The intersection of soccer and archives

As some of you may be aware, I am a bit of a soccer nut. I’m a fan of DC United and the Men’s and Women’s United States National Teams. Last summer, I created a new twitter account for my soccer ramblings, just so that all my archivist friends wouldn’t have to listen if they didn’t want to. However, the worlds of archives have been intersecting recently.

The first intersection of soccer and archives is the fact that Vancouver Whitecaps FC, a team in Major League Soccer, has hired an archivist for the rest of the season. There was a post about it on a Canadian archives listserv, but I am unable to find a link to the actual job posting. I emailed the Whitecaps to see if they would send me the posting, but no word on that yet. I would be interested to see what kind of records they are looking to preserve; memorabilia and paperwork from the club itself, of course, but are they going after more? There is a world of digital content, blogs, tweets, flickr pictures, and supporters clubs items that they could also try to get.

The second intersection is one that we are all used to: an interest old document being put up for auction and sold for a ridiculous sum of money. In this case, the oldest soccer team in the world, Sheffield FC, has sold the oldest handwritten copy of the rules of soccer for the tidy sum of $1.42 million. That document, as well as others, were sold to raise money for the club, which currently plays on the seventh level of English soccer. This amount of money is a gamechanger for a team on this level, three rungs below fully professional leagues, and could allow the the ability to pay good enough players for them to jump up into more prestigious, and more lucrative, leagues. However, there is always a twinge in my heart when a collection is broken up and sold into private hands. Hopefully someday these materials will be back in the public’s custody, or perhaps the new owner will allow it to be digitized and made available that way.

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