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Chasing the Game: America and the Quest for the World Cup [NOOK Book]

Overview

A tantalizing account of the triumphs and travails of the U.S. men’s soccer team in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, set within the historical context of American soccer on the global stage

The U.S. men’s soccer team was a huge disappointment at the World Cup in 2006, but a newly constituted team exceeded all expectations in June 2009 with their inspired play at the Confederations Cup in South Africa—where they upset the ...
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Chasing the Game: America and the Quest for the World Cup

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Overview

A tantalizing account of the triumphs and travails of the U.S. men’s soccer team in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, set within the historical context of American soccer on the global stage

The U.S. men’s soccer team was a huge disappointment at the World Cup in 2006, but a newly constituted team exceeded all expectations in June 2009 with their inspired play at the Confederations Cup in South Africa—where they upset the number one team in the world, Spain, and lost late in the championship game to a supremely talented Brazilian squad. Their impressive showing gave fans, including the ever-loyal Sam’s Army, a renewed sense of hope that when the team plays up to its capabilities, the Americans can compete with anyone in the world.

In Chasing the Game, Filip Bondy describes the U.S. team’s path to qualifying for this year’s World Cup—to be held on the African continent for the first time ever, in South Africa in June 2010. Bondy also reveals the back-and-forth saga that resulted in the hiring of Bob Bradley as the American coach, and serves up engaging profiles of several core players, including the U.S. national team’s all-time leader in scoring and assists, Landon Donovan, acrobatic goalie Tim Howard, hip-hop devotee and opportunistic goal-scorer Clint “Deuce” Dempsey, up-and-comer Jozy Altidore, and the coach’s son, the reticent yet dependable Michael Bradley.

Chasing the Game also recounts the glorious highlights of past World Cup matches, like the U.S. men’s team’s stunning 1–0 victory over England in 1950 and the 2002 team’s advance to the quarterfinals, as well as heartbreaks like the fiasco in 2006, when the U.S. mustered only four shots on goal in three games. Finally, Bondy also traces the origin of soccer and the evolution of the game in the U.S., chronicling how soccer academies like the one in Bradenton, Florida, have impacted the game at both the youth and national levels.

It’s all here for the first time in one book—the complete story of American soccer on the global stage.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

After losing in the first round last time around, the United States comes into this World Cup with high expectations. Filip Bondy's tantalizing Chasing the Game raises those expectations with an upbeat history of U.S. soccer progress and a player-by-player assessment of our current squad.

From the Publisher

Library Journal
Well known New York Daily News columnist Bondy tackles American soccer, from the heights of a 1950 stunner over England to the depths of 2006, when the U.S. squad could barely get a shot on goal. Bondy treats readers to an inside view of the current American team that will chase after World Cup glory in South Africa this summer—like players Landon Donovan and Joey Altidore, goal tender Tim Howard, and coach Bob Bradley. Placing soccer within a social, economic, and sporting context, the author provides readers with a fast-paced, enjoyable read about the game and the quest. A remarkable account; essential for all fans of the game. Highly recommended.

Library Journal, 5/15/10
“A remarkable account; essential for all fans of the game. Highly recommended.”

New York Times, 5/11/10
“…chronicles the evolutionary fits and starts of soccer in America, from the grass roots to the fields of South Africa.”

Los Angeles Daily News and San Bernardino Sun, 5/11/10
“Bondy's insights are meaningful whether a reader only pays attention to soccer once every four years or is a devoted fan…an excellent primer for those who want to understand American soccer's place in the sport and the world before the tournament begins.”

The Bleacher Report, 5/11/10
“An excellent recap of the USNT qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.” 

Global Post, 5/11/10
“A useful primer for both knowledgeable fans and those who, after a four-year hiatus from soccer, want to catch up with our lads…Bondy provides a remarkably comprehensive modern history of American soccer and its World Cup experience… exceedingly well written.”

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports, 5/13/10
“Highly recommended for soccer zealots.”

GQ, June 2010
“The odyssey of our national team, which is a lot weirder and more fascinating than you’d expect."

Barnes & Noble Review, 5/31/10
“Bondy entertainingly describes the highs and lows of soccer's beleaguered history in the U.S.”

Goal.com, 6/5/10

“A comprehensive look at the USA's journey in the sport in general, and the 2010 World Cup in particular.”

Washington Post Soccer Insider Blog, 4/21/10
“The outstanding columnist for the New York Daily News recounts the run-up to the World Cup and what lies ahead for the American squad.”

Global Post, 5/11/10
“Bondy provides a remarkably comprehensive modern history of American soccer and its World Cup experience…The book is exceedingly well written as it executes as complex a weave—back and forth in time—as any witnessed on a soccer field. But its greatest strengths are Bondy’s passion for the game—his Czech-born father raised him to prize soccer over all other games—and the fact that he witnessed most everything he writes about. He has covered every World Cup dating back to 1990 and has traveled to the remote outposts like Tegucigalpa and Port of Spain where the team earns its Cup qualification.”

San Bernardino Sun, 5/10/10
“Bondy's insights are meaningful whether a reader only pays attention to soccer once every four years or is a devoted fan…an excellent primer for those who want to understand American soccer's place in the sport and the world before the tournament begins.”

Bleacher Report, 5/11/10
“Whether you're rooting for the United States National Team or not, Filip Bondy's Chasing the Game is an excellent recap of the USNT qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.”

New York Times, 5/11/10
“The veteran journalist, a columnist who writes for The Daily News in New York, chronicles the evolutionary fits and starts of soccer in America, from the grass roots to the fields of South Africa.”

GQ, 6/1/10
“The odyssey of our national team, which is a lot weirder and more fascinating than you’d expect.”

Goal.com, 6/5/10
“A comprehensive look at the USA's journey in the sport in general, and the 2010 World Cup in particular… a valuable resource… Where Bondy excels…is in managing to put the campaign for 2010 into a historical context that goes back to the very first World Cup in 1930…Bondy doesn't report just the facts of the games, though. His careful observations about the way the USA soccer was marginalized and unsupported bolster a too oft-ignored truism—that the professional game in a country needs to be stable and successful in order for a national squad to consistently improve…
While it's a bit startling that the veteran sportswriter can fit so much about the journey of United States soccer into a tome that isn't of intimidating size, it's important that Bondy has produced it. Aristotle wrote, ‘If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.’ Chasing the Game makes it simple for the USA fan, novice and experienced alike, to do just that.”

Chicago Sun Newspapers, 6/13/10
“An excellent behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. team.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/13/10
“…the columnist for the New York Daily News writes well, and is impressively steeped in the history and politics rolling around the spotted ball…”
 

The Washington Post Book World, 6/20/10
“Filip Bondy shows how the U.S. team may be able to make a run—with a little luck—deep into the tournament.”
 
BigSoccer.com, 6/19/10
“Excellent.”
 

BiblioBuffet
“[Bondy] does a nice job profiling the team’s players and their path to South Africa. The book’s real valuelies in how Bondy shows soccer’s slow, steady assimilation into an already crowded sports culture. It’s a reminder that every sport has an infancy period.”

Library Journal
Well known New York Daily News columnist Bondy tackles American soccer, from the heights of a 1950 stunner over England to the depths of 2006, when the U.S. squad could barely get a shot on goal. Bondy treats readers to an inside view of the current American team that will chase after World Cup glory in South Africa this summer—like players Landon Donovan and Joey Altidore, goal tender Tim Howard, and coach Bob Bradley. Placing soccer within a social, economic, and sporting context, the author provides readers with a fast-paced, enjoyable read about the game and the quest. A remarkable account; essential for all fans of the game. Highly recommended.
The Barnes & Noble Review

When soccer's World Cup was held in the United States for the only time back in 1994, the American version of what the world calls football was widely viewed as a joke, both here and abroad. We had no professional league, almost no media coverage (even that coverage snickered about how un-American and deadly-dull soccer seemed), and only a handful of American players eked out a living overseas. World soccer powers like Italy, Germany, and Brazil relished playing U.S. squads, which were considered hardworking but hopelessly overmatched. In ?Chasing the Game,? soccer journalist Filip Bondy entertainingly describes the highs and lows of soccer's beleagured history in the U.S.

For American fans of the game, something changed during that 1994 World Cup. Many (myself included) were inspired by the surprising success of the U.S. soccer team, which advanced to the knockout round and ultimately lost 1-0 to eventual champion Brazil. For Americans who fell in love with soccer then, including new fans like myself who also began playing (I was 29 and the world's worst player), we'd have to learn the game's hard lessons.

First, although soccer looks simple, it's tremendously difficult to develop the technical skills (i.e., adept passing, dribbling, and positioning) needed to compete with international players who've played from the crib. Patience is essential ? you need to take your lumps and keep coming back for more. Second, winning soccer at any level takes not just technical ability and teamwork, but experience playing (and often losing) against great competition.

As Bondy shows, it's taken the U.S. national team years to transform from hustling, hapless underdogs to respected, seasoned contenders against players in some of the world's best pro leagues. Today, while the U.S. doesn't possess a deep pool of world-class soccer talent -? we probably go 8-10 deep, whereas Brazil might go 50-100 deep -? we can compete and, at our best, beat any team in the world. More importantly, the U.S. is beginning to develop a world-class ?soccer culture.? Americans can now watch professional games from England, Italy, and Spain on cable television. American fans can monitor U.S. players like Clint Dempsey (his club is England's Fulham), Landon Donovan (playing for English club Everton), Tim Howard (Everton's starting goalkeeper), and Oguchi Onyewu (a defender for Italy's A.C. Milan). The Internet has also brought international soccer into every American home.

When I started playing back in 1994, I'd often be the only American playing pick-up soccer at my local park. Not only was the game itself alien -- and my first touches consistently clumsy -- but nobody seemed to speak English. I had to learn ?soccer Spanish? to let better players know I was open on the right or making an overlapping run. It took years before I understood how magical soccer can be when played well. On some days, even now at age 44, I feel the utter joy of making a good pass or heading the ball away from danger in a close game.

A burgeoning number of American fans will be at the stadium and watching on television as the U.S. team kicks off its World Cup run on June 12 in South Africa against powerhouse England. Bondy rightfully contends that we're no longer novices, disparaged at home and abroad, but that doesn't mean we'll dominate. Other nations have been living and dying with soccer for decades, and we're something like rookies joining a well-established team. But there's no mistaking that we're part of the club now.

--Chuck Leddy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306819056
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 344
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Filip Bondy is a columnist for the New York Daily News and author of Tip-Off, among other books. He lives in New York.
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    Tim howard!!!!

    Pretty cool book

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