Reviews from Amazon.com for Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism
"American Soccer's Missed Opportunities & Untapped Potential"
August 22, 2001
Reviewer: Christopher S. Allen
For those of you who always wondered why soccer never established itself as one of the dominant sports in America, this is your explanation.
This is an excellent book for soccer fans, sports fans in general, and even social scientists (but you don't have to be a political sociologist to get tremendous insight out of this book).
There are chapters on:
Sports as Culture in Industrial Societies
The concept of "sport space" and how both baseball and football have made it very difficult for soccer to becomone one of the "big 3" sports.
A tantalizing set of missed opportunities in the 1920s when soccer could have established a much stronger presence. Not to mention the destructive role that college soccer, and particularly the NCAA has had from the beginning on the development of soccer.
The modification of American "sport space" in the 2nd half of the 20th century when pro football displaced college football as the dominant form of that sport, as well as the development of the NBA and the spread of the NHL. All of these inhibited development of soccer in that era.
The ambiguous role of the NASL and its positive and negative impact on MLS.
The impact of the 1994 World Cup; and
The coverage of the 1998 World Cup by the American media.
The authors examine the American sporting structural foundations that have inhibited soccer from taking its place as a dominant pastime -- such as baseball or American football. But rather than asserting that these dominant positions of team sports "invented here" will remain for the forseeable future -- at soccer's expense -- the authors are wise to mention such factors as globalization and and latino influence in the US that may make the 21st century a more vibrant "sport space" for soccer than was the 20th.
In short, this is an exceptional piece of sports analysis that all serious soccer fans should devour.
Please also visit Andy Markovits' official
University of Michigan website