Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
L.A. Times' Mike Penner dead at age 52
by Mike Woitalla, November 30th, 2009 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[OBITUARY] When I met Mike Penner in 1994 it was back when sports columnists from mainstream newspapers rarely wrote about soccer with respect and appreciation. Penner was part of the Los Angeles Times staff that, for a month during the glorious days of the USA-hosted World Cup, covered soccer to an extent that had never been seen before in a U.S. newspaper.

I didn't know Penner well, but I remember meeting him in the Rose Bowl press center, having conversations throughout the tournament, and sharing a few meals together. I liked that he asked for my opinions and I enjoyed sharing them with him, and I remember him being unnecessarily grateful.

The 1994 World Cup was a special time. It seemed like every American was a soccer fan that summer. The soccer-bashers of the mainstream press were replaced by writers like Penner, who played and loved the game. Penner acted like covering the World Cup was the greatest beat one could get.

I didn't keep in touch with Penner, but a few years back we exchanged e-mails. I don't recall the specifics, but I remember being very pleased that he still subscribed to Soccer America.

In 2007, I heard Penner doing a public radio interview shortly after he announced that he was transsexual. And of course I read his famous "coming-out" column: "Old Mike, New Christine."

Penner explained he would be writing under the byline "Christine Daniels," and in the column noted his passion for soccer:

"When I told Robert, the soccer-loving lad from Wales who cuts my hair, why I wanted to start growing my hair out, he had to take a seat, blink hard a few times and ask, 'Does this mean you don't like football anymore, Mike?'

"No, I had to assure him, I still love soccer. I will continue to watch it. I hope to continue to coach it.

"My days of playing in men's over-30 rec leagues, however, could be numbered.

"When I told Eric, who has played sweeper behind my plodding stopper for more than a decade, he brightly suggested, 'Well, you're still good for co-ed!'"

In October of 2008, he returned to using the Mike Penner byline.

On Nov. 27 of 2009, Penner, who also reported on the Olympics, the Angels, tennis and sports media for the Times, died at age 52.

The cause of death is suspected to be suicide, according to the LA Times' Web site.

 

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. U-18s split two-game series with Germany    
The U.S. under-18 men's national team dropped a 3-2 decision to Germany's U-18s to finish with ...
MLS Trade Central: Friday's deals    
After two disastrous years in England, Brek Shea is back in MLS, signing with expansion club ...
MLS lines up exciting tripleheader for first Sunday    
MLS will open its 2015 season on March 6 when the defending champion LA Galaxy hosts ...
Video Pick: Alex Meier on Fire     
The leading scorer in the Europe's highest scoring league is a player you may not have ...
What They're Saying: Chris Wondolowski    
"I'm not over it. I'm not sure I'll ever get over it. [Pause] I actually think ...
U.S. U-20s win at San Pedro Sula    
San Pedro Sula is no easy place to play as the USA (2-1 loser in the ...
Press and Lloyd combine for all seven in U.S. win    
After a tie and loss in its first two games at the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia, ...
What They're Saying: Juergen Klopp    
"He took a wrong turn at some point. But everything is back to normal now. He ...
TV Report: MLS expansion teams ink local deals    
As expected, New York City FC has entered into a multi-year agreement with YES Network, while ...
Timbers land Wake's Vidovich to run T2    
The Portland Timbers, who dipped into the college ranks to get head coach Caleb Porter, have ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives