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Playing for Uncle Sam: The Brits' Story of the North American Soccer League by [Tossell, David]
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Playing for Uncle Sam: The Brits' Story of the North American Soccer League Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 268 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Review

A riveting and often hilarious book. A wonderful journey into nostalgia -- Soccer365

Enthrallingly told. Exhaustive and amusing -- Daily Mirror

About the Author

David Tossell has more than 20 years' experience in sports journalism and is currently the head of European Public Relations for the National Football League (NFL). His previous publications include Seventy-One Guns: The Year of the First Arsenal Double and The American Match.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 799 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Digital (13 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007D1TI66
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #669,576 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A book like this has been over due for years. It charts the rise and fall of the world game in the USA in the mid 70s to early 80s and lays the foundations for its recovery in 94 with the World Cup and the creation of the MSL in 96.
In 75/77/79 I was lucky enough to visit the US from the UK for the first times to visit family. It was a thrill a minute adventure to what seemed to be a technicolour land, compared to the relative drab of the UK at the time. The NASL reflected that vividness. Bright shirts, "uniforms", exotically named teams (Tulsa Roughnecks, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Vancouver Whitecaps) and some world class players (Cruyff, Pele, Best). The NASL really was a carnival like experience and where the quality of play was far higher than many people assumed it would be.
Sadly it all ended too soon with too many clubs ("franchises" in reality) over stretching themselves by paying too high wages to what, in many cases, were moderate players in cities with no historical roots or love of the game. But the NASL sowed a seed that helped lead to millions of Americans of both sexes playing the sport, a league in the shape of the MSL where profitability and having a core of local US players is a key factor and a national side that, in the 2002 World Cup in Japan, that really was a quality side and a surprise package with significant major future potential.
This book is very well written and David Tossell clearly did his homework with extensive interviews with a great many of the players and coaches of the NASL years, both the big names and the unknowns. The result is an excellent read for anyone interested in the NASL and the growth of the game in the US.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good 22 April 2014
By JonFoden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not at all what I was hoping for. A bit too much detail on recaps of every season and the resumes of the brit players in the league. A few good insights here and there about the league but just not as entertaining as I had hoped for.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. 3 April 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A thorough look at the history of the NASL. This is a must read for any fan of American soccer or the NASL.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely great! 4 Nov. 2011
By Brian Maitland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's as close to definitive given the limitations (i.e., the focus on Brits because after all this is a book aimed at the British market). So much in here is new and fresh despite it being now over 20 years since the NASL folded. Learned such nuggets as the fact the Vancouver Whitecaps had a near mutiny on the eve of Soccer Bowl '79 over bonuses or that Brits actually came over to make more money than they could make in the English League. Seems so bizarre given the money flowing into the game in England now.

Also, did not forget the Trans-Atlantic Challenge Cup or the 1976 Bicentennial Cup in covering the NASL years so that is to be lauded as they were important tournaments over here. Did seem a bit too obsessed with "division titles" which are really irrelevant as fans care more about how deep teams went in the playoffs. One comment about Rodney Marsh mentioned his "winning two division championships" but of greater relevance are his two all-star selections.

Don't get hung up about the Brit angle as the author does cover the impact of other imports such as Pele, Eusebio and Johan Cruyff as well as NASL greats like Paul Child, Mike Flanagan, Alan Willey, Laurie Abrahams, etc. Also, he got the fact that Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Minnesota, Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale were important places where soccer grew and thrived and gave them their due.

I was disappointed to not learn much about the Chicago Sting (note--one huge editing miss as they are referred to as the Blitz [actually Chicago's USFL team] in Chapter 21). Maybe that's because many of their star players were German (Karl-Heinz Granitza, Arno Steffenhagen) or Dutch (Ingo Peter, Wim van Hanegam, Peter Ressel) but that's nitpicking.

Any soccer fan really will love this but for all NASL fans, this is an absolute must-have in your own libraries.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of the NASL 13 Jun. 2004
By Martin Percival - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A book like this has been over due for years. It charts the rise and fall of the world game in the USA in the mid 70s to early 80s and lays the foundations for its recovery in 94 with the World Cup and the creation of the MSL in 96.
In 1975/77/79 I was lucky enough to visit the US from the UK for the first times to visit family. It was a thrill a minute adventure to what seemed to be a technicolour land, compared to the relative drab of the UK at the time. The NASL reflected that vividness. Bright shirts, "uniforms", exotically named teams (Tulsa Roughnecks, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Vancouver Whitecaps) and some world class players (Cruyff, Pele, Best). The NASL really was a carnival like experience and where the quality of play was far higher than many people assumed it would be.
Sadly it all ended too soon with too many clubs ("franchises" in reality, not clubs in the European sense) over stretching themselves by paying too high wages to what, in many cases, were moderate players in cities with no historical roots or love of the game. But the NASL sowed a seed that helped lead to millions of Americans, of both sexes, playing the sport, a league in the shape of the MSL where profitability and having a core of local US players is a key factor and a national side that, in the 2002 World Cup in Japan, really was a quality side and a surprise package with significant major future potential.
This book is very well written and David Tossell clearly did his homework with extensive interviews with a great many of the players and coaches of the NASL years, both the big names and the unknowns. The result is an excellent read for anyone interested in the NASL and the growth of the game in the US.
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