Editor Charlie Cuttone on Why a Book in the iGen Age . . . The Annual North American Soccer Guide
Charles Cuttone is well known in the American soccer world — not as a coach or a player but as a person who has covered the beautiful game with a discerning eye and an accurate heart. In this interview, Cuttone explains his shift from publishing a soccer news site to what some might think is a retro approach — publishing an annual book.
Related Soccer News: BOOK LOVERS REVIEW – NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER GUIDE 2018
One of the best soccer books of 2017 — that is how we described the North American Soccer Guide of 2017. A comprehensive guide with all the statistics and results a soccer lover could possibly dream of — all in an easy to flip through book.
Remember when printed guides where the resource go-to? Somehow clicking through pages of search results is not nearly as rewarding, and often deprives the reader of the pleasures of stumbling across fabulous facts that you were not searching for but find of great interest.
Now I have the North American Soccer Guide 2018 — and it is even better. And it is making me smarter. Instead of just glancing briefly at info, I actually have to read and absorb the information … a far richer and more rewarding experience. But I wondered, in today’s iGen world, who is publishing a guide in book form when stats are always ever changing? To discover the answer, I interviewed the editor of the Charles Cuttone, the editor of the annual North American Soccer Guide.
Diane Scavuzzo: First of all, the guide is great – filled with information.
How long have you been covering soccer?
Charles Cuttone: I started working for the New York Cosmos in 1975 when I was 13 years old but I guess my earliest claim to fame in the sport of soccer is painting the dirt green for Pelé’s debut.
Considered “the most glamorous team in world football” back then, Pelé joined the New York Cosmos on June 10, 1975, and it was a brilliant debut for the famous Brazilian footballer.
Diane Scavuzzo: In today’s age, most research is done online. Are books still valuable? Why is it easier to use the book as a reference than the Internet?
Charles Cuttone: While there is a ton of information on the internet, what we’ve done with the North American Soccer Guide is curate relevant information on leagues, teams and all areas of the sport.
You can spend a lot of time searching for things piecemeal on the internet, but with the Guide, it’s all in one place. Beyond that, I think the Guide presents an opportunity to find things out about the sport that you might not necessarily go looking for, and then there is just the…
enjoyment of holding a book in your hand and reading.
All of the articles in the book, written by some of the country’s top soccer writers, were done exclusively for the Guide.
As a side note to this, we’ve got academies providing the book to their players as means of educating them on the game, what came before and what’s around them.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did you first become involved in the soccer world?
Charles Cuttone: I loved all sports as a kid. When I was 12, I had spent the summer working for a pro football team that shared the stadium with the New York Cosmos.
When the football team folded, I went to the Cosmos and asked for a job. They hired me. Timing, as they say, is everything.
Pelé signed a few weeks later, and I was fortunate enough to be with the club through some pretty great times.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did you end up working for a pro sports team when you were so young?
Charles Cuttone: It really started out as a quest for memorabilia.
I started going to team offices to see what kind of souvenirs I could get. I’d make the rounds of all the New York team and league offices and I got to know people and that turned into the first summer job.
After five years with the New York Cosmos, and with free-lance writing on the side, I moved back and forth from team management to journalism — before my wife Linda and I started Sports Vue in 1992.
Diane Scavuzzo: What have you enjoyed most about covering the game of soccer?
Charles Cuttone: The diversity of the sport. Not just the people but the diverse number of events we’ve been able to cover, from pro leagues, both men, and women, to internationals, World Cups, and qualifiers — there is just so much that’s different.
It was working at my first international game, England-Italy in 1976 at Yankee Stadium, when I think I really fell in love with the sport.
Diane Scavuzzo: How long did you have your soccer news site? Why did you stop?
Charles Cuttone: We started out first soccer news site, Soccer Game Night, in 1999. A few years later, in 2004, we started the first regional site, Big Apple Soccer, and ultimately expanded to eight markets.
As for letting them go, health played a part in the decision. But after 17 years, the day-to-day grind and with so much of the sport to cover, it just really got to be too much. That was some of the thinking that went into doing the North American Soccer Guide, translating that vast scope of the sport into a concise volume.
Diane Scavuzzo: Back to the Guide, what’s your favorite section of the book?
Charles Cuttone: I think it would be the Competitions section because that again goes back to the diversity of the sport.
The scope of that section is so broad, from World Cup Qualifying to the upcoming World Cup in Russia, the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Champions League, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Canadian Championships, the International Champions Cup and a listing of every international friendly played in North America last year.
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspired the books?
Charles Cuttone: Well, I think first off, my passion for the written word, as well as the history of sports.
I’m still an avid collector, and I have hundreds of guides from other sports in my collection. There were two previous soccer guides done in this country, the Spalding Guides from near the turn of the last century, and what are known as the “Graham Guides,” which were published from the 1940s through the 60s.
I was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery when my wife gave me one of those guides, and the inspiration hit me that the time in the sport to have such a book was right, and we actually use the name North American Soccer Guide as a tribute to Bill Graham and those earlier works.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is included from the world of youth soccer?
Charles Cuttone: We’ve got a fairly extensive youth soccer section, which includes information on all the major national youth competitions, US Youth Soccer, US Club Soccer, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, Super-Y League and the Canadian Youth Championships, as well as a listing of United Soccer Coaches All-Americans for youth and high school soccer. Within the national teams’ section, we also cover the various age groups of U.S. Soccer’s national teams.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is next for you and your wife?
Charles Cuttone: Well, we’re focused on continuing to improve the North American Soccer Guide. The 2018 edition is 80 pages bigger than 2017, so we are always looking to see what else we might be able to add to it. We’ve also are reviewing a couple of other book projects, which we are considering.