A YOUTH SOCCER COACH'S INVESTIGATION INTO THE ORIGINS OF SOCCERMANIA 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)