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Der StandardWarmly recommended to all those who want to understand and appreciate . . . popular culture in the United States.
— Roman Horak
The authors argue that when sports culture developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, nativism and nationalism were shaping a distinctly American self-image that clashed with the non-American sport of soccer. Baseball and football crowded out the game. Then poor leadership, among other factors, prevented soccer from competing with basketball and hockey as they grew. By the 1920s, the United States was contentedly isolated from what was fast becoming an international obsession.
The book compares soccer's American history to that of the major sports that did catch on. It covers recent developments, including the hoopla surrounding the 1994 soccer World Cup in America, the creation of yet another professional soccer league, and American women's global preeminence in the sport. It concludes by considering the impact of soccer's growing popularity as a recreation, and what the future of sports culture in the country might say about U.S. exceptionalism in general.
"The text is well referenced, historically grounded, and offers excellent insight into US soccer and its past, present, and future potential as a major sport. Highly recommended for both the general population and those interested in sports studies and sociology of sport."—Choice
"This is the first adequate sociocultural history of the sport in the United States. . . . Sports sociologists will look to this book for soccer material and also for the author's fresh conceptualization of sports culture. Sociologists with more general interests in culture and institutional analysis might also find it useful and informative as a case study."—John Wilson, American Journal of Sociology
One The Argument: Sports As Culture in In ustrial Societies—American Conformities and Exceptions 7
Two The Formation of the American Sport Space: "Crow ing Out" and
Other Factors in the Relegation and Marginalization of Soccer 52
Three Soccer's Trials and Tribulations: Beginnings, Chaos, "Almosts," Obscurity, an Colleges 99
Four The Formation and Rearrangement of the American Sport Space in the Secon Half of the wentieth Century 128
Five From the North American Soccer League to Major League Soccer 162
Six The World Cup in the Unite States 201
Seven The Coverage of World Cup '98 by the American Media and the Tournament's Reception by the American Public 235
A. A Statistical Abstract on Recreational, Scholastic, and Collegiate Soccer in the United States 275
B. A Sample of Opinion from American Sports Columnists and Journalists regarding the 1994 World Cup 282