Contrary to popular belief, everything did not always come up roses for every North American Soccer League team when Pele and the Cosmos ruled the roost so many years ago.

In fact, many a team struggled to find ways to get by.

Case in point:

The Rochester Lancers.

Award-winning writer Michael Lewis has a written a book that doesn’t glamorize those days for the upstate New York soccer team.

ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers details the ups and downs of a team that helped save the league from extinction and struggled to stay alive during the glory days of the NASL.

The Lancers went through 21 coaches in their 14 years in the American Soccer League and NASL, played in the longest game in soccer history, a 176-minute marathon and were the first American professional soccer team to represent this country at the Concacaf Champions Cup 50 years ago.

Lewis’ book has received some rave reviews.

“@Soccerwriter’s fantastic history of the Rochester Lancers. Important & entertaining work by a real-life legend,” The Athletic’s Pablo Iglesias Maurer wrote.

“Lewis discovered an abundance of compelling, occasionally bizarre personalities and events to write about during a rollercoaster ride that saw the Lancers play a role in helping professional soccer gain a foothold in the United States,” Scott Pitoniak said of his review in the Rochester Business Journal.

“This is an exhaustive, game-by-game account of the Lancers’ unlikely life and eventual decline, but there are enough absurd characters and bizarre stories here to usher you through the excess of detail,” Soccer America’s Ian Plenderleith wrote. “It’s the textbook to hold up when someone asks, ‘Just what was it like to run a struggling pro sports franchise in the 1970s?’ It was hard-scrabble survival, from first day to last, but with plenty of tales to tell of a typical team in that era. We played, we fought, we lost, we squabbled, and then the next week we came back and tried all over again. Who says the best stories are about the teams that win?”

If that has intrigued you, you might want to read more about the Lancers’ many adventures that was written by the editor of

Here is how you can buy this book: