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Chasing the Game: America and the Quest for the World Cup Hardcover – April 27, 2010
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Well known New York Daily News columnist Bondy tackles American soccer, from the heights of a 1950 stunner over England to the depths of 2006, when the U.S. squad could barely get a shot on goal. Bondy treats readers to an inside view of the current American team that will chase after World Cup glory in South Africa this summer—like players Landon Donovan and Joey Altidore, goal tender Tim Howard, and coach Bob Bradley. Placing soccer within a social, economic, and sporting context, the author provides readers with a fast-paced, enjoyable read about the game and the quest. A remarkable account; essential for all fans of the game. Highly recommended.
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The narrative flows smoothly from chapter to chapter. For example, there's the chapter about Landon Donovan that dovetails nicely into the chapter about our rivals team south of the border - Bondy even references the hilarious Mexican lottery commercial with Landon sneaking across the border because "it's easier to win in Mexico." (If you haven't seen it, find it - it's great.)
Because of his general reticence in talking to the media, it was great to get to look a little deeper into Bob Bradley's history and thoughts about the game. Even better, Bondy takes a thorough look at a lot of the personalities and history that have helped influence the culture of soccer in the country, and specifically with the national team.
For someone like me who is already very interested in the national team, it's a must have - there's no question about it. But even for those who just want to read an engaging book about the state of the game in this country, I'd highly recommend picking it up. It's well written and keeps you interested in the people and topics being discussed, and if you weren't familiar with some of the names and events that Bondy writes about, you'll enjoy learning about them - it's a great read.
The author, Mr. Bondy, also nicely covers the sociology of US soccer, tracing it's origins in immigrant hotbeds such as St. Louis and New Jersey, through the present and the attendant battles for the allegiance of players who, due to their heritage, had the option of playing for either the US or other countries (e.g. Guiseppe Rossi, a world class American talent, who ultimately chose to play for Italy). This aspect of the book also covers the political battles of the US Soccer Federation to restructure developmental soccer along academy lines - as is the case in much of Europe - and wrest control from the US Youth Soccer federation and the "attorneys and dentists" - soccer parents whose egos and money ultimately have sabotaged player development.
And last, but not least, Mr. Bondy does a commendable job dissecting the on-field strategies of the US international soccer game itself. For example, the book provides analysis of the historical underachievement of the US national team against relatively less talented national teams from central and eastern europe.
It reads more like a long series of magazine articles than a book, as I sped through it in a day and a half or so. It feels pulled together by someone knowledgeable about soccer and the US team, but without close access behind the scenes. Buzz Bissinger, this ain't. Most of the quotes and interviews with the current players and staff seemed to be culled from other sources or legacy material, though some of the former players (Ramos, Berhalter) were interviewed directly. There were a large number of pretty unforgivable typos and errors, like a book that was rushed through production and not copyedited too closely. ("Francisco" Torres, now of Chelsea, Brazil's young player "Nilmar", Sacha Kljestan's name misspelled, etc.)
If you're a new to intermediate fan of US Soccer and looking to find out more about the team and the players that you watched in the World Cup last summer, you'll really enjoy this book start to finish. If you could recognize Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey on the street but couldn't point out Maurice Edu in a police lineup, you'll learn a lot in this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book rotates every chapter from a mix of background stories and match summaries of past and recent US Soccer matches. Read morePublished 18 months ago by T. Luo