Global Soccer, "Pelada" to World Cup

On the eve of the World Cup, we take a world tour—ground level, back lot, of how soccer is played around the world.

South Africa's Steven Pienaar, center, controls the ball during a training session, ahead of their opening World Cup match against Mexico on Friday, in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 9, 2010. (AP)

World Cup soccer fever is roaring now, with Game One opening up tomorrow in South Africa. 

From Soweto to Cairo to Rio to Madrid and far beyond, soccer fans are on fire. Dreaming of their teams, the fields, the glory.  Acting out their own high-stakes competitions in pick-up games on back-lots and beaches. 

A crew of young American soccer players has scoured the world, video camera in hand, for that face of soccer — on mountainsides, in prison yards, favelas and school lots. Chasing the game.  

This Hour, On Point: we’re deep in the world game, pick-up-style, all over the world. Plus, The New Yorker‘s Hampton Sides on the extraordinary U.S. goalkeeper, Tim Howard.


Grant Wahl, senior writer for Sports Illustrated. He’s author of “The Beckham Experiment: How the World’s Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America.”

Gwendolyn Oxenham, one of the filmmakers of the documentary “Pelada,” which explores the game of soccer in countries around the globe. She is a former captain of the Duke University soccer team.

Luke Boughen, one of the filmmakers of “Pelada.” He played soccer at Notre Dame.

Rebekah Fergusson, one of the filmmakers of “Pelada.” She was also a captain for Duke’s soccer team.

Hampton Sides, contributor to The New Yorker. His new article is “National Defense: Can the United States’ goalkeeper produce another Miracle on Grass?” (subscription required).


Here’s the trailer from the documentary “Pelada,” featured in today’s show:

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