Check out an interview with XI co-editor Tom Dunmore.
If, for some strange reason, you want to know why yours truly has spent years blogging about soccer since moving to Chicago from England, Jetting Around has kindly put together an interview you might want to take a gander at.
46% of the way there, and 18 days left to raise the remaining $5,861 XI needs on Kickstarter - or not a cent of the money raised goes to launch the publication! Please consider a pledge and help by spreading the word: http://kck.st/H51kHc
Content being king and all, here are some thoughts from the XI editorial team on the topics the magazine will explore.
Why, in a digital age, is XI launching as a print soccer magazine?
Cover of Soccer America, April 3rd 1973. Reproduced with permission, scanned by XI co-editor David Keyes as part of his research into the ‘Americanization’ of soccer in the U.S.
$4k reached on Kickstarter! Please pledge what you can to support the launch of a new North American soccer magazine, and more importantly, spread the word. Thank you!
The first in a series of historical scans from Soccer America magazine. Founded in 1971, SA has been covering the news of the sport ever since, and XI co-editor David Keyes has been rooting through their archives. This first post looks at the state of the NASL heading into 1973, the New York Cosmos having won their first championship the season before.
Reproduced with the permission of Soccer America
A morning Kickstarter drive update for you - help launch a new North American soccer print magazine. XI has raised $3,627 so far and needs $7,373 more to hit the $11,000 target. If that target isn’t reach, XI doesn’t receive a cent! Please reblog and pledge anything you can, $2 is the starting point for some special XI rewards.
More info on pledging: http://kck.st/H51kHc
It’s funny that the “next” step for three writers who have each found an audience through websites would be a magazine. With all the discussion of the death of print journalism, it would, in many ways, seem silly for Tom Dunmore (Pitch Invasion), John Turnbull (The Global Game), and I (Culture of Soccer) to be launching a print magazine (albeit one that will also have a digital edition). But perhaps “progress” is more circular than linear and we believe strongly that in the rush to all things digital, there is a space left open for a good old-fashioned magazine.
Blogs like those each of us have run have filled this space, but in many ways, they are not the ideal medium for the type of coverage we value. Contemplative, longform journalism can exist online but I continue to believe that magazines are a better medium for reading this type of work. Much as I love my gadgets, I still love to curl up with an actual physical magazine.
While the form of our magazine may be “new” (by being old-fashioned, that is), the form alone is not enough. What I’m most excited about with XI is the content. The growth of soccer in North America over the past several decades has been breathtaking. But too few of the stories that exist has been told. As a student of the North American game, I can’t wait to read the stories that we uncover through publishing XI.
Already, over the past few months that we have been working together to plan XI, I have grown more and more excited at the possibilities that exist for the magazine. When Tom and I started talking about the magazine last fall, it was just the germ of an idea. What has been most amazing is to see how the idea has grown as we’ve worked together. As Tom mentioned, we’ve never met in person, but our weekly Skype chats have helped us to crystallize a concept for XI that is truly exciting.
XI is an absolutely collaborative effort, and is stronger for it. The different interests that each of the editorsbring overlap to give the magazine a core identity, but are diverse enough that each issue will be unique. The collaborations we will be able to do with different writers who are interested in uncovering stories of North American soccer will bring further diversity. And the art direction that Liam Murtaugh has brought toXI is fundamental to the magazine’s success. Liam’s strength lies in recognizing the vision for the magazineand developing a graphical appeal that works with this vision to help the content shine.
As I put it recently in a goodbye to my old blog Culture of Soccer, I’m incredibly excited to be “back in the game” after a few years of intense focus on graduate school. Working with Tom, John, and Liam on XI feels right, like the perfect next step for us as well as, I hope, for coverage of soccer in North America. I hope you agree.
If you haven’t already, please support XI on Kickstarter. With your support, we can launch the magazine and give North American soccer the coverage it deserves.
- David Keyes
LISTEN: XI Art Director Liam Murtaugh on his hopes and vision for XI Quarterly
XI is a North American soccer quarterly. But what is North America? This is what we were recently asked by a reader on Tumblr:
So you’ll also be covering Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc? Because, you know, all of those are also in North America yet you don’t mention them.
So what is North America and what will XI be covering when the first issue comes out this summer? Neither of these questions have straightforward answers.
Defining the borders of North America is difficult because it is inherently subjective. Definitions of continents vary in different parts of the world and establishing unanimity on these definitions is impossible.
Given that the boundaries of North America as a continent are subjective, how will XI interpret what it means to be a “North American” soccer quarterly?
In our discussions over the past few months, the editors of XI have settled on a working definition: the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The first two fit together because of the strong connections between the two countries on many levels, not least of which is MLS, which has teams from the US and Canada. And soccer in Mexico is increasingly connected to that of its northern neighbors, especially the US, with the Mexican national team playing more often in the States than in Mexico and Mexican-American players increasingly traveling south for their professional careers.
Resources are one critical factor. The XI team is spread throughout the United States, and more than welcomes contributors from elsewhere in North America - in fact, such broad participation will be critical for it to succeed.
Language is a further question; XI will be published in English, but could there be a bilingual edition on, say, soccer in French Canada or in Spanish on the sport in Mexico?
But what of other countries that could be considered North America? Should they be included in XI’s coverage? What stories might XI tell of soccer in Antigua (after all, there is an Antigua team playing in the USL), El Salvador, Cuba?
Thanks for your interest and if you haven’t had a chance to support XI yet, please mosey on over to Kickstarter.
XI isn’t being created by a bunch of friends who sat around having a pint together and eventually came up with a good idea when the sixth round of beers arrived (though I’ve had many projects start that way before…). In fact, the four behind XI - myself, John Turnbull, David Keyes and Liam Murtaugh - have never even had an in-person meeting. I live in Chicago; John lives in Atlanta (700 miles from here); David lives in San Diego (2,000 miles); and Liam lives in London (4,000 miles).
We communicate mainly via Skype; David and I had the first of many meetings around six months ago, when the idea of creating a new soccer publication began to germinate. The details - the name, the themes, the funding ideas - have sprung up on sometimes crackly Skype calls, including one with David calling from a research trip in Mexico, birds squawking endlessly in the background.
It has worked as a collaboration so far because we all share a remarkably similar vision for what this magazine should provide to thoughtful soccer enthusiasts in North America. We all want to see the diverse strands that form the culture of soccer in such unique ways here explored in-depth.
John, though he’d be far too modest to say it, pioneered doing that in the internet age with the Global Game, established in 2004. It was the blog (and later book) that inspired both David and I to begin our own. John explored the history of American soccer (“Were Paterson FC the first stateside club?”), soccer’s place in the American civil right’s movement, New Jersey’s immigrant soccer past, and “the spread of women’s soccer into new territories in America’s fragmented demographic”. Quite simply, John consistently told stories that we would never otherwise have heard about soccer on this continent and beyond; a sociology of the sport.
An anthropologist by trade, David Keyes has similarly looked to unearth the roots of America’s diverse soccer culture - or as he importantly put it in one essay, America’s soccer cultures. David examined how MLS attempted to reach hispanic communities (with difficulty, he explains in an interesting interview from 2008with the Columbus Crew’s Director of Hispanic Development), and his road trip across the US the same year saw David encounter MLS’ only Japanese player; Mexican immigration and soccer in Garden City, Kansas;Peter Vermes; Frank Borghi; uh, myself; Roy Messer and Guillermo Barros Schelotto. David hit the road and told stories through the people that make the sport what it is.
Liam does not have a blog, though he contributed a couple of very fine pieces on branding in soccer to my own site, Pitch Invasion (“A Brand History of the European Championship" and "From Pastime to Industry: How Nineties Design Made the Sport”). As the XI Art Director, Liam’s understanding of how soccer identity is forged is of the utmost importance. His technical skills will be the lynchpin to the publication’s ability to vary by theme; there will be no stock template, but a flexible form that will enhance each issue’s unique content. Liam can pull off something big, but also sweats every detail, as I know from many years of collaboration with him for Section 8 Chicago.
Working with this team is why I have high hopes for the originality of the topics, the quality of the writing, and the look and feel of the publication. If XI can secure its funding with the support of the soccer community, I hope that we will find many more contributors who can make each issue special.
- Tom Dunmore
It’s day #4 of the Kickstarter drive. Remember, XI needs to hit that $11,000 target within the next 27 days or not a cent will go towards starting the magazine. So please keep spreading the word and be a founding supporter of a new North American soccer magazine!
You can help by reblogging this and sharing the Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/H51kHc
A short conversation with XI co-editor David Keyes about his vision for the magazine.