Victory : The Factory


I was brought on as a contributing features writer for Doubleday & Cartwright’s Victory journal, a new and widely successful quarterly chronicling unique sports stories through a lens of high style and personal narration. Victory covers original lifestyle and sports culture in a propulsive, first-hand light. The challenge with each piece is to provide an insider’s guide for the dedicated sportsman as well as aspirational reportage for global tastemakers. Some of my Victory features include a profile of the rising Ghanaian boxer Malik “Bukom Snake” Jabir, as well as an on-the-ground feature covering the famed Argentine Boca Juniors’ youth football academy.

The Factory

The story of Argentine football is equal parts mythical odyssey and working-class parable. In recent times, the country has produced two unalloyed icons—Diego Maradona, whom fans refer to as “D10S” (a play on the Spanish word for “god” and his uniform number), and Lionel Messi, a three-time FIFA World Player of the Year. The roots of the sport are closely intertwined with the history of Boca Juniors, Argentina’s most decorated club. Founded over 100 years ago by five Italian immigrants, the team has won 24 Primera División crowns, 18 international titles and a fan base so loyal there is actually a Boca Juniors cemetery where supporters can be buried in coffins adorned with the team’s colors and crest.

The Club Atlético Boca Juniors youth academy, aka The Factory, is the team’s main feeder and the place where Argentina’s future football royalty get baptized. Set on a property called La Candela, just outside the small town of San Justo, the state-of-the-art compound is a forty-five minute drive from Buenos Aires. On the way, we pass butcher shops with blocky, hand-painted signs, a monastery, gauchos on horseback riding alongside traffic and teenagers on mopeds, crushed three to a seat. At the front gate, security guards put visitors through a fairly rigorous ID check. When I ask about the heavy-handed scrutiny, one of the guards explains, “These kids are our country’s most precious gold.”