New book documents Latino immigrant pickup soccer at Mar Vista Recreation Center
By Kamala Kirk
Soccer plays a large cultural role throughout Latin America, and for many Latinos living in the United States, weekend games of soccer at the park allow them to connect and build relationships and a sense of who they are.
David Trouille has spent the past 13 years researching the world of Latino immigrant pickup soccer, which he writes about in his new book, “Fútbol in the Park: Immigrants, Soccer, and the Creation of Social Ties.”
Released on Jan. 12 and published by University of Chicago Press, the book takes readers into the world of Latino soccer players who regularly play in an upscale neighborhood where they are not always welcome.
“I wanted to shed much-needed light on the world of Latino immigrant pickup soccer, a scene that many people only glimpse from afar,” Trouille said. “And the soccer field at the Mar Vista Recreation Center provided an interesting site to study this topic. Here, I learned about how the park became a place for Latino immigrant men to anchor and enrich their lives in a new country. I also wanted to learn more about local opposition to the soccer field installed there in 2005, which exposed lingering hostility towards Latino immigrants’ use of public parks on Los Angeles’ Westside.”
As the United States becomes increasingly polarized over issues of immigration and culture, “Fútbol in the Park” offers a close look at the individual lives and experiences of migrants.
“For anyone interested in soccer, immigration and public parks, this book offers a deep analysis of one vibrant and complex pickup soccer game in West LA,” Trouille shared. “It also shows how Latino immigrant men cultivate a sense of self and belonging in a new, sometimes hostile environment.”
The book is available on Amazon and other online book retailers. The paperback retails for $30 and the hardcover retails for $95.