Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


An Accidental Journey into the Heart of the American Game

Jim Haner

North Point Press


Trade Paperback


Before his son enlisted for a season of Youth Soccer at the neighborhood Boys and Girls Club in College Park, Maryland, Jim Haner was just your typical white, middle-class, suburban father. And as an award-winning journalist for The Sun (Baltimore), he was more likely to write about scoundrels than soccer. But his son caught the bug, and before long, Haner was giving pep talks to nine-year-olds in shin guards and cleats and the game had become an all-consuming obsession.

Digging deep into the historical record, Haner sets out to document the soccer craze from the bottom up, tracing the rises and falls in the game's popularity in the decades since "Mob Ball" fever was spread by the influx of immigrants on our shores, up to the current wave of "soccermania." The result is a rollicking and timely read.

"[Haner's] enthusiasm and good humor is infectious, the history is genuinely interesting, and anyone who doubts that soccer games between nine-year-olds can be chronicled with the same verve and intensity of professional or collegiate sports need look no further . . . Belongs with Franklin Foer's How Soccer Explains the World (2004) as a must-read for people puzzled by soccer's popularity." —Booklist (starred review)


Praise for Soccerhead

“Jim Haner's book is a delight, not just reported and observed but lived and felt. It shows how soccer has invaded America's soul from the playgrounds up, just as Haner learned everything he needs to know about the game, and sports, from kids.” —Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

“A solid contribution--wonderfully graphic, wonderfully written and put together in a way that has never been done before. Soccerhead gives us back our history.” —Len Oliver, U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee

“Funny, insightful, dead-on in its observations, Soccerhead is absolutely the best soccer book I've ever read, and I've read them all. It takes off like it was shot from a cannon...easily the most important book I've seen on the American game. This is significant.” —Anson Dorrance Head Coach, University of North Carolina Women's Soccer and author of Vision of a Champion

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Jim Haner

Jim Haner is an award-winning journalist with the Baltimore Sun.

Jim Haner

From the Publisher

North Point Press

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