Approaching Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., from the north via Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard, you’ll pass the Courts, a fenced-in futsal field that’s been jammed with youngsters since opening in the 1960s.
“Winners stay on,” John Harkes said of the Courts, a 15-minute walk from his home in neighboring Kearny. “That always drove me. We played against older players — my brother is three years older than me — and his group. You want to beat them.”
Harkes learned to play soccer the way most kids used to in his hometown. There was the Thistle Club, the Scottish stronghold where his father, James, played at the semi-pro level. Tony Meola and Tab Ramos joined Harkes there, and all three went on to play in the FIFA World Cup for the U.S. men’s national team. And there was everywhere else.