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Issue One

Each issue of XI is a collaboration. The editors select their ideal “side,” including eleven samplings on a single topic. Like the team huddled for the ritual pre-match photograph, each issue features eleven elements, working in concert to speak to a theme unique to soccer in North America.

  • XI Issue One

    Issue One: Coming to America

    The notion of soccer as an “immigrant game” has defined the sport’s development in North America. The inaugural issue of XI, Coming to America, explores how immigration has and continues to shape soccer across the continent with original essays, photography and illustrations telling this story in eleven original ways.

    Release Date: September 2012

    Fall River Marksmen

    Click below to view a short preview of XI issue one – just one of the eleven pieces included.

    XI Issue One Contents

    “Legendarily hubristic, cocksure, singularly combative and ruthless, Cruyff was forever embroiled in power struggles or embarking on ideological crusades.” Leander Schaerlaeckens and Pieter van Os explore how Johan Cruyff’s headstrong personality impacted on the original North American Soccer League during his time with the Washington Diplomats, an era that had a lasting significance for the Dutch legend’s career itself.


    “The soccer team, known as the Democrats, was mostly African and Caribbean immigrants who were competent if unspectacular—with one significant exception: a lanky midfielder with sleepy eyes who ghosted around the patchy mud with a grace and precision more suited to La Liga than an American high school game.” What does the story of Portland Timbers’ forward Danny Mwanga tell us about immigration, soccer and American society? Andrew Guest asks whether there may in fact be an immigrants’ advantage in success stories like Mwanga’s.


    “In the mid-to-late 19th century, the occasional football match was played by the association rules in Portland, usually confined to gatherings of British social organizations, such as the Hibernian Benevolent Society’s June 1, 1876, picnic at East Portland Park.” Soccer’s roots in Portland, Oregon, stretch far back but it was not a smooth path for the city that became Soccer City USA. Michael Orr delves into long-forgotten local history to tell this story.


    “In the locker-room later, Phillips faked receiving a congratulatory call from President Nixon; ‘Ah, Mr. President,’ Phillips deadpanned into the empty line, ‘I’m disappointed. I thought you would call sooner.’ He did not have to wait much longer.” In the 1970s, Howard University became the first historically black college to win an NCAA championship in any sport. Led then by coach Lincoln Phillips, Tom Dunmore traces Howard’s unprecedented success back to the 1920s, and considers its broader significance against the backdrop of a post-Civil Rights era.


    “To an outsider, it would appear that the city of Montreal is an inhospitable environment for sports not invented in Canada – in other words, for any sport that isn’t hockey.” The ascension of the Montreal Impact to MLS is supposed to change that. Elizabeth Cotignola looks at how the Impact’s marketing is tapping into a rich vein of uniquely Québecois nationalism, following in the footsteps of its greatest cultural institution: the Montreal Canadiens.


    “Many have argued that soccer remained a marginal sport in the United States for so long because of the reluctance of its leading officials to Americanize the sport.” Soccer was long seen as an ethnic game. The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) set out to change that in the 1960s. David Keyes throws light on the origins of the AYSO in Los Angeles and the consequences of this for the sport ever since.


    “Old-timers recall card games in the basement of Adria’s clubhouse with Eusébio that would often run through the night before gameday, but he still had enough magic in his feet once he stepped on the field to immediately quell any doubts as to whether he really was the Eusébio.” On Chicago’s southwest side, amateur team RWB Adria’s clubhouse still stands. A photo-essay by Marty Groark tells their story, including the unlikely appearance of the legendary Eusébio.


    “His skills would offend the opposition, often leaving them feeling foolish and flailing victims of Gil’s fancy footwork,” Scott-Heron recalled.” Steve Welsh illustrates a father-and-son style, with Gil Jnr – the radical poet – and the father he was long estranged from, the first black player to appear for Glasgow Celtic’s first team, Gil Heron Snr.


    “Lately it’s not just men showing up on Sundays strapping on cleats. This early morning it’s Latinas in adidas, dark ponytails dressed in bright uniforms, who step out of the vehicles and begin to warm up on the field.” In Siler City, North Carolina, soccer and immigration are paired together in a way many would not expect. Paul Caudros explains how young futboleras in North Carolina are finding a place on the field and challenging gender norms in the process.


    “Staying in shape is difficult and requires a lot of sacrifice and hard work,” Garza said. “I run, go to the gym and train with a boys’ team of 16 to 19 year olds, which forces me to improve my speed, strength and technical ability.” Jeff Kassouf looks at the strong connections between the women’s game in Mexico in the United States. While Mexican-born players like Dinorah Garza have sought success playing in the United States, Mexican-Americans are suiting up for the national team south of the border.


    “In the 1920s, Stark was practically unstoppable. Most notably in the 1924-5 American Soccer League season, he scored a remarkable – nay, a ridiculous – 67 goals in the league and three more in the ASL Cup, for a total of 70 goals in 46 appearances.” XI looks at the remarkable career of Archie Stark in photos and numbers.

    Elizabeth Cotignola was born and raised the child of Italian expatriates in Montréal, Canada – which makes English her third language after Italian and French. She earned a degree in political science and international development at McGill University before attending law school in Chicago, where she is now an attorney. A former defender herself and lifelong devotee of the Church of Maldini, she loves Milan and her beloved Azzurri with a zeal most reserve for their significant others. Her writing has appeared on A Football Report.
    Paul Cuadros is an award-winning investigative reporter and author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, and other national and local publications. Caudros’s 2007 book A Home on the Field, How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America(Harpers Collins) tells the story of Siler City, North Carolina as it copes and struggles with Latino immigration through the lives of a predominantly Latino high school soccer team. Cuadros is currently an assistant professor at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is working on another book about the Latino community in the American South.
    Tom Dunmore is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Soccer and edited The Very Best of Pitch Invasion, a collection of 39 essays by soccer writers around the world. Tom runs the soccer website Pitch Invasion and is the former Chairman of Section 8 Chicago, the Chicago Fire’s Independent Supporters’ Association. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is an editor of XI.
    Marty Groark is an XI staff photographer based in Chicago. A native of the Windy City, he has, for the past three years, also served as the official photographer for  Section 8 Chicago. A soccer aficionado from his days growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Marty is excited to combine share his passion for photography with XI readers.
    Andrew Guest is an academic social scientist and soccer devotee living in Portland Oregon. With experiences playing, coaching, researching, and writing about the game in settings ranging from rural Malawi to urban Michigan, he is particularly interested in sport based youth and community development.
    Jeff Kassouf is the managing editor of, a website focused on women’s soccer that he founded in 2009 and which now boasts over a dozen contributors across North America, and a web producer at Jeff has previously written for, espnW and
    David Keyes is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on the growth of youth soccer in the United States and relations between immigrant and non-immigrant communities as seen through the sport. He was previously the editor of the website Culture of Soccer and is currently an editor of XI.
    Rachel Anne Jones is an illustrator in San Jose, California. Her work has ranged from murals in a laser tag arena to small graphic design for clients. She often uses a mixed media approach, combining traditional pen and paints with digital techniques, though her favorite type of art is pen and ink drawings. Her online portfolio can be found at
    Michael Orr is a freelance soccer writer based in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of The 1975 Portland Timbers: The Birth of Soccer City, USA and articles in various print and online publications.
    Leander Schaerlaeckens lives in New York and has written about soccer for such publications as ESPN The Magazine,, the Guardian and World Soccer. He has a one-sided love-hate relationship with Johan Cruyff.
    Pieter van Os is a political correspondent for the Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad. He lived for two years in Washington DC, where he realized that the ghost of Johan Cruyff is still alive, especially in suburban Bethesda. It was there that van Os met Cruyff’s children’s former babysitter, a chance encounter that inspired him to research the Dutch master’s time in the United States, a project that resulted in the publication of his 2007 book Johan Cruyff De Amerikaanse jaren.
    Steve Welsh is an artist originally from Middlesbrough, where he got his first taste of being “published” during the inky-fingered fanzine movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s when he produced cartoons and graphics. His current site, Miniboro, is dedicated to his hometown team but also to the beautiful game in general. Welsh’s work has been showcased by the likes of Four Four Two magazine and FHM. He is a current nominee for the FSF Writers Awards (Football Website of the Year) and will also have a piece on display at the newly opened National Football Museum in Manchester.