U.S. soccer journalist Grant Wahl dies after collapsing at World Cup match

Renowned American soccer writer Grant Wall died Friday while covering the World Cup in Qatar, US Soccer confirmed. Wahl chronicled the rise of the sport for Sports Illustrated for years before moving to Substack.

Wall attended Friday’s quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands in Luceil. He collapsed on his seat at the start of extra time. A number of journalists called for help and paramedics arrived immediately, treating Wall at the scene for several minutes, said Washington Post reporter Steven Goff, who was covering the race.

“The entire U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wall,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement. “Fans of top quality football and journalism knew we could always count on Grant to provide insightful and entertaining stories about our game and its main protagonists: the teams, players, coaches and the many personalities who make football unlike any other.” “

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Wahl, 48, had written about some of his health problems in Qatar the day before he died. Earlier this week he wrote: “Finally my body collapsed on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and a lot of work can do you.

He said the cold became more serious for him the night the United States played the Netherlands. “I felt a new pressure and discomfort in my upper chest,” he wrote.

In a well-covered incident at the tournament, Wahl was detained at a stadium by Qatari security when he arrived at a match wearing a rainbow soccer ball T-shirt. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Wahl wrote on his subpoena that security guards wouldn’t let him in, held him for 25 minutes and asked him to take off his shirt.

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In its statement, US Soccer added: “Grant’s passion for soccer and dedication to raising its profile throughout our playing field played a key role in generating interest and respect for our beautiful game. Importantly, Grant’s belief in the power of sport to advance human rights was and remains an inspiration to all.

Wahl joined Sports Illustrated in 1996 and worked at the magazine until 2020. In more than two decades, he became one of the country’s leading football writers. He covered the men’s and women’s World Cups, European soccer and the growth of the game in the United States.

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Former Sports Illustrated colleague and NFL writer Peter King recalled how gracious it was to cover the 2010 World Cup with Wahl and introduce him to many contacts who helped his reporting. “He loved football like Peter Gammons loved baseball,” King said. “He was selfless. He just wanted more football coverage, and he wanted me to spread the word about football to a group of football fans.

Wall tweeted throughout Argentina’s win on Friday. His last tweet came at the end of the second half after the Netherlands equalized. “An incredibly created goal by the Netherlands,” Wall wrote.


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