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May 17, 2021

We admit that when our friends at Liverpool's deCoubertin Books reached out recently with an advance look at their upcoming title devoted to the history of one of England's most venerable top-flight soccer clubs, we weren't immediately sold on the premise, nor its applicability to our (admittedly) odd brand of sports curiosity.

But after just a few minutes with the meticulously detailed "Toffee Soccer: Everton and North America," we became not only intrigued by the rich, storied saga of Everton F.C.'s 143-year journey into what is now known as the English Premier League - but downright fascinated with its surprising contributions to the development of the game in North America.

Toffee co-authors David France and Rob Sawyer join the podcast this week to shine light on the little-known, but undeniable connection between the "Blues" and the rise of the modern-day pro game in the US & Canada.

From the club's unexpected 1961 runner-up finish in the influential International Soccer League, to its subsequent supply of dozens of top players to the foundational North American Soccer League of the 70s/80s, to its recent embrace of world-class American players like Landon Donovan and Tim Howard - the "People's Club" has been an unwittingly integral part of soccer's Stateside history - far beyond Goodison Park.