In this book, soccer journalist and historian Beau Dure traces the many issues holding back the U.S. men’s soccer team, from failed leagues to the unique American sports culture. Yet, Dure argues that with the right long-term changes, the U.S. can build a soccer environment that spawns quality players and strong results on the international stage.
Ranting Soccer Dad podcast host Dure delivers a clever look at the history and current state of American soccer. Dure covers the historical debates as to why soccer did not become one of the Big Three professional sports, beginning with the fact that the American Soccer League, established in the 1920s, "only covered the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor." Despite the recent success of the U.S. women's national soccer team, Dure believes that the odds are against the men's team achieving similar success. For example, unlike the rest of the world, where soccer is wildly popular, in America, it takes a backseat to football, baseball, and basketball, which translates into less emotional and practical investment in the men's team. Dure notes that this was not inevitable, as the "U.S. sports landscape of the nineteenth century was wide open," and soccer had been played in America before 1900. While Dure may be correct in certain arguments that excessive litigiousness is a major contributor to the failures of men's professional soccer in the U.S., for example the granular detail he provides (e.g. Fraser v. Major League Soccer, the 2000 antitrust lawsuit filed by eight players) will make casual fans' eyes glaze over. Serious soccer fans are most likely to enjoy this ruminative complement to Bruce Arena's recent What's Wrong with U.S.?