I suppose all of this started as curiosity.

I’ve always had a surplus of that, and it’s taken me a lot of places. Like a train ride through Siberia, for one, and a summer spent in Myanmar, for another.

As I lived abroad and traveled further, football became an interesting lens to consider the world with. And so I fell deep inside.

From Thailand to Honduras to South Africa, I’ve attended games and talked to people. I’ve stood in pubs and sat with supporters and watched from the press box.

Along the way, it became clear to me: this little old ball tells unique stories.

It tells stories that capture how we are similar. It describes with clarity our difference. On a global scale, it’s political, inextricable from the places each team plays in. It reveals the underbelly. It scratches beneath. Every match has newsprint for where a community is in that moment.

Also, it’s fun, and romantic. Hitch-hiking here, sleeping on couches there, showing up unannounced, meeting people, asking questions.

You can join me for the journey by subscribing here, free or paid.

Ostensibly, this newsletter is about soccer. I’ll certainly be writing about it. But I’ll be scratching at all the rest of it— the people, the places, the things otherwise difficult to say.

I believe no other sport (and few things beyond it) captures the essence of my unique, expansive nation. No other sport captures how that nation relates to all the rest of them.

As Anthony Bourdain once said about food, sometimes you just need to have a meal with somebody to discover what their whole world is like. I feel the same way about football.

By subscribing, you’ll support my work, and receive unique on the ground insight into the global game. Interviews, musings, explorations, match-recaps and podcasts all included.

Thanks for joining me, if you do.



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Ostensibly this is about soccer. US soccer, world football, the journey in between.


Megan Swanick 

I write about US soccer at all levels. Contributing to Bleacher Report, The Guardian, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Frequently on- and musing about- the road.