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 editors bring 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 to XI is fundamental to the magazine’s success. Liam’s strength lies in recognizing the vision for the magazine and 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.