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Soccer in American CultureSoccer in American Culture

The Beautiful Game’s Struggle for Status

G. Edward White

Narrated by Gary Roelofs

Available from Audible


Book published by University of Missouri Press


In Soccer in American Culture: The Beautiful Game’s Struggle for Status, G. Edward White seeks to answer two questions. The first is why the sport of soccer failed to take root in the United States when it spread from England around much of the rest of the world in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The second is why the sport has had a significant renaissance in America since the last decade of the twentieth century, to the point where it is now the 4th largest participatory sport in the United States and is thriving, in both men’s and women’s versions, at the high school, college, and professional levels.

White considers the early history of “Association football” (soccer) in England, the persistent struggles by the sport to establish itself in America for much of the twentieth century, the role of public high schools and colleges in marginalizing the sport, the part played by FIFA, the international organization charged with developing soccer around the globe, in encumbering the development of the sport in the United States, and the unusual history of women’s soccer in America, which evolved in the twentieth century from a virtually nonexistent sport to a major factor in the emergence of men’s—as well as women's—soccer in the U.S. in the twentieth century.

Incorporating insights from sociology and economics, White explores the multiple factors that have resulted in the sport of soccer struggling to achieve major status in America and why it currently has nothing like the cultural impact of other popular American sports—baseball and American football— which can be seen by the comparative lack of attention paid to it in sports media, its low television ratings, and virtually nonexistent radio broadcast coverage.

REVIEWS:

“American soccer has a rich and extensive history that has unfortunately been largely forgotten. This book takes readers back in time and untangles the alphabet soup of leagues that once dominated the scene - from the ASL to the NASL to MLS — and puts into context the importance of soccer to U.S. sports culture and how far the game has come in this country.”

—Clemente Lisi, The King’s College, author of The U.S. Women's Soccer Team: An American Success Story

“Edward White has carried out considerable research into and thought deeply about soccer to write what is, to my knowledge, the most comprehensive single volume work covering the entire history of men’s and women’s soccer in America.”

—Tony Collins, De Montfort University, author of How Football Began: A Global History of How the World’s Football Codes Were Born





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