Wednesday, September 20, 2006

American Soccer History 101: NASL

Feeling the need to be nostalgic, I've been reading Kenny Stern's novel "Kicks" which is a fictional story based on the old North American Soccer League that died in the mid-1980s. He changes all the names of the teams and even the league to the North American Continental Soccer League - creative, I know.

Even though I've followed the American game for years I know very little about the old domestic league, I couldn't even tell you if the cities he uses actually had teams - with the exception of the majors like New York, Chicago and San Jose, etc.

It's mostly an entertaining read. I think I would appreciate it more if I knew more of the facts about the NASL and could relate what was truth and what was fabrication in the story. A more detailed review will be posted once I've finished reading.

While on the subject of the North American Soccer League I would like to spread the word on a documentary that will be playing on ESPN2 Wednesday night. It's called "Once in a Liftetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos," and was produced by Michael Davies (author of World Cup Diaries on espn's page2).

The New York Time's blurb on the movie:

"Fielding heroes and villains, gentlemen and rogues, booze and women, it plays like the 'Dynasty' of sports documentaries ... This is a movie so unabashedly in love with its subject that even audiences who don't know Giorgio Chinaglia from Georgie Best will leave the theater grinning."

For all you documentary types, or just those like me with little knowledge of the predecessor to MLS, this will give us a peak back at what professional soccer was like back in the 1970s. I hear it will be showing at 9pm ET and 6pm PT.


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