By Raya Islam
Through the avalanche of soccer blogs, there is none quite as mysterious as Nuke Soccer. This website, supposedly a spin-off of the phrase “Nike Soccer,” presents itself as an enigma, and after an initial read-through, I found myself utterly confused by the blog. The “About” page consists of a strange gif of an explosion and a broken link to the old website. I stumbled across a page dedicated to nonsensical music and pictures of random World War II posters right after reading an article discussing soccer in Toronto. As disassembled as this blog appeared, something about the aesthetics and vibe kept me browsing.
Upon a further look, I discovered Nuke Soccer’s motto, “proudly amusing and informing soccerdom.” This simple phrase perfectly summarizes the site’s quirky set up. Nuke Soccer is a blog dedicated not only to Canadian soccer facts, news, politics, scoreboards, but also to a cultural aspect to the spectacle. By aggregating from other soccer sources, the site covers every aspect of Canadian soccer from youth to national leagues and from local to international matches; it’s all things Canadian soccer. Part of the main section of the blog, labeled “Grassroots,” focuses on developing the culture of soccer in Canada and recognizing where it started from, one of several personal touches to the website. Anonymous author Nukestar discusses developments in youth soccer training, coaching mantras, and player development in articles such as We Educate Them, my personal favorite highlighting the importance of younger generations for the growth of soccer culture. Whether Nukestar annotates article from an outside source with his judgement, or creates his own writing, readers can easily identify the author’s deep-rooted passion for Canadian soccer simply by browsing the website. He provides detailed reviews of every type of game that happens in Canadian soccer, and even has a section detailing the latest in soccer affairs in Toronto alone. The extent of articles profiling Canadian soccer are unlike any other blog I have seen. Nukestar discusses news, politics, and matches of obscure Canadian teams, but he does so with such genuine interest and immense detail that each article is written as if it describes the most popular team in the world. The “Soccer in Toronto” page gives a particular date and discusses a match that happened in Toronto, providing highlights, goal timestamps, and detailed notes, usually about lesser-known teams. These aspects of the blog really tie into the “grassroots” mission of the author who attempts to create a personable community around Canadian soccer.
Nuke Soccer is efficient in its layout and accessibility. Once the reader understands the main idea of the website, it is easy to search for articles with ‘tags’ or certain keywords that pertain to someone’s interests. While the website seemed strange at first with it’s unclear message, its attention to detail and lengthy selection of articles show its devotion to Canadian soccer.
Because Nuke Soccer focuses almost exclusively on Canadian soccer, news outside of the Canadian realm is barely addressed. Nuke Soccer’s opinion on the rest of the soccer world is a very subtle one, only referencing world soccer news in media outlets such as pictures and videos since almost all of the written articles are for Canadian news. The only deviation from solely Canadian soccer Nukestar consistently devotes his attention to is the MLS, but he still includes the Canadian teams. When the season is in full swing, he posts weekly updates of MLS news and scores.
In the most diverse section of the blog, the “Features” tab, the author segways into more offbeat areas of information. One section called “The Almanac,” allows readers to browse through pictures, posters, game announcements, and even game advertisements from the past. One will also come across ‘This Week in Canadian Soccer’ posts, where the author looks at a week in history and finds important soccer-related events from that week, going into the early 1900s. He also adds a section comprised solely of quotes from mostly Canadian players, coaches, and critics for inspiration and information. In addition to that, he establishes a section devoted to articles from all over the internet profiling Canadian soccer and opinions on its country-wide development. Once again, the author strives to promote the importance and significance of Canadian soccer. One of the trendiest parts of this blog exist in this “Features” tab, where the author dedicates two separate pages to soccer songs and videos. What better way to get in the spirit of soccer than to listen to soccer tunes? This section compiles any soccer jingle imaginable from all around the world, most of which are fairly recent. These song choices include fight songs, World Cup anthems, and fan-made modern art music videos. On the video page, Nuke Soccer links fans to highlights of a plethora of Canadian matches in MLS, international league, and club, in addition to a few funny videos. Once again, the author places a particular focus on Toronto, which receives its own video page.
As if this multitude of detail into Canadian soccer wasn’t enough, Nukestar decided to add yet another quirky aspect to the entire blog. Nuke Soccer publishes a myriad of picture posts related to soccer. Some of the pictures are paintings or cartoons of soccer players, while others are portraits of players at a younger time. These visuals offer a creative contribution to the soccer blog world with their memorable simplicity. Completely unrelated to the topic of soccer, Nuke Soccer also features a few pages of World War II propaganda and 1950s nuclear testing propaganda posters, rightfully filed under the tag ‘farrago,’ which translates to “a confused mixture.” It also displays an array of music and music videos, probably favorites of the author given that they have no common theme to them. The songs and video have an old time vibe to them, but are completely unrelated to the subject matter of the rest of the blog.
Unless the reader took a look into the entire blog, he or she would initially be confused and probably think the author was crazy. However, after taking a fine comb through the entire website, I came across elements that truly display a rare passion for Canadian soccer mixed with loads of creativity. A blog like this is not for everyone, not even for all Canadian soccer fans. Nukestar’s writing segments make it clear that he wants to tell you the latest information in Canadian soccer, but he also wishes to inject art and cultural concepts into his work, something unseen in most soccer blogs. He is not looking for a large fanbase, he is targeting a passionate fanbase to appreciate his visual and auditory components of soccer coverage in addition to his articles. How many soccer blogs have their own segment on soccer-related music? And not only that, but a compilation of videos only relevant to Canadian soccer? While the seemingly random music suggestions might initially distract from the main purpose of the website, Nukestar may just wish to put his own personal touch on the website given that he is completely anonymous. Most importantly, Nuke Soccer emphasizes credibility. He references his article sources and provides a directory of all other soccer news sources he pulls from, making his website a legitimate news source and kicking all doubts about his peculiar work to the curb. While this news source turned creative outlet for all things Canadian soccer contributes to a small aspect of world soccer, it emphasizes a mission to grow this subtle conversation into a bold statement.