I enrolled in Duke’s Soccer Politics class in hopes of learning enough about football to fully understand and appreciate why the world goes nuts every four years. My high profile soccer career consisted of one season on the youth league in my town as a gifted 7 year old. My golden highlight: faking an injury and eating oranges on the sideline.
I was thrilled when I finally discovered a blog where someone as soccer-illiterate as me felt included. It’s interesting, informative, and provides details specifically to prepare its readers for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The article content is varied such that it is accessible for both soccer beginners (like me!) and intense football fanatics.
Total Futeblog is a sub-blog from author Christopher Doben’s main soccer blog, Total Footblog. Doben is a freelance consultant, copywriter, and journalist. His original blog Total Footblog took off after its humble beginnings in July 2010. The detailed accounts regarding his experiences at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa grew into what Doben considers a “surprisingly sexy” soccer magazine. Unfortunately, Doben closed the blog in December 2012. Thankfully for me, he began blogging again for the sole purpose of updating his readers on match results, anecdotes, and any pertinent specifics for brave souls planning on making the pilgrimage to the World Cup in Brazil, which Doben intends on attending. (Only his 7th World Cup… No big deal.) Each post is thorough, well researched, and a little bit on the longer side, about 1500 words.
Even though Doben is American, his passion for soccer rivals fanatics in Europe or South America, and he writes to entertain and inform audiences from all over the world. To deter any knit-picky American critics, Doben clearly states his views on American’s resistance to the universal football semantics:
There is also a school of thought that spends an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to Americanize the way we speak about the sport. They want me to say soccer instead of football, game instead of match, field instead of pitch, and uniform instead of kit.
In fact, only about half of the blog’s readers are American, thus he aims to write entries that cover all countries, with only a slight emphasis on anything American (especially now that the United States has qualified!).
In addition to thorough and comprehensive articles, Doben’s writing style is highly amusing. Some of my favorite examples include:
I had to endure some dingleberry singing an extended version of God Bless America
-Doben’s only complaint about the U.S. Men’s National team’s qualification
image source: Christopher Doben
-Doben’s article concerning Jubilani Balls and their negative effects on players’ performances during the 2010 World Cup
After perusing most of the articles he’s posted so far, I would definitely recommend Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the World Cup. This article describes everything from what “FIFA” stands for, to advice in purchasing match tickets and lodging, to the ongoing struggles and protests in Brazil. He brings up concerns regarding the gross overspending by the Brazilian government on new stadiums and public transportation (which isn’t expected to be completed in time for the World Cup). I gained a more thorough understanding of how the World Cup qualifiers work, and how the circumstances in Brazil make the World Cup even more important.
Qualifiers: Welcome to Ticos Town is one of a series of articles that nicely summarize the most recent qualifying matches. Previous to taking this class, I put zero thought into the actual process of qualification for the World Cup. Doben nicely organizes important matches from the various FIFA Confederations. He lays out who has earned a spot in their respective confederation and who still has a chance for a remaining one. Also, who knew that out of the recent 25 matches in the UEFA, eight red cards were issued? Wow.
Another post that I really appreciated was The Cape Verde Saga & A Boy Named Nsue. The little country that could, Cape Verde Islands, beat Tunisia 2-0 to qualify a few days ago. If we back up a match, Cape Verde lost to Equatorial Guinea on March 24th, but was propelled to first place by default after FIFA disqualified Equatorial Guinea for fielding an ineligible player. Emilio Nsue, a Spanish-born player, failed to declare his dual-citizenship in Equatorial Guinea before his 21st birthday. Ends up, Cape Verde Islands also fielded an ineligible player in their match versus Tunisia. Fernando Varela just needed to sit out two more matches after his red card from the same game versus Equatorial Guinea on March 24th!
The World Cup is more than just matches, winners, and losers. There are histories, rivalries, and stories. Doben does more than just report the facts; he analyzes, informs, and makes connections. If these types of articles seem interesting to you, definitely check it out! I will most definitely be following his blog for the next few months, so if I can, you should too.