Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 2, 2012.


A North American soccer quarterly

BIG NEWS: you did it! Thanks to 250+ backers, XI has hit its funding goal - here's what the money will be spent on. So why should you still support the project, if you haven't already? Because it'll increase XI's resources to tell the story of North American soccer and help secure the publication's long-term future (plus, you'll get the neat rewards listed to the right). Please do pledge if you can, and keep on spreading the word. And if XI reaches $15,000, it'll be an ad-free first year for the quarterly.

XI ("eleven")

A North American Soccer Quarterly

“Soccer is the athletic equivalent of stream-of-consciousness writing, and its greatest artists practically scribbled Finnegans Wake in the sod with their cleats.” (Reed Johnson)

XI is a new quarterly publication about soccer from a North American perspective. It will explore a single aspect of the culture of soccer in eleven eclectic and thoughtful ways in each issue. Long-form journalism, essays, interviews, fiction, poetry, translations, diaries, photography, graphic arts and other forms will help tell the unique story of soccer in North America.

As soccer continues to evolve in North America, XI aims to discuss in-depth the game’s diversity and cultural reach through issues themed to topics such as immigration, women’s soccer, playing space, supporter culture, business and media.

XI grows out of the Internet-assisted soccer boom of the past two decades. The explosion of niche websites devoted to soccer of all kinds shows that mainstream media has not been able to keep up with the appetite for intelligent discussion among the game’s broad range of followers in the US, Canada and Mexico.

North American soccer is unlike soccer anywhere else. XI wants to tell this story by moving beyond short blog posts, through giving the time and space for insightful, original writing by people who see soccer not just as a sport but as part of society.

Dauer Packers, 1931. Credit: Collection of Les Jones - Covershots Inc.,

Why XI?

“Eleven is the most famous number in modern sports.” (Erik Eggers)

In soccer that each team has 11 players is universal truth, as natural as a pair of eyeglasses having two lenses or a car four wheels. The number 11 expresses soccer’s essence as collaboration; around the world, supporters refer to their national teams or favorite club sides as “The Eleven.”

Each issue of XI will be a collaboration. One editor will select his or her ideal “side,” including eleven samplings on the topic. Like the team huddled for the ritual pre-match photograph, each issue features eleven elements, working in concert to speak to a theme unique to soccer in North America.

Issue One: “Coming to America”

“It takes a leaven of good Scotch, English, and Scandinavian players to make soccer a success. It looks tame to boys after American football and baseball.” (The New York Times, May 23, 1915)

For most of its history in the US and Canada, organizers and followers have argued over what the sport should be called. Is it soccer or football? Or is it soccer football? Or, is it fútbol?

The questions focus on the still-lingering concept of North American soccer as import. It is appropriate that the first issue of XI, to be published summer 2012, focuses on soccer and immigration. The notion of soccer as an “immigrant game” has defined its development in North America.

For some the fact that soccer has origins in non-American soil is a permanent taint.

The eternal question “Why isn’t soccer as popular in North America as it is everywhere else?” is often answered with reference, subtly or directly, to soccer’s connections with immigrants.

For the editors of XI the strong links between immigration and North American soccer make the sport even more compelling. Issue one of XI explores the history of soccer as a “foreign” game and also samples North American soccer’s extraordinary diversity. Deep connections in unseen or ignored communities have lent soccer vitality and staying power.

Future issues of XI

In 2012 and into 2013 XI plans issues on fan culture in North America, on women’s soccer, on the business of North American soccer and on North American soccer’s relationship to Latin America.


Sure, you're not backing this project for the rewards. You're doing it to help found a new North American soccer journal, and the biggest reward will be enjoying every issue. But you still deserve to be rewarded for your support, so check out the different gifts available at each level. Please note, each level includes all the items above it at lower levels - so for example, your $100 year-long print subscription would come bundled with an XI shirt ($75 level), an XI poster ($50 level), XI pins & buttons ($15 level), a digital edition of the first issue ($5 level) and your name listed as a backer in issue #1 ($2 level).

XI Team Bios

“Soccer has slowly revealed to me who I am: a child who loves to play and an adult who loves to feel that child within himself.” (Philippe Dubath)

Our team includes three accomplished writers (Tom Dunmore, John Turnbull, and David Keyes) to provide editorial direction and an experienced creative (Joseph Liam Murtaugh) as art director. We are all veteran writers who have maintained successful soccer websites over the years, exploring unique aspects of the global game with a visual appeal that will bring the stories of North American soccer to life.

Tom Dunmore is the author of a Historical Dictionary of Soccer and edited the Very Best of Pitch Invasion, a collection of 39 essays by soccer writers around the world. Tom runs the soccer website Pitch Invasion and is the former Chairman of Section 8 Chicago, the Chicago Fire’s Independent Supporters’ Association. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

David Keyes is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on the growth of youth soccer in the United States and relations between immigrant and non-immigrant communities as seen through the sport. He was previously the editor of the website Culture of Soccer.

John Turnbull founded The Global Game, a website of world soccer culture, in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has written on soccer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New York TimesSoccer and Society, When Saturday Comes and World Literature Today.

Joseph Liam Murtaugh is based in London. Originally from Chicago, he is the principal designer at NO GRAND, a creative agency. First working in the United States, he has since conducted projects in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Iceland, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

Stay up to date on goings-on at XI

We've got all sorts of ways for you to stay up to date on what we're doing at XI. Check out our website, tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And let us know what you think:

Note for those outside of North America

In order to defray the cost of shipping rewards to you, we ask that you please add $5 to your pledge. Thanks!


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    Pin or stick your love of good soccer writing: an XI sticker/button pack will be yours

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    A year of unique soccer writing: a four issue print subscription to XI, delivered to you one week before general release

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    Show your support for life: receive an embroidered scarf with the XI logo and enjoy a lifetime digital subscription

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    The personal touch: a first edition of XI signed by every issue #1 contributor

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    This one's special: a print of your personal XI as part of a specially designed cover for issue #1

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Funding period

- (30 days)