Gwendolyn Oxenham | Duke Campus: Center for Documentary Studies | Page: Readings & Signings | Indy Week

Page: Readings & Signings

Gwendolyn Oxenham

When: Thu., Aug. 23, 7 p.m. 2012

Aside from Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas, there probably were no bigger American Olympics stars than the U.S. women's soccer team. Among those following them must have been Gwendolyn Oxenham: Precocious on the field and in the classroom, she began playing for the Duke University women's team at the age of 16, the youngest Division I athlete in NCAA history. At 20, she was ready to continue her career in the pros, but the league folded and her playing career was all but over. After she acquired a master's degree in creative writing from Notre Dame, Oxenham and her boyfriend, also a freshly retired soccer player, decided to revisit their sport. The result was an acclaimed documentary called Pelada, in which they and two collaborators journeyed to 25 countries playing pickup soccer: with retirees in Brazil, with prisoners in Bolivia, on a rooftop in Japan, on a garbage dump in Kenya. The world's game was everywhere they looked. Now Oxenham has committed the experience to a book, Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer. —David Fellerath

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