By Joshua H. Nadel
University Press of Florida
"From the time it arrived in the region, soccer has helped the nations of Latin America grapple with the thorniest challenges that they have faced. The sport has acted as a space both to assert identity and to question authority. It aided in creating a sense of unity in Uruguay after the decades of chaos resulting from independence as well as after the upheavals of modernization and development. So too soccer helped Brazil and Argentina forge national identitites by integrating elements of their populations – whether poor immigrants, as in the case of Argentina, or people of African descent, in the case of Brazil. In the same way, soccer assists us in understanding the complexities of corruption in Paraguay, the many promises of development in Mexico, or the changing ideas about gender throughout the region."