Capturing the Savage Glory of 1970s Soccer

The Age of Innocence: Football in the 1970s is a photographic tribute to the wild days of the world’s most popular sport.

Yes, American soccer fans are suddenly the loudest guys in the sports bar, but all those Dempsey and Altidore jerseys don’t represent the first wave of American fandom.  In the seventies, Pele went from winning the World Cup to tearing apart the North American Soccer League, and fields across the states were thick with would-be strikers. The new Taschen book The Age of Innocence: Football in the 1970s captures the era during which soccer became a global phenomenon so popular even Americans couldn’t look the other way.

The book hones in on football’s cultural import – from its impact on global style to its influence on politics – with spectacular images from what many believe to have been the sport’s true golden age. The work of major photographers like Neil Leifer, who captured Brazil’s glorious run in Mexico, and Terry O’Neill pop off the page. There are sideburns, short shorts, and rare portraits of athletes off the field. 

The Age of Innocence:Football in the 1970s will be released on August 24, but is available for pre-order now.

Photo: Peter Robinson / Press Association / TASCHEN

Johan Cruyff, wearing a New York Cosmos shirt, is approached by an autograph hunter, 1978.

Photo: Mirrorpix / TASCHEN

Bobby Moore relaxes on Copacabana beach during a vacation in 1971.

Photo: Allsport / Getty Images / TASCHEN

Pelé celebrates Brazil’s triumph at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico with Ado, one of the squad’s reserve goalkeepers.

Photo: Horstmüller / SZ Photo / TASCHEN

Günter Netzer gives Berti Vogts and Jupp Heynckes, two of his Borussia Mönchengladbach teammates, a tour of his second nightclub in Mönchengladbach.

Photo: Mondadori / Getty Images / TASCHEN

Dino Zoff and the rest of Team Italy arrive home after their early elimination from the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.

Photo: Press Association / TASCHEN

George Best stands outside his fashion shop in Manchester. In 1970, he had several boutiques in the city.

Photo: Roger Parker / Fotosports International / TASCHEN

Paolo Rossi, the Italy striker, sends a spectacular header towards the goal during the 1-0 win over Argentina, which meant his team finished above the hosts at the top of their first-round group.

Photo: Courtesy of TASCHEN

Photos by Neil Leifer / Sports Illustrated / Getty Images / TASCHEN