The course was originally called “World Soccer,” but the name was changed due to issues that may arise with the transcript during the college application process. So, it was renamed to World History & Culture: Contest, with the main focus still being on the people’s game, soccer, also called football in the vast majority of the world.
Jeffrey Richey, who began his teaching career at Concord Academy this fall in the history department, teaches 2 sections of World soccer and a section of sophomore history. After speaking with Jeff, I learned that he recommended the course to CA. The faculty and administration enthusiastically endorsed it since they thought it may be well-liked by some football fans in our CA community. Jeff’s main goal is to utilize soccer to investigate the relationships between trends in global history and culture.
Jeff claimed that the course deals not only with soccer, but also its connections to a larger history, as soccer is the only sport that almost connects to everything. Jeff said that he would want students to come out of the course learning about imperialism and how it connects to the game. The course also focuses on the larger issues surrounding the game such as, racism, gender identity, economy, etc. His goal is to use soccer to educate people about global issues that have historically been in the news.
A very interesting part of the weekly learning within the course is “Footie Bits”, where students are placed into groups of three to four. They get to pick a historical topic related to the game and make a presentation and present it to the class. It cannot be a game analysis; it is more of a scholarly, social, or cultural issue related to the sport. Some of the examples are the British attitudes toward Richarlison getting tackled for showboating against Nottingham Forest this season, or the deeper historical and social meanings behind Zindane’s famous 2006 headbutt in the World Cup final. This project leads students to examine the social impact of the game and tie it into politics and social understandings.
At the end of the interview, Jeff gave a thought on the possible World Champions in Qatar. He believes the trophy has been in Europe for far too long, 13 years in total, with four different European countries lifting the trophy. With Italy in ’06, Spain in ’10, Germany in ’14, and France in ’18, So, he thinks this is the year for one of the South American powerhouses, Brazil, or Argentina, to lift the cup.