Rock 'n' Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Sept. 2015. 368p. notes. index. ISBN 9781250072382. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466884007. SPORTS
OrangeReviewStarChronicling the roller-coaster ride the North American Soccer League (NASL) experienced in a bold attempt to bring the world's favorite game to an American audience, sports journalist Plenderleith examines the league's unique rules, business tricks, and on-the-field antics that backers have used to turn the sport into a distinct entertainment spectacle for Americans. This delightful romp features larger-than-life personalities such as retired Brazilian legend Pelé, German player-turned-manager Franz Beckenbauer, and franchises such as the New York Cosmos—and the indelible mark they have left on the game in the United States. This is more analysis than history. The author doesn't set out to document the past of every franchise in the league; his goal is to provide a knowledgeable explanation of what the NASL achieved, and why it ultimately crashed.
VERDICT An important contribution to the understanding of the NASL, American soccer, and worldwide football as a whole. Soccer fans will gain a better appreciation of the much derided league. Recommended for those interested in the game or in the intersection of sports and business.

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