You are here

Back to top

No Helmets Required: The Remarkable Story of the American All Stars (Hardcover)

No Helmets Required: The Remarkable Story of the American All Stars Cover Image
Hard to Find


The remarkable story of 20 young American football players, convinced to compete internationally in rugby—a game they’d never heard of


In 1950s Los Angeles, entrepreneur Mike Dimitro convinced a group of young American athletes to fly around the world playing rugby league, a game that was entirely new to them. Miraculously, the American All Stars competed with the best Australia, New Zealand, and France had to offer, and shocked the locals with some stunning victories. This story tells not only of the media circus and celebrity adventures, but also the All Stars’ fights and flings, tragic illnesses, and farcical court cases. Dimitro’s mission to establish a rugby league in the United States failed in spectacular fashion—though one All Star went on to win the Super Bowl, one became a Hollywood stuntman, and another an Olympic champion. The emergence of their remarkable story coincides with the United States’s first ever qualification for the Rugby League World Cup, in 2013.

About the Author

Gavin Willacy is the author of three previous sports books including Rugby League Bravehearts. A sports reporter for 20 years, he now works in sports management and writes freelance for publications such as the Independent, League Express, Rugby League World, Sunday Times, and When Saturday Comes.

Praise For…

"A superb book. Retold in a gripping and unique manner. Absolutely staggering ... littered with fascinating and unique insights. Highly recommended for any rugby league fan and even non-followers of the sport could not fail to be captivated."  —Rugby League World

"It sounds like something straight out of Hollywood. Truly remarkable. The layout is absolutely beautiful: unlike anything I've ever seen in a sports book."  —James Deighton, BBC Radio Leeds

"No Helmets Required is an amazing story, one I've never heard before and I love it when that happens. It's a fantastic book."  —Matt Williams, BBC Radio 2

"There have been several candidates for the greatest rugby league story never told ... for sheer off-beat fascination though, there is nothing to beat the story of the American All Stars of 1953, and Gavin Willacy has done them more than justice by shining a light into a dark corner. No Helmets Required took him ten years to research and write and it shows, because it is a magnificent piece of work. A fitting memorial to a gang of young men, Willacy tells their story vividly and makes it a satisfying read which I would recommend to any enthusiast."  —Dave Hadfield, Forty-20 magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9781909178472
ISBN-10: 1909178470
Publisher: Pitch Publishing
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Pages: 256
Language: English