From the publisher:
“George Dohrmann is one of our most perceptive chroniclers of youth sports in the United States, and here he brings his keen eye to the history and present of U.S. men’s soccer development.”—Grant Wahl, CBS Sports analyst and New York Times bestselling author of Masters of Modern Soccer
The contrast is striking. As the United States Women’s National soccer team has long dominated the sport—winners of four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals—the men’s team has floundered. They failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and three consecutive Olympics, and have long struggled when facing the world’s best teams. How could a country so dominant in other men’s team sports—and such a global powerhouse in women’s soccer—be so far behind the rest of the world in men’s soccer?
In Switching Fields, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist George Dohrmann turns his investigative focus on the system that develops male soccer players in the United States, examining why the country has struggled for decades to produce first-class talent. But rather than just focus on the past, he looks forward, connecting with coaches and players who are changing the way talented prospects are unearthed and developed: an American living in Japan who devised a new way for kids under five to be introduced to the game; a coach in Los Angeles who traveled to Spain and Argentina and returned with coaching methods that he used to school a team of future pros; a startup in San Francisco that has increased access for Latino players; an Arizona real estate developer whose grand experiment changed the way pro teams in the United States nurture talent.
Following these innovators’ inspiring journeys, Dohrmann gives ever-hopeful U.S. soccer fans a reason to believe that a movement is underway to smash the developmental status quo—one that has put the United States on the verge of greatness.
George Dohrmann is a senior managing editor at The Athletic and was previously an investigative reporter at Sports Illustrated. His first book, Play Their Hearts Out, was named one of the fifty best books of literary journalism of the twenty-first century by GQ and called one of the finest sports books of all time by Harper's Magazine and The New York Times. While working at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, he won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories that uncovered academic fraud within a college basketball program. Dohrmann lives with his family in Ashland, Oregon, where he coaches soccer and is president of the Ashland Soccer Club.