Paul James: Cracked Open

So, former player, coach, media personality and Red Nation Online podcaster extraordinaire Paul James has a book coming out today, a self published e-book called 'cracked open'. Go here to buy it and here's Paul talking about the book in his regular RNO podcast. I obviously haven't read it yet, but it certainly sounds interesting. This is an excerpt from a Canadian Press article previewing the book.

Hall of Fame player. World Cup veteran. Former NCAA, university, club and Canadian under-20 coach. TV and newspaper analyst. Paul James's soccer pedigree is long and distinguished. But away from the pitch, James lived a secret hell. For more than a decade, the intense, meticulous coach was a crack cocaine addict who lived in fear that his secret might leak out.
The 48-year-old James, after three trips to rehab, lifts the veil on his addiction in a self-published E-book called "Cracked Open." "In spite of losing so much -- including my soccer employment, my financial security, and, many times over, my dignity -- I appreciate that I should take comfort from the fact in 2012, I am indeed fortunate to be alive," writes James.
James showed The Canadian Press excerpts from the book, which is slated for release Monday. It is a white-knuckle journey through addiction that also holds a mirror up to Canadian soccer. Canadian soccer officials, coaches and players will read the book with interest and -- in some cases -- foreboding. Many of today's Canadian stars passed through James' youth team and some did not behave well.

What? Crack addict? The link is worth clicking for more salacious details of that aspect of it, and I'll give kudos to James for coming out and laying it all bare so publicly. At the same time though, there's plenty of addiction and recovery stories out there, it's the "holds a mirror up to Canadian soccer...many of today's Canadian stars passed through James' youth team and some did not behave well" bit that I'm most intrigued by.

James has always seemed very critical of the CSA and some Canadian players in particular (I'm thinking Dwayne de Rosario) seem to come in for repeated criticism, to the point where he almost comes off as a bitter man holding on to grudges he can't allow himself to let go of. Getting an insight into the CSA's special brand of dysfunction and the bad player behaviour that the review teases at should be very interesting indeed. I'll buy it.

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