 – Completely serious exclusive preview: FIFA 14 – Andi Thomas
May 1 - Papal Indiscretions – Evaluating Pope Francis’s BsAs Club Selection - Elliot Turner
May 7 - The Hemingway Experiment: The Dangerous Winter - Will Parchman
June 23 - Alegria Do Povo ‘The Joy of the People - Layth Yousef
August 9 - Red, White, & Blue Steel - Brian Phillips
September 1 - Transfer Deadline Day With Marauding Arsenal Fans - Clive Martin
September 10 - Tadeuszt Rózewicz: Football and the Poetry of Silence - Alex Stuart
October 4 - Condemned to be Fulham - Joe Devine
October 9 - Social poet captures the beautiful game - Roger Bennett
October 17 - Manchester United’s 7 Deadly Sins - ManUtd24
November 23 - This is not José Mourinho - Nicol Hay
December 19 - Why We Watch: Jozy Altidore Before Dawn - Connor Huchton
















Best Storytelling
















January 15 - The Lion of Vienna - Mark Yesilevskiy & Matilda Hankinson
January 23 - Everyman a Herculez - Robert Andrew Powell
January 28 - Blessed were the cheesemakers: the glory days of Parma - Giancarlo Rinaldi
February 18 - American Soccer in 1985: The Failure in Torrance - Will Parchman
March 26 - Not just another game: When the USMNT played Mexico in 1980, everything changed - Noah Davis
March 29 - Freed of a Secret’s Burden, a Soccer Player Looks Ahead - Sam Borden
March 30 - David Rocastle: A Love Letter To The Gentleman And Arsenal Legend - Layth Yousif
April 10 - One man’s journey from Los Angeles to Real Madrid good-luck charm - Grant Wahl
April 21 - Act One: Trying to Fill His Shoes (the ones with cleats) - Robert Suarez
May 2 - From League One champions to devastated losers in a single minute - Zack Goldman
May 5 - Bobby Williamson on his time with Uganda - Alan Pattullo
May 20 - Jürgen Klopp rallies neutrals to support ‘special’ Borussia Dortmund - Donald McRae
May 30 - Maradona vs. Belgium - Craig Robinson
May 31 - Savo Milosevic: The Aston Villa Icon That Never Was - Chris Nee
June 3 - A game worth living for: Santa Maria Rivera’s story - Liviu Bird
June 17 - Return of the the Ahlawy - Andrea Luchetta
June 28 - The legends of Sao Cristovao - Gabriele Marcotti
July 18 - You are my Arsenal, my only Arsenal - Layth Yousif
July 18 - We Are The Resurrection - Mike Deri Smith
August 6 - The Life of a Non-Millionaire Professional Athlete - Clint Irwin
August 13 - Il Giocatore - Luke O’Brien
August 16 - Rejection, tragedy and billions of dollars - The story of FIFA - Christopher Dring
August 20 - Mario Balotelli has a talent that’s every bit as electric as his personality - Grant Wahl
August 23 - Sneaking into Argentina - Elliott Turner
August 30 - A Life and United - Unitedite
September 5 - I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic: A Modern Fairy Tale - Simon Kuper
September 5 - The day Harry Redknapp brought a fan on to play for West Ham - Jeff Maysh
September 8 - This Ain’t A Football Song - David Hartrick
September 10 - Gianluigi Buffon: from depression to Italy’s record books - Marcus Christenson
September 10 - Mexico City Nightmare: A Father’s Worst Fear - John Godfrey
October 30 - Afghanistan United - May Jeong
November 2 - Her biggest save - Caitlin Dewey
November 8 - How Brazil’s longest suffering club escaped from the wilderness - James Young
November 19 - Meet Hannes Thor Halldórsson: Iceland goalkeeper, movie director - Jonathan Wilson
November 20 - Looking For Riquelme - Rob Brown
December 5 - The late Nelson Mandela understood the true power of sports - Jonathan Wilson
December 6 - Generation June - Wright Thompson
December 11 - The forgotten story of … Andrew Dettre and Soccer World - Joe Gorman
December 14 - Murder On Nitti Street. The Case of Re Cecconi - Alessio Loginov
December 19 - American Coach Bids Farewell To Egypt - Moustafa El-Chiati
December 24 - The Suarez Conundrum - Davy Lane

Best Research

March 4 - Pearls Of Wisdom Or Perils Of Wisdom? The Problem With Evidence Based Coaching - Chris Anderson
April 12 - The Unstoppable Rise of Shakhtar Donetsk - Vadim Furmanov
April 29 - Show Me The Money - Swiss Ramble
April 30 - Desert heat: World Cup hosts Qatar face scrutiny over ‘slavery’ accusations - James Montague
May 2 - How artificial turf could change the future of soccer - Charles Boehm
May 24 - European Soccer’s Biggest Star May Be a Song - Sam Borden
May 28 - Les Pieds-Noirs: Algeria’s Forgotten Footballers - Maher Mezahi
May 29 - Jonathan Wilson: Tactical Analysis Boom - Dominic Bliss
May 29 - Football Finance: The Case for Financial Fair Play - Richard Whitall
June 26 - Rise of Data Analysis in Football - Jack Coles
July 7 - New York City and the Rebirth of Supporter Culture - Jonathan Williamson
July 22 - Un Chien Andalou: Maradona’s Dog Days at Sevilla - Rob Doolan
July 23 - O Glorioso Benfica - Stolen from Africa - Mark Biram
August 12 - Boris Arkadyev – The Soviet Genius Behind Total Football and Tiki-Taka - Matthew Brown
September 11 - Why ‘Three Points for a Win’ is a loss for football - Nicholas Cholst
October 1 - Hate him or despise him, Diego Costa’s a star - Sid Lowe
November 1 - More Than A Game: How the Mostar derby illustrates Bosnia-Herzegovina’s divisions - Luke Ginnell
November 29 - World Cup seeding: How to play the game - Gabriele Marcotti
December 4 - Contrasting approaches to possession - Devin Pleuler
December 6 - How Qatar Came to Host the 2022 World Cup - Philippe Auclair
December 11 - The story of the Italian player who turned down €200,000 and became a hero - James Horncastle

The Best Writing and Presentation in Multimedia

February 5 - Football as a Religion: The Church of Maradona - VICE
February 8 - Football Vagabond: Derby of the Eternal Enemies - KICKTV
March 23 - The Not-So-Friendly U.S.-Mexico match - NPR’s Only A Game
March 24 - Soccer on the U.S.-Mexico border - XI Quarterly
April 29 - Derrière chaque victoire - Impact 2-0 Fire - Impact de Montréal
May 16 - The Oviedo Story - Copa90
July 18 - Soccer Morning: David Conn and American Ownership in the Premier League - NASN Radio
September 25 - Qatar: the migrant workers forced to work for no pay in World Cup host country - The Guardian
October 13 - An Unfair Game - The New York Times
October 25 - Robbie Keane: A Poem - Colum McCann
October 30 - Tottenham Hotspur get new stadium but local businesses lose out - The Guardian
November 6 - The Half-Time Hero - Howler Radio
December 17 - An Ode To Football - Musa Okwonga and The FA
As always, the best part about making this list is hearing about the great reads that we inevitably overlooked. If there’s a piece that you thought should have been included, please leave a link to it in the comments. 
If you enjoyed the list, please consider sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else where fans of football and good writing can be found.

The Best of Football Writing in 2013

This is the third year that The Best Football Writing list (2012, 2011) has come into existence. We’ve seen blogs come and go, as well as writers rise and get the recognition they deserve. 2013 was no exception, but the continued domination of social media in sport created a new landscape for writing. With a flood of information hitting us every day, it can be difficult to find the long reads amongst a pile of memes.

This year’s list was the hardest to compile, but there was hardly a shortage of quality writing. In fact, we were overwhelmed with tweets and emails recommending great writing in football. While we don’t know what’s in store in 2014, we’re proud to present The Best of Football Writing in 2013.

List compiled by Eric Beard, Maxi Rodriguez, Zack Goldman, and Dominic Vieira.

Design: Luke Barclay and 3nil.

Photography: Ryu Voelkel

Most Compelling

January 1 – Letter from San Diego – Soccer in a Divided RegionAlicia Rodriguez

January 15 - The Disappearance of Daniele De Rossi - Thomas Høy

January 21 – The Americas’ TeamJorge Arangure Jr.

January 27 – Bob Bradley – The American Who StayedHabib El Magrissy

January 30 – How Galatasaray lured Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder to Turkey - Amy Lawrence

February 2 - Interview with Marco Garcés, Head of Scouting for Pachuca CF - David Keyes

February 7 – Soccer’s New Match-Fixing Scandal – Brian Phillips

February 11 – Be Here NowKevin Koczwara

February 28 - What Mario Balotelli means for Italy (and Italy) - James Taylor

March 19 - How Soccer Explains Israel - Amos Barshad

March 19 – Friendly FireBrian Straus

March 20 - The Blood of the Impure - Laurent Dubois

March 25 - All Hail The Game’s Great Anarachist - Cristian Nyari

April 16 - Coping with the information overload of modern football  - Mike Ticher

April 16 - Unpaid Internships in Performance Analysis: My View - Dave Willoughby

April 25 – Clarence Seedorf’s Brazilian renaissanceJack Lang

April 26 – My JuventusSimon Kuper

May 1 – Brittney Griner, Jason Collins and the Sex of a Story - Jennifer Doyle

May 6 - When The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly - Wright Thompson

May 12 – Two Hundred and ThreeGraham Macaree

May 13 – An early exit after 27 years: Sir Alex steps down in his own styleAnthony Lopopolo

May 17 – Cantera DreamsDavid Keyes

May 22 – Australia’s Code WarsNeil Sherwin

May 22 - Is Major League Soccer selling its soul? - Jeff Carlisle

June 6 – Livorno are keeping Communist football aliveCallum Hamilton

June 12 – Dribbling ManRobert Andrew Powell

June 14 – How Garcia can reinvigorate RomaAndy Brassell

June 18 - A Revolta do Vinagre - Chris Gaffney

June 23 – IncitementLaurent Dubois

July 4 – Why soccer pundits need to learn to embrace uncertaintyRichard Whittall

Augus 8 - Dempsey: An African-Americanesque ReflectionMiriti Murungi

August 15 – Catalonian HatoradeElliott Turner

August 25 - Recolonization!Maxi Rodriguez

August 28 – Once the midfield master on the field and now the manager, can Cocu start a dynasty at his PSV?Mohamed Moallim

September 4 - On Gedion Zelalem, soccer potential and ‘American-ness’ - Jason Davis

September 5 – Explaining the “Union high school”Keith Hickey

September 17 – The Global TheatreLaurent Dubois

October 18 - Football clubs and assets of community valueAndi Thomas

October 21 – Diego Fagundez’s path to the USMNT starts with green card, now it gets messyRyan Rosenblatt

October 29 - Not Going Away; On The Cost Of Watching FootballGlen Wilson

November 15 - A Yellow CardBrian Phillips

November 29 – Paul Pogba – Fergie’s biggest mistake in 26 years?Jonathan Fadugba

December 1 - Piers Morgan, Mental Health And Football’s Culture Of Bullying - Greg (DFAFS)

December 3 – Soccer and Logic Don’t Often MixYael Averbach

December 13 – Goodbye to Rory Delap, long-throwing destroyerJames Tyler

December 31 - The Masters of UniversalityMichael Cox

Most Creative

April 4 - Why We Watch: Xavi Hernández, Football Fundamentalist - Linda Hui

April 19 – Completely serious exclusive preview: FIFA 14Andi Thomas

May 1 - Papal Indiscretions – Evaluating Pope Francis’s BsAs Club Selection - Elliot Turner

May 7 - The Hemingway Experiment: The Dangerous Winter - Will Parchman

June 23 - Alegria Do Povo ‘The Joy of the People - Layth Yousef

August 9 - Red, White, & Blue Steel - Brian Phillips

September 1 - Transfer Deadline Day With Marauding Arsenal Fans - Clive Martin

September 10 - Tadeuszt Rózewicz: Football and the Poetry of Silence - Alex Stuart

October 4 - Condemned to be Fulham - Joe Devine

October 9 - Social poet captures the beautiful game - Roger Bennett

October 17 - Manchester United’s 7 Deadly Sins - ManUtd24

November 23 - This is not José Mourinho - Nicol Hay

December 19 - Why We Watch: Jozy Altidore Before Dawn - Connor Huchton

Best Storytelling

January 15 - The Lion of Vienna - Mark Yesilevskiy & Matilda Hankinson

January 23 - Everyman a Herculez - Robert Andrew Powell

January 28 - Blessed were the cheesemakers: the glory days of Parma - Giancarlo Rinaldi

February 18 - American Soccer in 1985: The Failure in Torrance - Will Parchman

March 26 - Not just another game: When the USMNT played Mexico in 1980, everything changed - Noah Davis

March 29 - Freed of a Secret’s Burden, a Soccer Player Looks Ahead - Sam Borden

March 30 - David Rocastle: A Love Letter To The Gentleman And Arsenal Legend - Layth Yousif

April 10 - One man’s journey from Los Angeles to Real Madrid good-luck charm - Grant Wahl

April 21 - Act One: Trying to Fill His Shoes (the ones with cleats) - Robert Suarez

May 2 - From League One champions to devastated losers in a single minute - Zack Goldman

May 5 - Bobby Williamson on his time with Uganda - Alan Pattullo

May 20 - Jürgen Klopp rallies neutrals to support ‘special’ Borussia Dortmund - Donald McRae

May 30 - Maradona vs. Belgium - Craig Robinson

May 31 - Savo Milosevic: The Aston Villa Icon That Never Was - Chris Nee

June 3 - A game worth living for: Santa Maria Rivera’s story - Liviu Bird

June 17 - Return of the the Ahlawy - Andrea Luchetta

June 28 - The legends of Sao Cristovao - Gabriele Marcotti

July 18 - You are my Arsenal, my only Arsenal - Layth Yousif

July 18 - We Are The Resurrection - Mike Deri Smith

August 6 - The Life of a Non-Millionaire Professional Athlete - Clint Irwin

August 13 - Il Giocatore - Luke O’Brien

August 16 - Rejection, tragedy and billions of dollars - The story of FIFA - Christopher Dring

August 20 - Mario Balotelli has a talent that’s every bit as electric as his personality - Grant Wahl

August 23 - Sneaking into Argentina - Elliott Turner

August 30 - A Life and United - Unitedite

September 5 - I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic: A Modern Fairy Tale - Simon Kuper

September 5 - The day Harry Redknapp brought a fan on to play for West Ham - Jeff Maysh

September 8 - This Ain’t A Football Song - David Hartrick

September 10 - Gianluigi Buffon: from depression to Italy’s record books - Marcus Christenson

September 10 - Mexico City Nightmare: A Father’s Worst Fear - John Godfrey

October 30 - Afghanistan United - May Jeong

November 2 - Her biggest save - Caitlin Dewey

November 8 - How Brazil’s longest suffering club escaped from the wilderness - James Young

November 19 - Meet Hannes Thor Halldórsson: Iceland goalkeeper, movie director - Jonathan Wilson

November 20 - Looking For Riquelme - Rob Brown

December 5 - The late Nelson Mandela understood the true power of sports - Jonathan Wilson

December 6 - Generation June - Wright Thompson

December 11 - The forgotten story of … Andrew Dettre and Soccer World - Joe Gorman

December 14 - Murder On Nitti Street. The Case of Re Cecconi - Alessio Loginov

December 19 - American Coach Bids Farewell To Egypt - Moustafa El-Chiati

December 24 - The Suarez Conundrum - Davy Lane

Best Research

March 4 - Pearls Of Wisdom Or Perils Of Wisdom? The Problem With Evidence Based Coaching - Chris Anderson

April 12 - The Unstoppable Rise of Shakhtar DonetskVadim Furmanov

April 29 - Show Me The Money - Swiss Ramble

April 30 - Desert heat: World Cup hosts Qatar face scrutiny over ‘slavery’ accusations - James Montague

May 2 - How artificial turf could change the future of soccer - Charles Boehm

May 24 - European Soccer’s Biggest Star May Be a Song - Sam Borden

May 28 - Les Pieds-Noirs: Algeria’s Forgotten Footballers - Maher Mezahi

May 29 - Jonathan Wilson: Tactical Analysis Boom - Dominic Bliss

May 29 - Football Finance: The Case for Financial Fair Play - Richard Whitall

June 26 - Rise of Data Analysis in Football - Jack Coles

July 7 - New York City and the Rebirth of Supporter Culture - Jonathan Williamson

July 22 - Un Chien Andalou: Maradona’s Dog Days at Sevilla - Rob Doolan

July 23 - O Glorioso Benfica - Stolen from Africa - Mark Biram

August 12 - Boris Arkadyev – The Soviet Genius Behind Total Football and Tiki-Taka - Matthew Brown

September 11 - Why ‘Three Points for a Win’ is a loss for football - Nicholas Cholst

October 1 - Hate him or despise him, Diego Costa’s a star - Sid Lowe

November 1 - More Than A Game: How the Mostar derby illustrates Bosnia-Herzegovina’s divisions - Luke Ginnell

November 29 - World Cup seeding: How to play the game - Gabriele Marcotti

December 4 - Contrasting approaches to possession - Devin Pleuler

December 6 - How Qatar Came to Host the 2022 World CupPhilippe Auclair

December 11 - The story of the Italian player who turned down €200,000 and became a hero - James Horncastle

The Best Writing and Presentation in Multimedia

February 5 - Football as a Religion: The Church of Maradona - VICE

February 8 - Football Vagabond: Derby of the Eternal Enemies - KICKTV

March 23 - The Not-So-Friendly U.S.-Mexico match - NPR’s Only A Game

March 24 - Soccer on the U.S.-Mexico border - XI Quarterly

April 29 - Derrière chaque victoire - Impact 2-0 Fire - Impact de Montréal

May 16 - The Oviedo Story - Copa90

July 18 - Soccer Morning: David Conn and American Ownership in the Premier League - NASN Radio

September 25 - Qatar: the migrant workers forced to work for no pay in World Cup host country - The Guardian

October 13 - An Unfair Game - The New York Times

October 25 - Robbie Keane: A Poem - Colum McCann

October 30 - Tottenham Hotspur get new stadium but local businesses lose out - The Guardian

November 6 - The Half-Time Hero - Howler Radio

December 17 - An Ode To Football - Musa Okwonga and The FA

As always, the best part about making this list is hearing about the great reads that we inevitably overlooked. If there’s a piece that you thought should have been included, please leave a link to it in the comments.

If you enjoyed the list, please consider sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else where fans of football and good writing can be found.

  1. ultrasaja reblogged this from inventfootball
  2. nerdfighterfc reblogged this from afootballreport
  3. nodontfindme reblogged this from afootballreport
  4. s-pap reblogged this from afootballreport
  5. gospelofmoll reblogged this from afootballreport
  6. repinipi reblogged this from afootballreport
  7. cuore-forte reblogged this from afootballreport
  8. grahamzusi reblogged this from afootballreport
  9. peuterbaugh reblogged this from afootballreport
  10. gh-blogger reblogged this from afootballreport
  11. navybluehoney reblogged this from azpi
  12. theartofcompetition reblogged this from afootballreport
  13. cheekychip reblogged this from afootballreport and added:
    The Best of Football Writing in 2013 This is the third year that The Best Football Writing list (2012, 2011) has come...
  14. jaake6 reblogged this from azpi
blog comments powered by Disqus