Few cities in the United States can compete with the rich soccer history of New York City. With over two dozen U.S. Open Cup winning teams coming from the five boroughs, NYC laid its claim to the title of America’s “Soccer City” early on. Over time the title eventually began to slip away with soccer being less and less popular in New York, and across the United States as a whole. The NFL, NBA and NHL started drawing attention away from soccer in New York City to the point where between the collapse of the New York Cosmos in the early 1980’s and the creation of New York City FC in 2013 there was a lack of top-tier soccer in New York City which still reverberates today.
For children who only ever saw brief glimpses of professional soccer on television, or followed teams their immigrant parents supported in their old countries, there isn’t a distinct New York City soccer culture. While many advocates of the game lament over the fact that soccer hasn’t established itself as a “major” sport in the United States, the lack of a distinct soccer following allows for vastly different experiences from one part of the city to another. The soccer identity of the city, is much like the rest of the city, a mix of different ethnic groups from different culture who speak multiple languages but share a love for the same sport.
In this series we’ll be speaking to people with unique perspectives who have played the game, follow the game, or are growing the game in New York City in their own unique way.
Christian Fuchs is one of the more recent proselytizers for the beautiful game in New York City. Unlike most local coaches, Mr. Fuchs isn’t your typical weekend warrior who packs orange slices for the team he coaches. Born in Neunkirchen, Austria, Fuchs is the starting left-back for both English Premier League team Leicester City FC and the Austrian national team. Fuchs has won the DFL-Supercup in 2011 with FC Schalke 04 and the Premier League with Leicester City in 2015-2016, he has played in over 500 games in his professional career. In addition to his duties for his club and country teams, he’s the founder of the Fox Soccer Academy, a play on his last name: Fuchs, which is the German word for “fox”. His academy holds training camps in Austria, the UK and the United States. He agreed to talk to us about his attempts to grow the game via his academy in New York.