In Distant Corners, his follow-up to Soccer in a Football World, David Wangerin details several of the people, places, and events that shaped American soccer history. Despite its struggle for popular acceptance, soccer in the United States has a rich history. Wangerin profiles Tom Cahill, the almost-forgotten "father of American soccer," and writes passionately about the 1979 North American Soccer League season, the high-water mark of the game in the twentieth century.
Wangerin shows how the American appetite for soccer has ebbed and grown over the years, chronicling the game at the college and professional levels and describing the city of St. Louis's unique historic attachment to the sport. Wangerin believes that the time is ripe for American fans to look into their own history and recognize the surprisingly deep connection their country has to soccer.
David Beckham’s arrival in Los Angeles represents the latest attempt to jump-start soccer in the United States where, David Wangerin says, it “remains a minority sport.” With the rest of the globe so resolutely attached to the game, why is soccer still mostly dismissed by Americans?
Calling himself “a soccer fan born in the wrong country at nearly the wrong time,” Wangerin writes with wit and passion about the sport’s struggle for acceptance in Soccer in a Football World. A Wisconsin native, he traces the fragile history of the game from its early capitulation to gridiron on college campuses to the United States’ impressive performance at the 2002 World Cup. Placing soccer in the context of American sport in general, he chronicles its enduring struggle alongside the country’s more familiar pursuits and recounts the shifting attitudes toward the “foreign” game. His story is one that will enrich the perspective of anyone whose heart beats for the sport, and is curious as to where the game has been in America—and where it might be headed.