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Rock 'n' Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The North American Soccer League - at its peak in the late 1970s - presented soccer as performance, played by men with a bent for flair, hair and glamour. More than just Pelé and the New York Cosmos, it lured the biggest names of the world game like Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio, Gerd Müller and George Best to play the sport as it was meant to be played-without ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published September 1st 2014)
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Budd Bailey
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The attention that the United States team received in the World Cup soccer tournament this summer caught many by surprise. Suddenly, thousands were living and dying with each play of the tournament in Brazil. Large-screen television broadcasts the games to thousands in public squares in cities throughout America. For a country that had yawned at the game for the most part for decades, it was a shock.

However, for those who remember the North American Soccer League, particularly in its glory days
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Although the writing is uneven and the narrative isn't always linear, this is still one of the books you want to read if you're interested in the NASL, and it's pivotal role in the evolution of soccer in the United States.
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Soccer fans who enjoy Major League Soccer may not be aware that there was another professional soccer league in North America that also saw success at the box office and on the pitch, albeit for only a brief time. The history of this league, the North American Soccer League (NASL) is captures in this very objective and factual book by Ian Penderleith.

In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the NASL brought the sport’s international superstars to American shores and the public loved it – at least for a
Bill McFadyen
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great account of the USA soccer league of the 1970s . Rodney Marsh , Pele and George Best turn up - but who remembers Aberdeen and Wolves playing in the 1967 final as the LA Wolves and the Washington Whips.
A great read of football is your thing.
Andrew Theobald
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A fascinating book, though more a series of anecdotes than a history.

Another caveat is that the book is very much written for a British audience, with plenty of attention paid to individual English players who played in the NASL, but much less to, for instance, Yugoslav players in the league (the backbone of many an NASL team) and the NASL's role in the evolution of North American soccer itself. As a hapless supporter of the Canadian National Team, I was especially disappointed with the latter,
Gus Sanchez
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The North American Soccer League evokes memories of fast-paced soccer played on Astroturf pitches, where fading legends like Pele, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, and George Best plied their considerable talents in locales like New York and Los Angeles and...Tulsa?

The general consensus of the NASL is that it was a league that bit off more than it could chew. With the lure of easy money and large crowds, deep-pocketed owners of teams like the New York Cosmos could build what amounted to an
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports-soccer
Book reminded me of my youth and my dad taking me to LA Aztec games at the LA Coliseum. Book does a good job of presenting those manic hopeful days when soccer was playing to huge crowds that MLS could not hope to achieve and then how it all rather quickly ended. Excellent at pointing out the NASL's influence on FIFA and soccer abroad.
Vince Darcangelo

Rock ‘n’ Roll Soccer

The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League

Ian Plenderleith

I recall, from my childhood, soccer on television, cheering for Pelé and watching him slow-motion bicycle kick his way through Nazis alongside Sylvester Stallone. And then it was gone.Rock n Roll Soccer

I don’t remember when it went away, but in the early 1980s, my attention turned to music and girls. So long, Pelé. Farewell slow-motion bicycle kick. We
Andrew Shipe
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The late '70s and early '80s is when I discovered soccer as a pre-teen then teen following NASL's Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. Plenderleith's well-researched and entertaining book not only brings back those days but puts them in the perspective that the NASL changed soccer--not just in America. Yes, Plenderleith has an axe to grind, but the experience of soccer fans does not lend itself to dispassionate disinterest. Plenderleith's comparison of the wide-open, attacking play in the NASL (helped by a ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sport
This hugely entertaining and informative book tells the fascinating story of the brief, colourful life of the North American Soccer League. Behind this lies Plenderleith's thesis, namely that in many of its innovations - making the game the centrepiece of an afternoon or evenings entertainment, its business model, and some of its rule changes - the NASL pointed in the direction European, and particularly British, football took later on.

But like all the best sports books, Plenderleith uses the
Matti Karjalainen
Ian Plenderleithin "Rock'n'roll Soccer" (Icon, 2016) kertoo pohjoisamerikkalaisen NASL-jalkapalloliigan noususta, uhosta ja tuhosta.

Vuosina 1968-1984 pelatun ammattilaissarjan vaiheisiin kytkeytyvät niin New York Cosmoksen kaltaiset jättiseurat kuin Team Hawaiin kaltaiset yhden kauden viritelmät, ikääntyvät mutta siitä huolimatta parhaimmillaan maagiset maailmantähdet kuten Eusebio, Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cryuff ja George Best, sääntömuunnelmat kuten rangaistuskuljetukset 35 jaardin
Josh C.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love the research and the lack of condescension. It probably could have dropped a couple chapters and been punchier without losing any depth — the Philly chapter in particular had little to add other than a re-examination of the "rock and roll soccer" title theme, which the author spent way too much time justifying. A+ for the Washington chapter, though: rarely is hatred for Washington and its sports culture so well-executed and dead-on (and I say that having lived in Northern Virginia proper ...more
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A shame this book was written by a snobby Brit who seems to enjoy making sneering asides at North Americans, such as the following comment, on page 216 of the hardcover version: "Canadian Buzz Parsons played for the Vancouver Whitecaps, while American Buzz Demling turned out for the San Jose Earthquakes--this is stated merely to prove that in North America it is perfectly legal to name a child Buzz." I'm sure all the readers in Cornwall were floored by that broadside. After reading that comment, ...more
Ragnar Liaskar
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fotball
There must have been countless hours of research thrown into this project and there is a lot of detail, sometimes a tad much. A number of really interesting stories of players, teams, glam and glitter, creativity, ideas that later caught on in real football makes it a must read for those who want knowledge of the game outside of Europe and South America.

Some parts could do with a rewrite or editing, but all in all I enjoyed it.
Steven Pilling
this is a bit of a curates egg.

Plenderleith is a fun guide to a short lived time in world football he manages to be linear and yet to explore little corners of the soccer world.

The book is probably the only book you ever need to read about nasl , it reads a little like what you would expect Michael Lewis would write but every so often it falls a little flat
David A-S
For a soccer fan, this is actually really fun and very well-researched. It is in the class of wondrous history books that teaches you a past that informs the present, and. . . provides you with laughs and 'who knew?'s.
Michael Kitchen
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A thorough history of the North American Soccer League. I was in high school when I went to Detroit Express games at the Pontiac Silverdome, and I enjoyed those games and the sport as opposed to the nation's other summer time game. I really liked this book.
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, soccer
There are more than 304 pages of narrative...404 to be exact. Couple of Appendixes, Notes, and an Index and total pages of this book goes to 434. Just saying because I'm on page 358 and getting closer to finishing this great book.
Adam J.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. But as a non-soccer fan, I don't automatically know some of the players and I felt like there was a certain level of knowledge required before reading.
Jon Eden
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic anecdotes about the original NASL. Written in a very casual style that made it easy and entertaining to read. Would love to see Ian Plenderleith tackle the modern North American game next.
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
An entertaining book full of funny and illuminating anecdotes, but a bit of a mess in terms of organization. There is a great deal of jumping around in terms of chronology.
Matt Lieberman
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ruairi friel
rated it it was ok
Oct 16, 2019
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Born in rural England to Scottish parents, I studied German in the Midlands, became a journalist in London, then moved to Germany to work, but ended up becoming a house-dad instead. From there I went to Switzerland (four years) and the US (16 years) and wrote two football (soccer) books. One is a collection of adult-oriented short stories (For Whom The Ball Rolls, Orion 2001), set in the soccer ...more