Mayele Malango: Fluent in the International Language

By Sebastian Johnson Photo by Jon DeBoer Duke history professor Laurent Dubois stated, in his book The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer, that soccer is “...a language, probably the most universal on the planet.” This is a fact well known to New Amsterdam FC starting wing Mayele Malango. His journey has taken him thousands of miles - from the rainforests of equatorial Africa, all the way to the east ...

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Family, Community, Soccer

by Sebastian Johnson It’s hard to imagine the work that goes into running a professional sports team. It’s a tall task to be sure - one that could leave even the most die-hard of fans feeling that they bit off more than they could chew. Suffice it to say, running a sports team is not a job for the faint of heart, and few know that better than Bronwyn Capriotti. Capriotti was ...

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Photo Credit: Dan Bartel/ Chicago House AC

Sociology, Criminology, Soccer

by Sebastian Johnson | Photo Credit: Dan Bartel / Chicago House AC Chicago House forward AR Smith remembers the shock he felt the first few weeks attending Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind.. “I went to Butler, which is a PWI,” he says. “That is, a ‘primarily white institution.’ I was one of a handful of black people even attending the school, to begin with...I was often the only black student in many ...

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We Are NISA Nation: An Interview with Pioneer Premier League Commissioner Desmond Armstrong

By Alexa Doebler Last week, the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) proudly announced an amateur league affiliation with the new Tennessee-based Pioneer Premier League (PPL). The Pioneer Premier League is owned and led by Desmond Armstrong and his business partner. Desmond himself is a pioneer in the American game as the first Black player born in the United States to start for the USA at a FIFA World Cup (Italia '90), ...

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Kevin Gonzalez Is The Perfect Man For The Job

By Sebastian Johnson It takes a special type of person to be a goalkeeper. A goalkeeper isn’t just another element of a team’s defense - far from it, in fact. The goalkeeper is the final defensive measure a team has, tasked with possibly the most crucial job on the pitch. Professional soccer players can send a ball towards the goal at speeds up to 80 miles per hour. It takes a unique ...

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For Shinya Kadono, No Distance Is Too Far To Close Through Understanding

By Sebastian Johnson The distance from Kobe, Japan, to Irvine, Calif., is 9,262 kilometers. In imperial units that’s just over 5,755 miles - a measure so great as to be nearly abstract. The average person can hardly visualize 10 miles; 5,755 miles is close to being rendered without meaning in its expanse. That is, unless you’re Shinya Kadono. Despite moving nearly 6,000 miles at age seven, the understanding he was met with ...

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Experience Shapes Actions for Shaun Russell

By Sebastian Johnson Shaun Russell didn’t realize the athlete he was becoming until he was 14 years old. “I realized I was good when I got my first college letter,” he says. It wasn’t much longer after that he got his first college call - a moment that cemented into his mind the fact that he just might be an above average soccer player. Even though Russell doesn’t remember the school that sent ...

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Interview with Babajide Saba: President of the Maryland Bobcats Football Club

By Sebastian Johnson Babajide Saba is the president of the Maryland Bobcats Football Club. He also is a member of a growing number of front office executives who have taken non-traditional paths. He is a man forged by his experiences; a man who has grown to allow his unique past to inform not just his own future, but the futures of every life he has the power to affect. It’s easy to ...

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Level Up: An Independent Cup Amateur Club Spotlight Series

Space United FC By Alexa Doebler Next up in our series is Space United FC Founder and CEO, Camilo Tobacia. Tobacia's own story is so deeply intertwined with the development and identity of the club that to know about Space United FC, you really need to start with Tobacia's story. "Soccer runs deep. All the way back. Since I could walk, really. I was born in South America in Bogota, Colombia and I ...

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Level Up: An Independent Cup Amateur Club Spotlight Series

Allentown United FC By Alexa Doebler This week, we dive into Allentown United FC as we hear from Founder and President of the Club Emmanuel Ntow-Mensah. Ntow-Mensah tells us of the origins of Allentown United FC, or as it is often referred to, ‘The People’s Club’. Ntow-Mensah moved to Pennsylvania for a wealth management operations job and noticed the soccer scene in the area felt lacking.  As a former college player, while finance ...

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