ALIVE AND KICKING: The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers, is available for purchase by all soccer fans.

The book entails the 14-year history of the Lancers, including their birth, life and unfortunate demise. The Lancers had their origins when the Italian American Sport Club of Rochester, N.Y. captured the 1963 U.S. Amateur Cup championship.

Decades prior to Major League Soccer, you can learn about the pioneers of modern pro soccer and how passionate owners, particularly Charlie Schiano and Pat Dinolfo, and players survived and thrived during the 1970s in what they called the Green Bay of soccer.

You also will learn of how Rochester captured the North American Soccer League championship, of how the team played in the longest game in U.S. pro soccer history, and of how the team not only participated in but turned heads as the first American pro side to perform in the Concacaf Champions Cup.

During their history, the Lancers employed more than 20 coaches, some characters and some with real character. Holleder Stadium, their home, was called “a nice place to grow potatoes,” by Cosmos and German great Frank Beckenbauer.

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The Lancers boasted many fine players during their time, including Carlos Metidieri, aka El Topolino, the only player to win back-to-back NASL MVPs and scoring titles, goalkeeper Dick (Mr. Zero) Howard, who backstopped many shutouts, one-time Cosmos and New York Arrows goalkeeper Shep Messing, and the mercurial striker Mike Stojanovic, who was never afraid to speak his mind. Dave Sarachan, who went on to become coach of the U.S. men’s national team years later, started his professional career with the team.

And that’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg of countless tales about the Lancers. Sorry, I’m not going to tell you anymore. You will have to read the book to discover the rest.

There also are “cameo” appearances by a few names that might be familiar to you, including Pele, Gordon Banks, Giorgio Chinaglia, Johan Cruyff, Joe Machnik among others.

If you want to read a detailed look about American pro soccer history when the seeds of the 21st century were planted, ALIVE AND KICKING is up your alley.

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