The illustrator of the brilliance at miniboro.com is contributing to XI issue #1. In this interview, the British artist explains his backstory and the subject for his four-page spread: the “Black Arrow”, Gil Heron.
An extract below of Andrew Guest’s XIissue one essay, Making it in America: Analyzing the Immigrant’s Game, explains the question he explores in depth: why do immigrant families still have massively disproportionate success in American soccer?
In the popular imagination, soccer has only gradually become “American.” The legendary 1950 US World Cup team, for example, beat England on a diving header by Joe Gaetjens—who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and later played for Haiti against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier. But even in 1950, only six of the seventeen players on the US roster were born abroad, equal to the number born in St. Louis. Forty-four years later, at the 1994 World Cup hosted by the US, the American roster had a nearly identical ratio of foreign-born: 1 out of 3.
So when I first looked at the U.S. roster for the 2010 World Cup I was interested to find only two of the players on the final thirty-man roster were born abroad: Stuart Holden was born in Scotland and Benny Feilhaber was born in Brazil, with both moving to the US by age 10. But then, when I tracked down their family histories, it turned out that at least 60 percent (or 18 of players for which I could find the relevant information) had at least one parent who was born abroad. In contrast, only around 20 percent of all young Americans have at least one parent born abroad. If the World Cup team is any indication, immigrant families still have massively disproportionate success in American soccer.
While this does imply that soccer is still something of an “immigrant’s game,” I think there is also something more complicated going on, something that social scientists call “the immigrant paradox” or “the immigrant advantage.”
The history of soccer in Portland dates back to the late nineteenth century, as Michael Orr explores in his XIissue one article titled “The Scotch and English Game: The Founders of Soccer City USA.” Here, Orr discusses some chapters of Pacific Northwest soccer history that few even know exists.
Women’s soccer in the U.S. is typically known as a bastion of bright, fair skinned, blond ponytail players kicking the ball. But these players are very different. They are Latinas and they want to play, too. What’s most remarkable about them is that many of these players are not youth players but older women, moms even, who want to play competitive soccer on the weekends just like their husbands and boyfriends. In living out their soccer dreams they are transforming these traditional soccer spaces from being predominantly male to something else. And in the process these futbolera pioneers are challenging the limits of traditional female roles and transforming the norms of femininity in their own families and communities.
In issue one of XI Quarterly, Paul Caudros - author of A Home on the Field - explores how Latina soccer players in North Carolina are reshaping life through their love of the sport.
For issue #1 of XI, Andrew Guest is writing about the immigrant paradox, asking why it is that immigrants in the United States often do better in soccer than do non-immigrants. Here he talks about his article, titled “How to Make it in America.”
In issue #1 of XI Quarterly, Leander Schaerlaeckens and Pieter van Os explore Johan Cruyff’s years playing in the United States.
Their article shows how the time that the Dutch legend spent in the NASL formed the man that we know today as Johan Cruyff, as Schaerlaeckens discusses here.
A Dutch native, Leander Schaerlaeckens lives in New York and has written about soccer for such publications as ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, the Guardian and World Soccer. He has a one-sided love-hate relationship with Johan Cruyff.
“His skills would offend the opposition, often leaving them feeling foolish and flailing victims of Gil’s fancy footwork. There were scoundrels in places like Skokie, a suburb of Chicago then primarily inhabited by Europeans, who treated soccer like an ethnic heirloom. My mother talked about incidents when opposing players had felt forced to foul, going for his legs instead of the ball, not trying to tackle him but to injure.”—Gil Scott-Heron discussing his father’s soccer career in his posthumously published memoir. Gil Heron was the first black player to turn out for Glasgow Celtic’s first team in 1951, having built his career playing in Detroit and Chicago. Explore the story in the forthcoming inaugural issue of XI in an illustrated portrait of father and son.
A new print publication on North American soccer is launching this summer, and XI is looking for graphic illustrators to help bring the game to life in print.
Illustrators will be called upon to depict specific subjects under the guidance of XI’s editors and art director as full XI contributors – just as a writer or photographer. While we are looking for fresh, motivated talent, we also seek some previous experience and will review all candidate portfolios.
TO APPLY Send the following via email to email@example.com - a portfolio of your work (five images, PDF) - a short bio, including location/region and description of your approach - a few sentences on why you’d like to be an XI illustrator
DEADLINE This initial call will close Friday, May 18th Successful applicants will be notified by Wednesday, May 23rd
Great overview of the history of soccer in Portland stretching back to the nineteenth century by George Fosty. Note: there might, just might be something on the very early history of the sport in “Soccer City USA” in an upcoming issue of XI Quarterly…
“A lot of people…still think of soccer as two ethnic teams chasing each other around with knives on a stone-covered pitch.”—Lee Stern, Owner and President of the NASL’s Chicago Sting, quoted in the Chicago Tribune in June 1977. Hopefully that’s not the case any longer, right?