In 2013, American soccer fan Nathan Nipper, a self-described “Euro Snob” because of his preference for following the English Premier League over Major League Soccer, decided to give MLS a serious try for the first time. As an American who wants to see soccer continue thriving in the United States, he felt it was time to stop ignoring America’s top-flight league. Dallas ‘Til I Cry recounts his experience as he became a Season Ticket Holder for his local club, FC Dallas, determined to give the team, and MLS, his undivided attention for one season.
Part soccer fan memoir, part MLS critique, Dallas ‘Til I Cry explores American soccer fandom in all its joys, agonies, and quirks through personal accounts filled with humor, insight, and heart. It’s an American twist on the kind of British soccer fan passion chronicled in books like Fever Pitch, Bloody Confused!, and 32 Programmes. Whether already a fan of MLS, cynical about the league, or a curious fan who simply enjoys narratives of soccer cultures around the world, Dallas ‘Til I Cry offers a funny, heart-warming examination of the much-maligned, resilient, and emergent Major League Soccer.
Nathan Nipper writes for television, radio, and online media at Mercury Radio Arts. He previously authored the independent nonfiction book Dallas ‘Til I Cry, which won the 2014 MLS Book of the Year Reader’s Choice Award from WorldSoccerTalk.com. He is an American history buff and a soccer enthusiast who coaches his youngest son’s team. He spent his childhood in Arkansas, later moving to France and Senegal where his parents served as missionaries. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and earned a master’s degree in communication from Regent University. He lives in North Texas with his phenomenal wife, daughter, and two sons. Life on Christmas Eve is his first novel.
MLS (Major League Soccer) is America's top football (as in soccer) league. It has recently attracted star players such as David Beckham, David Villa and Thierry Henry. However "Major League Soccer is often relegated to second-class status by American soccer fans thanks to the proliferation of European soccer on TV and the internet." Thus an idea was born which is the basis of this book.
Author and American Nathan Nipper confesses that he "developed soccer snob sensibilities towards the MLS." Instead he followed Chelsea and the English Premier League. But how could he call himself an American soccer fan if he paid no heed to the MLS? So he vowed to give MLS a chance and got himself a season ticket for local team, local being 32 miles away, FC Dallas.
The book has a diary format following FC Dallas game by game. First though comes the rather American SuperDraft where FC Dallas pick up a guy with a long term injury thanks to "inflammation at the pubic bone and pelvis" as their first pick, and a guy who could "miss up to six months because of doing missionary work in Haiti" as their second pick. So, coupled with the title of the book "Dalls 'til I cry", a clever rephrasing of the chant Dallas 'til I die, you can tell that the season is not going to be a good one. And so it proves.
Through the season there are good moments, mainly revolving around his family and children as he takes them to their first games, or takes them along to an open training session and watches their interest in soccer grow. You can tell his real passion isn't FC Dallas but his family.
Then there are worse moments in the book where it feels like you are just reading match reports. For FC Dallas fans this may be okay, but for others less so. Also with (spoiler) FC Dallas not making the end of season play-offs it seems strange when he tacks on a section at the end of the book supporting certain other teams as they partake in the play-offs.
Other good parts of the book see an attendance at a press conference and a session for local coaches held by the FC Dallas head coach, a surprisingly open affair providing a little insight into the management of the club at the time.
So overall an interesting read about the MLS and American attitudes towards it.
"Dallas Til I Cry" is a fun, quick read. I personally have an issue with American soccer fans who refuse to acknowledge the growth of or lend support to Major League Soccer, so it was refreshing for me to read of the author's journey from "Euro snob" to purposefully giving MLS support a chance. It was also fun to read his perspective of the same matches I've attended and away matches I've watched on TV. Since it was chronicling 2013, it was interesting to see how a newly christened fan dealt with the same rollercoaster we all endured during that ultimately disappointing season. Also, since I am childless, it was good for me to get a glimpse into what it's like to bring children to a match.
Overall, this a great read for FC Dallas fans, MLS fans in general and those interested in knowing a little more about what it means to support the top-tier domestic league in the United States.
The author, a coach, father, and lifelong soccer fan from an unlikely place (Arkansas originally)has, for years limited his allegiances to the English Premier League club Chelsea. At the same time, Nipper had been living in the Dallas area for several years, and while having gone to the occasional MLS game of his hometown FC Dallas, hadn't taken the time to try to see if he could become a fan of his local team. Join the author on his journey from soccer snob to recognition of the American form of the great game, including using soccer as a way to connect with his children.
Short, well-written account of the 2013 FC Dallas season in particular, and the MLS season in general. The author takes an honest outsider's (more or less) look at being an American soccer fan, becoming a fan of American soccer. As a fellow FCD supporter I enjoyed the match stories and team commentary even more than a non-fan of the team or league might. Well worth the few bucks I paid for the Kindle edition.