Where Unrest Fights Regret: A Reflection on Maradona

By Kizito Madu

The folly of youth is thinking itself invincible; so the adage of not declaring a man as having lived a happy life until he is on his deathbed still holds true mainly because of youth’s naïveté. Diego Maradona isn’t dead –in fact he’s full of life; recently recorded participating in a street fight after a night out—but he is an old man, and from his own words, he’s much older than his age suggests. In a recent interview with TyC Sports, Diego lamented that if he had not taken drugs, he would be a phenomenal player, adding “However, my daughters know that their old man - even though I am 53 years old - in reality it is as if I am 78 because my life has not been normal. It’s as if I had lived 80 years.”

There are two tragedies in this story: One of lost time and talent in the sense that the best player to ever bully and prance through a football pitch could have somehow been better, and the more funereal allegory of an ancient tragedy; the same characteristics that makes a hero endearing and admirable, become the cause of his downfall. Achilles with pride, Diego and grit. 

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The Oldest Footballer in England

Meet Dickie Borthwick. He’s approaching 79, and still plays football.

Beyond the immediate desire to want to kick around with him, this short film by Alex Knowles & James Callum focuses on a man who has been fortunate enough to share his whole life with the game. They made the film with the intent to dispel the myth that ‘old people are past it’ and instead introduce us to inspirational people with invaluable insight, exceptional passion, a never-ending supply of wonderful stories and a thirst for life that refuses to fade.

Mr. Borthwick notes that "football brings a lot of friends into your life… I’m there with young people all the time, playing football! At my age! What more can I ask for?" Cheers, Dickie, for reminding us to appreciate what we all have at our feet.

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Away Days: America in Europe

Words and Photos by Nathen McVittie, from USA vs Czech Republic in Prague.

After the World Cup dust has settled, soccer continues.

International teams take to friendly matches to tune up ahead of competitive fixtures or to test the youth of tomorrow.

Their fans turn up, from near and far, to pay respect to old heroes or to catch a glimpse of heroes-to-be.

This past week, close to a thousand American fans took the plunge and traveled to Central Europe from all over the world in order to witness the continued evolution of an emerging power.

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Crossing the Chasm: The Polder Cup

Whether it’s a controversy over goal-line technology, a linesman plastered across newspapers after a dubious call, or a referee put to the sword after falling prey to a bit of simulation in the box, football is a sport preoccupied with its own minutiae. So much so, that for all the vitriol and passion that trails every small incident on the pitch, it’s often easy to forget that at the end of the day, football is just a game.

San Sebastian-based artist Maider López built upon that premise with her Polder Cup project, where she hosted a football tournament in Southern Holland across a series of mismatched pitches. From jagged boundary lines to hollows and bumps littering the field and even ditches of water splitting fields in two, Maider parodied the rigid official rule-set by creating a situation in which players had to adapt their strategy and interpretation of the rules to the environment around them.

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"Wake Up!"

Words and Photos by Eric Beard and Julie Logan, from the NWSL Final between the Seattle Reign and FC Kansas City at Starfire Stadium

There’s something immeasurably inspiring about witnessing a winner lose. It silences a stadium full of ardent supporters. Amongst immediate despair, there’s a fire that has yet to be fully extinguished. It’s an unnatural air of defeat in the lungs of those who know what it means to transcend second best. Above all, it’s a wake-up call.

Because anyone can step up at any time. New champions can always be made. And they aren’t playing to provide a reminder to always bring your best; they’re emphatically declaring that your best isn’t good enough anymore.

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Ground From Above - Terrão de Cima by Renato Stockler

"A ‘terrão’ (earthen field) is an oasis in the urban landscape. The reddish tone of a soccer field turns into a stage for resistance of popular soccer. These fields are increasingly rare to be seen because of property speculation and land occupation, and they standing as a spirit of resilience." - Renato Stockler

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Where The Average Weekend Is Anything But: Portland and The Timbers Army

Photos captured by Jordan Beard

Over the past week, Portland, Oregon was situated right on the middle of the global game’s map. From Thierry Henry to Mario Götze, icons and phenoms were filling the streets as the MLS All-Stars welcomed Bayern Munich to town. We were at Providence Park for that match, and it was great. But it wasn’t Portland.

The stadium was packed to the brim and full of fans from overseas, but it wasn’t Portland. So, we returned to see this city’s side play Chivas USA to take in an "average game" and witness the atmosphere that the Timbers Army and company could create.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Embracing the game in Basel

Not every match can be a World Cup final, and it won’t be that way for another four years. So while we brace for a new season in Europe’s major leagues, Ryu Voelkel is already back in action, traveling the continent to capture the game unseen by most. He recently visited Switzerland to see Basel take on Luzern, and the kids, fans, and vibrant stadium stole the show.

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Watching People Watching The World Cup

You’ve seen the thousands of photos of goal celebrations, player reactions, and crushing images of fans sitting alone in stadiums. Photographer Jane Stockdale decided to take a different approach. She jumped on a plane to Brazil to shoot audiences, not matches.

There were packed beaches. There were desolate bars. Her project, Watching the World Cup, shows the month of madness in a refreshingly human light.

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