World Cup of Machining

By Lloyd Graff

I’m starting to see why the world loves the World Cup, thanks to the ESPN coverage. Fabulous athletes, monstrous egos and nutty coaches abound. Referees are inept, the ball is booed, the British hate their goalie, and rugby renown New Zealand has tied two of the supposed world powers. France hates its team, whose coach won’t play certain top players because he thinks they have the wrong astrological sign.

The connection between the machining world and soccer has been clear to me since visiting PGI International in Houston several years ago. Spence Nimberger and his associate Jose Garza have built the company into a big player in oil and gas industry hardware. They have a “futbol” field adjacent to their factory, where their largely Mexican workforce plays the “world’s game” during lunch and breaks. According to Spence, the soccer field is a major plus in the competition for skilled workers in Houston.

Dave Knuepfer, whose firm, DuPage Machine Products, lies west of Chicago, also says the soccer field is a way to connect with his Hispanic workforce, the backbone of the shop floor team.

Illegal immigration is warming up again as a political hot button, but in the real world of machinist recruitment, the symbol of Anglo-American friendship on the soccer field is a shrewd way to send out a welcome message.

Question: Is soccer becoming the new baseball in the U.S.?

Cover, June 2006 Today's Machining World "Futbol for Lunch"

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3 thoughts on “World Cup of Machining

  1. Geno DeVandry

    As far as youth sports it is already number one in this country. Their are several reasons for this. First it is great exercise for the kids. Not much standing around like baseball. Second it is less expensive to run than other youth sports such as American football, Hockey & Baseball. And finally soccer has nearly as many females playing Soccer as males.

    Will soccer ever be number 1 professionally? It depends if the young generation fills the stadiums. Currently in this country our best athletes go where the money is. I have coached or coached against a couple of players who where wonderful soccer players who are now playing professionally in American Football & Baseball. One of these was Ryan Braun. I really don’t know what his reasons were for choosing baseball over soccer, but I am sure money was a consideration.

  2. Buelldog

    No, soccer is not becoming the new baseball in the US. Soccer is much more interesting and flows at a moderate to fast pace. Baseball on the other hand is usually a sleep-fest. I know people who like baseball and actually say they watch it on TV, but if you show up during a game, they are asleep on the couch.

  3. Lloyd

    Hey Geno and Bulldog,

    The Ryan Braun case is interesting. Steve Nash came from a soccer family. His father played professionally in England and he grew up with soccer in Vancouver. Akeem Olajuwon was supposedly a terrific soccer goalie in Africa before growing to be seven feet tall.

    On the machining world front Paul Hojnaki of Curtis Screw played college basketball in Buffalo and at least one of his daughters played college soccer. Hanan Fishman of Delcam Partmaker tells me her was a heck of a soccer player at Penn.

    Personally I love baseball and could watch it (occasionally sleep) ten hours a day, but World Cup soccer is a sporting joy even for an Ernie Banks American.


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