Rock 'n' Roll Soccer : The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League
The future looks bright for US soccer with the continued growth of Major League Soccer, and following Tim Howard and company's heroics in the 2014 World Cup, it's the perfect time to revisit the most exciting period in US soccer history.
The North American Soccer League—at its peak in the late 1970s—was way ahead of its time. It was soccer as performance, played by men with a bent for flair, hair, and glamour. Rock 'n' Roll Soccer reveals in all its glory the color and chaos of the world's first truly international league.
More than just Pelé and the New York Cosmos, it lured the biggest names of the world game like Johan Cruyff, George Best, and Franz Beckenbauer to play soccer as it was meant to be played—without inhibition, to please the fans, a glitzy alternative to the muddy, hooligan-blighted grounds of Europe. It sold itself in a continent unfamiliar with soccer before crashing back down to earth like a rock star's private jet, bankrupt but laughing all the way.
Ian Plenderleith is a soccer writer and journalist based just outside Washington, DC. He has been writing about the game for the past twenty years for publications including the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, and Soccer America.
Rodney Marsh enjoyed a colorful period in the NASL, playing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies between 1976 and '79. He later went on to coach the Rowdies, New York United, and Carolina Lightnin'.