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Chasing the Game: America and the Quest for the World Cup Hardcover – April 27, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Library Journal
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.

About the Author

Filip Bondy is a columnist for the New York Daily News and author of Tip-Off, among other books. He lives in New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306816067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306816062
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,891,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Todd Knox on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that the U.S. Men's National Team is my favorite sports team to follow, so I'm coming at it from that angle - I follow the team and the individual players fairly closely. The reason I point that out is that even though I try to read and digest everything that I can find about the team, there are a lot of great details and background stories that I discovered while reading this book.

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By tikcuf on July 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a well-researched, exceptionally enjoyable book on the history of US soccer and the US men's soccer team. It covers the span from soccer's inception in this country in the late 1800's up to the World Cup draw in 2010 and everything in between. It's most intensive focus, however, is the most recent World Cup cycle. Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is its emphasis on the backroom politics of US soccer - and there are plenty of them. This back story of US soccer is fascinating and has been largely ignored or misrepresented in the mainstream US media, yet has had tremendous impact in the transformation of US soccer to one of grudging international respect.

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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey G. Gass on May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book on impulse over the weekend and could not put it down. This is a great history of the US National team, the story of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign and informative player and coach profiles all wrapped into one. Well written and full of in depth information, this is a must read.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a decently written book about two things: The run-up through World Cup qualification for the 2010 US National Team, interspersed with a scattered, less comprehensive story about the history of US Soccer, from its earliest origins in the country through the 1934 and 1950 World Cups to our re-emergence for 1990 in Italy. To be clear, the content in this book ends somewhere between the World Cup draw and the Cup itself, so if you're looking for a detailed behind the scenes look at qualification AND the 2010 Cup, this is not the book you're looking for.

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.
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