Grant Wahl was an American sports journalist who covered soccer for CBS Sports, Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, and a Correspondent for Fox Sports. He died on December 10, 2022. Additionally, he wrote The Beckham Experiment (2009).
His Sports Illustrated articles mainly covered American college soccer and basketball.
Wahl stood for president of FIFA in 2011, but he pulled out of the race after failing to win the support of a football organization.
He left Sports Illustrated in 2020 and launched a podcast and newsletter on Substack.
childhood and education
Wahl was born in Mission, Kansas, on December 2, 1973. The Kansas City Comets, a local indoor soccer team, had his backing. He went to Shawnee Mission East High School for his education. His Scout rank was Eagle. At Princeton University, where he pursued further studies, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Politics in 1996.
Bob Bradley, who would later coach teams in Major League Soccer and the United States national team, was the head coach of the Princeton Tigers men’s soccer team during his first year at Princeton. Bradley gave Wahl permission to travel to Argentina to study and train with Boca Juniors before returning to the United States in time for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Wahl attributed the spark for his love of the game to his contacts with Bradley. Interning with the Miami Herald in 1996, Wahl began his professional career. He later began working for Sports Illustrated, where he covered college basketball and soccer, in November 1996.
Wahl covered 12 NCAA basketball tournaments, 8 FIFA men’s World Cups, 4 FIFA women’s World Cups, and 5 Olympic Games during the course of his career. For his cover article “Where’s Daddy?” (1998), which examined the rise in the number of illegitimate children born to professional sportsmen, Wahl first won praise from critics. Since then, he has written a lot of athlete cover stories and features. Additionally, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association awarded four Magazine Story of the Year prizes to Wahl.
In October 2000, Wahl was given a promotion to senior writer at Sports Illustrated, where he mostly covered soccer for the publication and SI.com. LeBron James, a player in high school at the time, was the subject of one of his more than 50 magazine cover stories from 2002. Wahl centered The Beckham Experiment, his debut book, on David Beckham’s 2007 move to the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer and its effects on the league.
While covering the fourth round of FIFA World Cup qualification in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in October 2009, Wahl was taken up at gunpoint and had his phone and wallet stolen. in broad daylight. Earlier that day, he had spoken with Roberto Micheletti, the interim president of Honduras, who later apologized to Wahl for the incident.
In an effort to remove FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Wahl declared in February 2011 that he might run for the position. But because he was unable to secure the support of a football association, he withdrew before the set time (at least one was required). FIFA changed its presidential nomination procedure such that at least five associations must support a candidate as a result of Wahl’s campaign. Following his involvement in the network’s coverage of the UEFA Euro 2012 competition earlier that year, Wahl joined FOX Sports in October 2012.
With Wahl at the lead, Sports Illustrated’s “Planet Ftbol” soccer section debuted in 2013. In 2018, he released Masters of Modern Soccer, his second book, which included assessments of the playing styles of prominent players and interviews with them. After criticizing James Heckman, CEO of the magazine’s publisher Maven, for how he handled wage cuts during the coronavirus outbreak, he was let off from Sports Illustrated on April 10, 2020. Heckman responded by criticizing both Wahl’s work and her refusal to offer to take a permanent pay drop. On October 5, 2021, he joined CBS Sports, where he worked as an analyst for its coverage of CONCACAF soccer events and an editorial consultant for films about the game that will appear on Paramount.
In August 2021, Wahl launched his own independent newsletter on Substack under the name Football with Grant Wahl in honor of his already-existing podcast. In 2020, he also released a podcast series on Freddy Adu’s career, which Blue Wire Media disseminated. While accompanying the US to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Wahl got caught up in a crackdown in Qatar on merchandise supporting the LGBT community and bearing the rainbow flag.
A reporter for The New York Times who was with Wahl when he was stopped by Qatari authorities for almost 25 minutes outside a stadium for wearing a T-shirt with a rainbow design. His most recent entry, “They just don’t care,” which was posted on December 8 and was entitled, blasted Qatar’s officials for their lack of concern for the deaths of migrant workers at the country’s construction sites.
While reporting the quarterfinal encounter between Argentina and the Netherlands at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar, Wahl fainted unexpectedly in the press box.
According to a statement made by Wahl’s wife, local paramedics arrived swiftly and treated him for 30 minutes, including CPR, before taking him to a hospital.
On December 10, 2022, he was declared dead.
Wahl had complained of chest pain and sought assistance at the World Cup media center, where he was informed that he most likely had bronchitis, but the exact reason of his death is still unknown. At the clinic, he received antibiotics as well as cough syrup.
In addition to believing Wahl was murdered, Eric Wahl claimed his brother had received death threats. Additionally, he mentioned that the family had been in touch with White House and State Department representatives.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, the U.S. Soccer Federation, Major League Soccer, colleagues in the media, and leaders in both American and international soccer made messages in remembrance of Wahl’s career. During a quarterfinal match between France and England at Al Bayt Stadium, a portrait and flowers were placed at his designated seat. Additionally, a visual remembrance was shown both inside the stadium and on American television broadcasts.