The circuitous journey of soccer in America
Soccer in a Football World
The Story of America's Forgotten Game
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David Beckham’s arrival in Los Angeles represents the latest attempt to jump-start soccer in the United States where, David Wangerin says, it “remains a minority sport.” With the rest of the globe so resolutely attached to the game, why is soccer still mostly dismissed by Americans?
Calling himself “a soccer fan born in the wrong country at nearly the wrong time,” Wangerin writes with wit and passion about the sport’s struggle for acceptance in Soccer in a Football World. A Wisconsin native, he traces the fragile history of the game from its early capitulation to gridiron on college campuses to the United States’ impressive performance at the 2002 World Cup. Placing soccer in the context of American sport in general, he chronicles its enduring struggle alongside the country’s more familiar pursuits and recounts the shifting attitudes toward the “foreign” game. His story is one that will enrich the perspective of anyone whose heart beats for the sport, and is curious as to where the game has been in America—and where it might be headed.
"David Wangerin understands that American soccer isn't the recent development that some believe it to be. He has a thorough knowledge of the long history of the sport in the United States, and he relates the ups and downs of that history wonderfully well in Soccer in a Football World."
"comprehensive and engaging ... David Wangerin has done a great service by providing this enlightening and entertaining account of the fascinating characters and unique circumstances that have defined US soccer for nearly a century."
"thoroughly illuminating and enjoyable."
"this book is a pleasure not just because it's well written and comprehensively researched, but because of the sheer diversity of the characters and the teams that pop up ... Highly recommended."
"a fascinating read — and quite an eye-opener too."
"In thorough fashion, Wangerin moves from past to present, covering our unique terminology; peculiar rules; governing bodies and leagues; World Cup triumphs and missteps; the ongoing fortunes of Major League Soccer; and, above all, the culture surrounding the game…. [this book] provides a greater level of detail [than similar titles] and is a good purchase where soccer-mad patrons—and there are more of them these days—provide demand."
"[Wangerin] is the intelligent, compassionate and committed spokesman that American soccer needs."
"Wangerin has written a readable history of US soccer from the late 19th century to the present.... [T]his updated US edition makes a valuable contribution to the literature on what is still regarded by many as a foreign, minority sport.... Wangerin's fine study is entertaining, well researched, and well written. Summing Up: Highly recommended."
David Wangerin (1962-2012) was born in Chicago and grew up in Wisconsin. Two years after coaching his high school's soccer team to a debut season of unbroken defeats, he moved to England, partly to be nearer to Aston Villa. He was a contributor to the British soccer magazine When Saturday Comes since 1988, and lived in Scotland, where he developed an affection for Raith Rovers.
In the series
Sporting, edited by Amy Bass.
As an international cultural activity for athleticism, spectatorship, and global cultural exchange, sport is unmatched by any other force on earth. And yet it remains a consistently understudied dimension of history and cultural studies. Sporting, edited by Amy Bass, aims to contribute to the study of sport by publishing works by people across a range of disciplines, by professional sportswriters, and by athletes to add substance to our still emerging notion of globalization.