Fresno State’s Valley Public History Initiative will officially launch “The Other Football: Tracing the Game’s Roots and Routes in the San Joaquin Valley” from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Social Sciences quad.
As the World Cup approaches and Fresno welcomes its first professional soccer team, the Valley Public History Initiative project seeks to document and construct a history of amateur, collegiate, and professional soccer in the valley.
Since the beginning of the spring semester, faculty and graduate and undergraduate students have been conducting local research, scanning photographs, and interviewing former and current players.
“We want to learn about the efforts by migrant people in places like Visalia and Madera to found adult leagues, the rise of the game in white suburbs, and the inclusion of this sport on high schools and junior college campuses,” said Dr. Romeo Guzmán, a Fresno State history professor and founder of the initiative. “A history of the sport can tell us as much about the game as it can about the migrant experience. Whether in the 1940s Chicago or today’s Sunday Leagues, the game was/is vital to migrants’ arrival, settlement and adaptation.”
Fresno Football Club, Fresno’s American professional soccer team, will be at the launch and will give away tickets to their games. There will also be a juggling contest and a raffle for several different items including Kennel Bookstore gift cards and soccer merchandise.
Dr. Guzmán hopes that by following the game’s roots and routes, they will be able to tell a unique and global history of the San Joaquin Valley: to connect its fields and teams to towns in far-off places like England, Iraq, post-Soviet state, Mexico and Central America.
The launch is part of the Valley Public History Initiative: Preserving Our Stories, a project of Fresno State’s history department and the College of Social Sciences. All oral histories and photographs collected during this project will be housed online at the Henry Madden Library.
For more information contact Dr. Romeo Guzmán at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559.278.6622.