- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Revisiting the Cup
Question of the Day
At the World Cup with the Footballers, Fans and Freaks” (Harcourt Books), and local writer Tony Limarzi, for his slim volume “Forza Italia: The Italian Triumph in the 2006 World Cup” (Publish America).
Trecker’s colorful title warns readers that this is no ordinary book on soccer. It borders on the sensational but is an indulgent read. From his Munich apartment, Trecker saw the seamy and outrageous side of soccer’s biggest party. I, too, spent 36 days in Germany - granted mostly on trains as I commuted each day to games from a leafy suburb in Hannover - and at times reading this book I wondered whether we were at the same event. Did I miss all the fun?
Drama surrounds Trecker at every turn. Just getting to Germany was a challenge. His neighbor turned out to be a gun-runner, so the FBI was suspicious of Trecker’s trips to El Salvador and Guatemala for World Cup qualifying games leading up to the finals. Somehow Trecker got his media credential as a Swiss national. FIFA, soccer’s governing body, is based in Zurich, and so he says he was “at the top of the pecking order” in terms of getting tickets into the games he covered for Fox Sports and his “14 million” readers.
Trecker’s tournament began in chaos after customs official seized his epilepsy medication. (He was later seriously ill, which delayed the publication his book.)
In Nuremberg before the U.S.-Ghana game, he got into a scuffle after someone “decked” his wife, “in the shadow” of Hitler’s “rally grounds”.
He’s on solid ground explaining the sensitive European press after forward Eddie Johnson used the word “war” before a game. And there are juicy nuggets. Did you know that combustible American midfielder Clint Dempsey, who once punched out a teammate, wanted to become a priest?
His long explanation of soccer’s tricky offside rule — “like the infield fly rule in baseball” — is one of the best written. And his characterization of former D.C. United and American team coach Bruce Arena is brutal.
“Arena is a strange man,” Trecker writes. “… he has a disquieting habit of emotionally and verbally abusing people he finds mentally inferior to him.” And, “… he was honest, straightforward, and almost charming in a one-on-one situation. But when the klieg lights were on him, he could be insufferable, even cruel.”
Trecker relates America’s estrangement with soccer to the nation’s lack of empathy for losers.
“The rest of the world remembers great soccer losses and broods upon them,” he writes. “Soccer — with its maniacal crowds, mad tension, and stifling importance of a single, two-hour stretch of time — is often not fun.”
For Limarzi, soccer is a burning romance. The author is the radio play-by-play announcer for D.C. United, and his book reads like a homage to his two loves: his family and the Azzurri — Italy’s soccer team.
“This was our fourth World Cup together,” he writes about his wife.
Limarzi didn’t attend the World Cup — he was called on to do United’s TV coverage — but from afar, he followed Italy’s journey to win its fourth title.
Though American-born, Limarzi throws his allegiance to Italy, which is drawn in the “Group of Death” with the U.S. team.
“I knew Italian soccer before there was an American team,” he writes. But it’s tough. He and his father once coached American midfielder Oguchi Onyewu of Olney, and he admires United’s Ben Olsen, also on the U.S. team.
“There I was … pulling for Italy but fully supporting Ben Olsen and Oguchi Onyewu. My paradox was complete and it seemed like a lose-lose situation.”
But Italy went on to win it all, and so writes Limarzi, “No matter what happens over the course of the next 20 World Cups, I will always have Germany 2006.”
About the Author
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- In court filing, NCAA denies legal duty to protect athletes
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
In a world that is increasingly complex, we need to seek greater awareness of the blending of cultures and America's changing role in a global community.
Find up-to-date information on the D.C. and Baltimore live music scenes and read interviews with artists and reviews of the latest releases and concerts.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow