Academic journal article American Studies

SOCCER CULTURE IN AMERICA: Essays on the World's Sport in Red, White and Blue

Academic journal article American Studies

SOCCER CULTURE IN AMERICA: Essays on the World's Sport in Red, White and Blue

Article excerpt

SOCCER CULTURE IN AMERICA: Essays on the World's Sport in Red, White and Blue. Edited by Yuya Kiuchi. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. 2013.

Through a collection of essays written mostly by professors at American universities, Yuya Kiuchi seeks to find the meaning of soccer in American culture. Kiuchi, a faculty member at Michigan State University, argues that contrary to popular belief, soccer has long been an American sport, and a popular one at that.

The first section of Kiuchi's text, which provides the strongest contributions to the field, addresses the unique history of soccer in the United States through wellcrafted essays. First, David Keyes explains the origins of the sport in the U.S., emphasizing how this "foreign" game became "American" and "safe" for consumption by American children and their parents through the efforts of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). Then, Andrew M. Guest explicates the uniquely American relationship between the U.S. soccer system and the U.S. educational system, a connection that is often difficult for the rest of the world to understand. Finally, Dennis J. Seese provides a substantial literature review of soccer-related academic studies to demonstrate how the increase of soccer's popularity reflects a change in "traditional America."

The second part of the book provides an intriguing analysis on the economic aspects of soccer in the U.S. Cliff Starkey's ironic essay stands out. He argues that despite America's capitalist economic model and anti-socialist sentiments, U.S. sporting leagues have adopted socialist economic models (e.g. profit sharing, teams subject to league decisions, a "draft system" designed to increase competitiveness, salary caps, player distribution systems, and no risk of being "relegated" to a lower level of competition). …

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