Apr 20, 2020
Film producers Tom McCabe and Kirk Rudell (“Soccertown USA”) join the podcast this week to discuss their newly released documentary about the modest working-class New Jersey town with an outsized influence on the history of the sport of soccer in the United States.
In the mid-1980s, as the domestic pro game began to fade with the demise of the once-hot North American Soccer League, and FIFA’s passing over of the US as potential replacement host for the 1986 World Cup – it was three kids from largely-unheralded Kearny, NJ who helped save it.
Native sons Tab Ramos, John Harkes, and Tony Meola – who formed the backbone of a Men’s National Team that willed its way to breakthrough success in both the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, and laid the groundwork for the pro game’s rebirth in 1996 with the launch of Major League Soccer – were products of a uniquely rich soccer-passionate culture dating back to the town’s Scottish immigrant influx in the 1870s.
Kearny’s storied heritage as a fertile American soccer hotbed – spirited factory-sponsored leagues, ASL cup-winning “pro” teams, strong youth programs, a vibrant street-soccer scene, and even local heroes in the 1970s NASL (including a member of the mighty New York Cosmos virtually next door) – not only nurtured these three pioneers of the game, but also continue to help inspire future generations to play and support the “beautiful game.”