Portrait by Natascha E Lotze.
Superstars, hype, entertainment, cheerleaders and all that razzmatazz – the North American Soccer League was the Premier League and the Champions League rolled into one.
The NASL – at its peak in the late 1970s – was way ahead of its time. It was football as performance, played on a stage by men with a bent for flair, hair and glamour. More than just Pelé and the New York Cosmos, it lured the biggest names of the world game like Cruyff, Best, Beckenbauer and the mercurial Rodney Marsh to play football as it was meant to be played – without inhibition, to please the fans.
It experimented with rules and innovations that upset purists, and liberated players from the negative tactics that had come to dull the game in the muddy, hooligan-blighted grounds of Europe.
Rock n Roll Soccer reveals in all its glory the colour and the chaos of the world’s first truly international league. How it sold itself to soar from Year Zero in a football-alien continent to become a genuine major league player in the crowded US sporting landscape. And how it crashed back down to earth like a rock star’s private jet, bankrupt but laughing all the way.
US edition. Design: St. Martin's Press
Frenzied, blurred and colour-runny highlights from the North American Soccer League burnish the author's explanation of what the book is all about in this short YouTube video.
Rock 'n' Roll Soccer, the definitive book about the North American Soccer League
UK edition, out on May 5, 2016.
Ian Plenderleith is British football writer and journalist who previously published a book of football fiction, For Whom The Ball Rolls. Rock n Roll Soccer draws on his life-long exposure to football on both sides of the Atlantic, and is his first work of non-fiction. His football writing has appeared in When Saturday Comes, the Wall Street Journal, Soccer America and The Guardian. On evenings and weekends he tries to play, coach and referee the beautifully frustrating game.
"Scrupulously researched and sourced, with first-person accounts knitted together in an enthusiastic, irreverent narrative, this is a gift to fan's of America's richer-than-expected soccer history." Booklist
"A compendious but vividly entertaining history of the League." Simon Redfern,Independent on Sunday 'Book of the Week'
"An engrossing eulogy to the madness and magic of the NASL" The Football Pink
"Written with a raffish exuberance worthy of its subject." Times Literary Supplement
"Essential reading for enthusiasts of the American game. Fascinating, enlightening, and entertaining." In Bed With Maradona
"A whole host of fascinating yarns. Hugely entertaining." Irish Echo