Free to Read: I Leave For Qatar in a Few Days. Here's What's Coming.
This World Cup is almost here. You're going to be hearing from me a lot.
I’m leaving for my 13th World Cup on Sunday (eight men’s, five women’s), and it’s not overstating things to say that I measure my life in four-year terms around these tournaments. But this is my first World Cup with my own writing site, and I’m fired up to let you know how I’m planning to cover the tournament on the ground for you, with a big emphasis on community as well.
Before I go any further, if you’re not a paid subscriber (or you are and want to give a gift subscription to someone for the World Cup), today is your last chance to take advantage of a one-time deal by locking the current price of $4.17/month on an annual subscription. Tomorrow the annual price rises to $59.99/year ($5/month). I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support for independent journalism.
How will this week look at GrantWahl.com? Well, today we’ve already published the latest episode of the Fútbol with Grant Wahl podcast, which is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you like to go for your pods. Co-host Chris Wittyngham and I talk about the USMNT World Cup roster release, which I’ll be covering here in New York City on Wednesday, and go over what would constitute a “surprise” to us on the roster.
The FWGW podcast will continue releasing episodes on Mondays and Thursdays until the start of the World Cup, when we’ll publish every other matchday, including podcast discussions right after every USMNT game.
On Wednesday I’ll cover the U.S. roster release in Brooklyn, and I still have one more big magazine-style story coming out (from my visit with the potential breakout U.S. star of the World Cup) before the games start.
I land in Doha next Monday, November 14, and move into the four-bedroom unit I’m sharing with my friends and ace journalists Guillem Balagué, Raphael Honigstein and James Horncastle. And you’ll start getting daily coverage as soon as I’m on the ground, whether that’s giving you a sense of what it’s like in Doha or spending time with the USMNT (which arrives the same day I do).
Soon you’ll be receiving an email from me about the new Chat function in Substack that looks really cool. I’m planning on using that during the World Cup as a good way to connect with the community about what’s going on.
What else will you be getting from me to read here? Well, on every matchday you’ll receive My 5 Thoughts (not three, but five!) on that day at the World Cup right after the final whistle of the final game of the day. (That will usually be around 4 pm ET.)
I’ll also be around the USMNT as long as they’re in the tournament and will report on that every day at GrantWahl.com. And as we did for all 14 U.S. World Cup qualifying games, I’ll post My 3 Thoughts at the final whistle of every U.S. game and a magazine-style story by 9 am ET the morning after every U.S. game (and select other World Cup games depending on how far the U.S. goes).
If you want to become a Founding Member subscriber, I’ll be having occasional private Zoom calls with Founding Members during the tournament and would love to have you join me for them.
I am in it for the long haul in Qatar and will be covering the World Cup for the entirety of the tournament, which ends December 18.
And right now, as I get ready to pack for the upcoming adventure, I’m just hoping to remember to pack my pants. If you listened to today’s podcast, you learned that I forgot to pack pants for my trip to Euro 2012 and spent the entire time in Poland and Ukraine wearing the one pair of pants I had on the plane.
In fact, it’s crazy how often the subject of pants comes up for me around major soccer tournament. My favorite mention might have been this 2014 Hadley Freeman column in The Guardian that included these immortal words:
Looking forward to sharing this adventure with you!
Check out the GrantWahl.com merch store now, featuring artwork from Dan Leydon.
I look forward to all of your reporting from Qatar! I am sure your input and thoughts will enhance my World Cup and USMNT fan experience.
What about podcast recaps of the US games with Witty, and maybe also Landon? Those recaps after US games during qualifying were always great.
I love the thought of you and those journos sharing an apartment in Doha. The four of you should team up for some content together. Would be awesome.