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The American Soccer League [Hardcover]

by Colin Jose
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 25, 1998 0810834294 978-0810834293
It was the " American Menace" according to the Scottish and English newspapers of the 1920s. The best players in the Scottish leagues were being drawn to American companies that offered good jobs in return for playing on the company soccer team. The resulting squads, many of them ethnic, beat the best teams in the world at that time. This period from 1921 to 1931 were the "Golden Years of American Soccer."

With the skyrocketing economic prosperity of the United States and its corollary flood of new immigrants to America's shores, came interest in soccer as a new form of sports entertainment. It grew rapidly around Northeastern industrial towns like Fall River, Massachusetts, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. As with the popular North American Soccer League of the 1970s and 80s and its imported stars like Pele, the American Soccer League of the 1920s bid for the best soccer players in the world, creating a competitive, fertile environment for the growth of soccer.

Unfortunately, few detailed records remain about these great teams and players. League records were lost after W.W. II and newspaper coverage was concentrated in smaller cities. Many of the League's heretofore unknown players possess no first name in print, and the unfortunate losers of matches and league championship games often went unreported altogether. During the later, tougher years of the Depression, many of the foreign players hunkered down in jobs or returned to their native countries. The disbanded American Soccer League was revived under the same name but very different circumstances in 1933, but never reached the same level of skill as during the 1920s.

American Soccer League 1921-1931 is the result of Colin Jose's tireless determination to provide accurate history of soccer's evolution in the United States. Soccer was one of the most popular sports in the United States during the 1920s, often drawing huge crowds in relatively small towns to see the world's best players compete. Documented through thousands of newspaper clipp

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Editorial Reviews


...provides the best account of the ASL and the so-called "Golden Years" of American soccer to date and , as such, is invaluable to the professional historian of the game as much as the soccer enthusiast...Jose should be applauded for meticulously piecing together such an authoritative record of these "forgotten years of American soccer". (Journal of Sport History)

…provides numerous historical nuggets of import for the American and world game…Jose in this instance has accomplished a near-miraculous work of historical archaeology and he deserves full marks for his efforts. (Soccer and Society) extraordinarily comprehensive record of the times in both words and statistics.

About the Author

Colin Jose, a soccer historian and journalist Jose is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (Wiesbaden, Germany), a director of the Society for American Soccer History (Oneonta, New York), and a member of the Heritage Committee of the Ontario Soccer Association.

Product Details

  • Series: American Sports History Series (Book 9)
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (June 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810834294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810834293
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,933,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This book fills a critical gap in the historic literature of American Soccer, by providing a comprehensive statistical history of the first true major soccer league in this country.The ASL was as powerful as the NFL during the 1920's, but later folded and faded into complete obscurity, for decades existing as little more than rumor. Colin has singlehandedly reconstructed their entire history from box scores and news articles culled from newspaper microfilms.
His reconstruction of a significant part of American soccer history comes at an important time as the professional game enjoys unprecedented growth and new fans are beginning to redisocver the game's long heritage in the United States.
The statistical summaries are thorough, from player stats to linescores, and team histories. The news items and description of league activity is fairly basic but adequate. Most interesting are essays illustrating how the league fit in with the rest of the American soccer landscape of the era, and the extensive records of European stars who were attracted to the league by its generous salaries. There is a nice selection of rarely seen photographs of early players and teams, including Archie Stark, the Boston Wonder Workers and the New York Hakoah All-Stars.
This is a good follow-up to Colin's earlier statistical survey; "The Complete Guide to the North American Soccer League".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Letting numbers ONLY tell the story. May 20, 2006
This meticulously-researched book contains maybe 500 pages of extensive statistics and 20 pages (if that) of narrative text. If you're looking for the written history with analysis, anecdotes, exciting moments re-told, or a personal story of the ASL, this book might not be for you. If you are looking for page after page of player names, exact dates, accurate game results, even goalscorers, than this is a no-brainer must for your collection. A typical entry: p 304 NEWARK AMERICANS 1931 (FALL) Nov 27 v Hakoah Away Loss 2-5 goals by Archie Stark and (?) McCombie. Also includes 17 pages of team photos, newsprint articles, and snapshots. I was looking for the story and not the stats, so I give it a 3. It's not very useful for the casually interested fan of the beautiful game
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love this book April 16, 2010
By D. Mohr
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As the other reviews have already noted, this is not a narrative history of the American Soccer League. It is a compilation of team and player statistics, similar to the Macmillan's Baseball Encyclopedia, with a few short essays. The strength of the book is in the fact that Jose included every team and player in the league between 1923 to 1931. And that leads me to the reason I'm giving it four and not five stars. The league collapsed in 1933, but when Jose wrote the book he found reliable information only up to 1931. That's no fault of his, but it does detract slightly from the book's comprehensivness. Also, I found several small errors. For example, Jose listed Bobby Morrison as playing for Fleisher Yarn during the 1924-1925 season. I found that Bobby suffered a career ending injury in 1918 and it was his younger brother Joseph Johnstone Morrison who played for Fleischer. This is no knock against Jose who used the best information available at the time, but it does bring the book down from five stars. Perhaps Jose will publish a second and updated edition. If he ever does, I'll be one of the first to buy a copy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Soccer in Interwar America December 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a pioneering, comprehensive work in an area where i myself have been working for some forty years. It covers a much neglected influx of British particularly Scottish players into American football during the interwar years. It has potted biographies, details of careers as far as possible on both sides of the Atlantic and where found dates of birth and detah. Visits by British clubs especially the Old Firm are detalied as are the American international appearances of many emigrant players. Overall it is an invaluable source to transatlantic historians Bernard Aspinwall
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