ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers, is a hit with readers and soccer fans.

Michael Lewis’ latest book, about the life and time and adventures of the North American Soccer League team during the early modern day of professional soccer from 1967-80, has received praise from critics and observers of the sport.

Here is just a smattering of what has been said and written about the book, which is available for $25.99 on

A Great Book on the early days of American Division One Soccer – The Rochester Lancers

This is a wonderful book–no doubt a great labor of love–which describes the first effort to build professional soccer in the United States through the old North American Soccer League. From 1967 until it collapsed after the 1984 season, this crazy, wild, upstart Division One league fought to find its place with American sports fans content with football, baseball, basketball, and hockey.

The lens of American soccer is seen through the Rochester Lancers, a team Michael covered for many years.

The Rochester Lancers were a team that fought for survival, both on and off the field. For far too many years, people who remember the NASL see it as a league comprised of the Cosmos–and everybody else. While the “other teams” were undercapitalized, bled cash, and paid horrible wages, those who took to the pitch or found themselves in the front office did it for the love of the game.

Rochester’s story — like Michael’s book — provides was a far more accurate time capsule of what soccer looked like back in those early days. Michael ably demonstrates that teams like the Rochester Lancers had a more interesting story to tell.

The great miracle of the Rochester Lancers is that they survived as long as they did. For many years, the franchise teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, relocation, players stuck at the U.S. border with visa issues, a Portuguese superstar who failed to show up, and fans who took to the field and rioted against their own team. They fought amongst themselves on and off the field. The home stadium was a “Charley Brown Christmas Tree” type of arena, aged, in disrepair, but the soccer was good, and the level of play continually improved.

Regardless of the challenges, the Rochester Lancers were ours and we loved every minute of it—just like I loved every minute of the book.

– Felicia McBarton


Thoroughly researched and enjoyable

An amazing and entertaining history of the Lancers. It really brought back memories as Michael reviewed the team year by year. I found it really interesting remembering the players and management of the club through the years. It was great for Rochester to actually have a Major League team to call their own. I frankly didn’t think this much Lancers’ history even still existed! A magic time in city history and told in a very entertaining style.

— Charles J. Sauer


A detailed story!

What a great book! Very detailed about the beginning of pro soccer in Rochester. As a Norwegian who became interested in the NASL in the late 70s – and since has collected a lot of stuff from that league – it was very interesting to get this inside look at the Lancers soccer club. Great work!

Jan Reinertsen, Norway


The definitive book about the Rochester Lancers

First, I must admit that I am married to the author. I am also the editor of the book. So let me just say that after reading the book four times, I know more about the team than I ever thought I would.

Having met some of the players and people involved in the team, it was great to read the stories of the start of the team, and the good fortune as well as the foibles.

Soccer, back in the day, was so different than it is now.

I know that Michael has a great love for the Lancers and you can tell that in his writing.

After getting to know the team so intimately, I can say that I feel the same way.

This book is comprehensive and historical, but the stories and characters are compelling.

There is drama, humor, and sadness, which makes for a good read whether you are or aren’t a soccer fan.

I’m so glad to be a part of this project, which was definitely a labor of love.

— Joy Rubenstein


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FOR YOUR SUMMER READING: An entertaining book about the Rochester Lancers and an education about the early days of the modern pro soccer era