New Kids in the World Cup: The Totally Late ’80s and Early ’90s Tale of the Team That Changed American Soccer Forever

Univ. of Nebraska. Nov. 2022. 360p. ISBN 9781496229434. $34.95. SPORTS
U.S. soccer only recently gained a modicum of respect at the international level, as the modern era of American soccer has its origin story in the 1990 World Cup. Award-winning journalist Elder presents a candid look at the improbable World Cup–qualifying run of the U.S. men’s team that year. In 1988, international soccer association FIFA chose the United States to host the 1994 Cup, but many commentators predicted that unless the U.S. team could qualify for the 1990 Cup on their own merits, FIFA was likely to reassign the 1994 hosting opportunity to another country. This book looks at the qualifying run and provides a play-by-play of the U.S.’s first Cup appearance in 40 years, which Elder says put the world on notice that the States were ready to embrace soccer.
VERDICT Specialists in sports history might lament the book’s lack of citations and sources, but Elder’s insider look at the players and FIFA officials who put the U.S. men’s soccer team on the map will likely still appeal to fans of the game.
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