The People's Game


The People’s Game coverage of the Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada comes to an end, as the People’s Game team – Karen Anzoategui, Bobby Gordon, Alan Minsky & Meleiza Figueroa – open the show with a review of one of the most epic weeks of global soccer in recent memory. Then, we’ll be joined by Laurent Dubois and Shireen Ahmed, two of the brilliant writers and social critics behind the extraordinary blog series “Upfront/Onside” for Sports Illustrated; and finally, Karen and Bobby share their amazing work at the intersection of soccer & art to close out the 2015 edition of The People’s Game.


We’ve got a fever…and the only cure is more World Cup action!! Listen in as Kpfk​’s Alan Minsky, Bobby Gordon​, and Meleiza Figueroa​ recap a thrilling first week of the Women’s World Cup 2015’s group stages: Brazil and Japan advance, Colombia shoots to the top of Group F with a stunning upset over France, while the USA continues to battle it out in the Group of Death. Bobby speaks to Kelly Pfleider, who’s currently in Canada to catch the action live; and Karen Anzoategui​ is joined by two brilliant poets, Gloria Alvarez and Jessica Ceballos, to celebrate the life and work of the quintessential political soccer poet, Eduardo Galeano.


The People’s Game is BACK for 2015 – covering the Women’s World Cup kicking off today in Canada! Join our co-hosts Karen Anzoategui and Bobby Gordon as they follow the action on and off the field. At a time when FIFA corruption and the politics of global football are making world headlines, we also want to honor the extraordinary women athletes from around the world who are taking the field this month to celebrate the global women’s game.

To kick off the series, Karen and Bobby are joined by People’s Game 2014 co-hosts Alan Minsky and Meleiza Figueroa for a preview of the tournament; UNC college soccer star and Liverpool defender Satara Murray discusses the women’s game in the US and UK; Dania Cabello, Bay Area-based left-wing futbolista and former player for Brazilian club Santos, speaks on futbol, women’s empowerment and community; and Holly O’Donnell, Executive Director of America Scores, tells us about this amazing national school program that brings together the arts of soccer and poetry.


It’s already been quite an eventful week for FIFA – but watch out, because The People’s Game is coming back to the airwaves!

What will be the ‘state of play’ when the 2015 Women’s World Cup opens in Edmonton, Canada? Join co-hosts Karen Anzoategui and Bobby Gordon on KPFK/Paciica Radio as we kick off the 2015 edition of The People’s Game on opening day.

Tune in for our first show @ 10am on Saturday, June 6 2015 – on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara, 93.7 FM in San Diego, or worldwide right here on the web at /!

You can also follow The People’s Game coverage on Facebook and Twitter! Click the “Like” or “Follow” buttons on the left column of this website for live updates, game commentaries, and more!



As the World Cup 2014 knockout rounds progressed, the bombs began to fall in Gaza. The latest Israeli campaign against the Palestinians has, as of this writing, devastated homes, schools, hospitals, and has killed over 800 Palestinians – including four boys playing soccer on the beach.

Football holds a special significance for the Palestinian people. In an embattled and occupied land with devastated infrastructure, football is a vitally important outlet for youth; as one young footballer put it, “the only hobby Palestinians have left is football.” Like the Algerian team in the 1960s, the Palestinian national team – which is ranked 74th in FIFA standings (its highest ever) and has just qualified for the Asia Cup – is an important representative for Palestinian national identity, humanity, and dignity within the international community; a powerful way of showing the world that the Palestinian people survive and continue to struggle for freedom.

Perhaps because of this, Israeli forces have especially targeted Palestinian football – kidnapping, imprisoning, killing, and severely injuring players (in two cases, shooting them in the legs), imposing travel restrictions on the national team, and bombing the Palestinian national stadium in 2006 and 2012. Just two weeks ago, nine Palestinian civilians were killed as an Israeli missile targeted a beach where football fans were gathered to watch the World Cup. Since 2010, several international organizations have been documenting the attempts on the part of Israel to destroy Palestinian sport, and have brought grievances to FIFA and UEFA (the European football confederation, of which Israel is a member).

Mahmoud Sarsak, a player for Palestine’s national team who went on hunger strike while imprisoned in Israel, said that “Israel works endlessly to repress Palestinian football, just like it does many other forms of Palestinian culture…There can be no place in football for segregation and oppression.” Sarsak, like many Palestinian footballers, citizens and their allies, continue to speak out against Israeli occupation and oppression, and stand up for the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people.

Solidarity with the people of Gaza! Free Palestine!


On the final podcast of The People’s Game 2014, Alan and Meleiza share their final reflections on the World Cup as a social text, its political implications, and of course, our favorite soccer memories across the 64 games played on the field. We also feature a final conversation between Margaret Prescod and Coach Mickey; and Alan & Meleiza’s guest appearance on the Pocho Hour of Power radio show.


On today’s show, two of the foremost academics who study the significance of global football join Alan and Meleiza. Laurent Dubois reflects on the dynamically surprising 2014 World Cup, and shares his experiences as an active member of the futbol Twittersphere. Robert Edelman, one of the world’s preeminent sports historians and a Russia scholar, looks back on this year’s tournament and forward to the meeting of the kleptocrats – Blatter’s FIFA and Putin’s Russia – in 2018.


In our final national broadcast episode, we ponder our collective experience of this extraordinary tournament. German partisan Elaine Teng and Argentine fan Karen Anzoategui reflect on Sunday’s final; plus three of the leading radical English-language commentators on global football – Andrei Markovits, Robert Edelman, and Laurent Dubois – offer their insights on this year’s World Cup.


It’s Tuesday after the final, and the World Cup withdrawal coma is starting to set in. But if we can’t have more futbol, then we’ll just keep talking about futbol. Alan and Meleiza reflect on why the World Cup is such a monumental planetary event, and the stuff of so many dreams. KPFK’s Margaret Prescod speaks to Jules Boykoff, whose recent article in the Guardian talks about why and how FIFA must be reformed now. Finally, we feature a conversation from the morning of the World Cup final between Dave Zirin and Eaton Thomas on WPFW’s The Collision.



In 2018, the World Cup’s next stop is in Russia, a country with a great radical tradition, but one with layers of contradictions – many of them embodied by the Spartak Moscow football club.

As historian Robert Edelman writes: “Spartak Moscow emerged from the rough proletarian Presnia district of Moscow and spent much of its history in fierce rivalry with Dinamo, the team of the secret police. To cheer for Spartak was a small and safe way of saying “no” to the fears and absurdities of high Stalinism; to understand Spartak is to understand how soccer explains Soviet life.”

This photo depicts Spartak players in a scrimmage in Red Square in 1936, a few years before its stars were purged by the KGB.

Today, sadly, Spartak’s ‘ultra’ fan groups are associated with far-right nationalist and xenophobic political strands, straying far from the club’s roots in Red Presnia and the 1905 Revolution.

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