When Will the U.S. Win the World Cup? A Story of Globalization and Knowledge Networks

January 12, 2010

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Simon Kuper

Globalization has created a new global map for the game of soccer, and winning is now more about brains than brawn alone. Kuper asserts in his new book, Soccernomics, that the balance of power in this global game is about to shift owing to changes in three areas shaping globalization: population, wealth, and experience.

Kuper believes that, until recently, Western Europe has dominated the game of soccer because the region has had the mostly tightly-knit knowledge networks on earth. However, due to globalization, Western Europe is now exporting this knowledge such that new countries such as Russia and South Korea have access to these knowledge networks and are consequently getting better at the game. This unprecedented access to knowledge networks means that countries like the United States, China, and even India have the potential to be among the sport's elite. How does knowledge spread throughout the world? And when will the U.S. win the World Cup? 

Simon Kuper is an author and sports columnist for the Financial Times, where he writes a weekly sports column. Kuper is one of the world's leading writers on soccer, having written for publications all over the world, including The Times, the Observer, The New York Times, and the Dutch daily De Pers. He has also written for the literary football magazine Hard Gras, and Vrij Nederland. His first book, Soccer Against the Enemy, won the William Hill Prize for sports book of the year in Britain. His second book, Ajax, The Dutch, The War: Football in Europe During the Second World War, was shortlisted for the William Hill Prize and has been translated into six languages. Kuper studied history and German at Oxford University, and attended Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar. He currently resides in Paris. His latest book, Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany And Brazil Win, And Why The U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey” And Even Iraq” Are Destined To Become The Kings Of The World's Most Popular Sport, will be available for purchase and signing following the program.

 

Recorded Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at Fado Irish Pub and Restaurant.