The Top 5 Books for Soccer Fanatics
Olé, Olé, Olé! A soccer fan is like no other – born and bred to celebrate their culture through sport. If you find yourself contributing to this mania, believing there are two things in life—soccer and everything else—then this year is your year. Hello, World Cup 2014.
Here to add to your World Cup experience are 5 books that every fanatic should own:
- Eight World Cups: My Journey through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer (By George Vecsey)
Blending witty travelogue with action on the field—and shady dealings in back rooms—New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey offers an eye-opening, globe-trotting account of the last eight World Cups.
- GOAL! (by Sean Taylor, photographs by Caio Vilela)
Whether in Tanzania or Togo, Burma or Brazil, children love soccer. Filled with fun facts and striking photos, GOAL! celebrates the sport’s power to bridge cultural divides and bring together the diverse people of the world.
- Brazil on the Rise: The Story of a Country Transformed (by Larry Rohter)
New York Times reporter Larry Rohter takes the reader on a lively trip through Brazil's history, culture, and booming economy. Going beyond the popular stereotypes of samba, supermodels, and soccer, he shows us how a complex and vibrant people defy definition.
- More Than Just a Game: Soccer vs. Apartheid: The Most Important Soccer Story Ever (by Chuck Knorr and Marvin Close)
In the hell that was Robben Island, inmates united courageously in protest, requesting the right to play soccer during their exercise periods. Denied repeatedly, they risked beatings and food deprivation by repeating their request for 3 years. Hailed by the New York Times as "An incredible story that chronicles how soccer helped political prisoners in their triumph of the human spirit," this book shows how the sport served as an impassioned symbol of resistance against apartheid.
- Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-Five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer (by Gwendolyn Oxenham)
At 16, Gwendolyn Oxenham was the youngest Division I athlete in NCAA history, a starter and leading goal-scorer for Duke. At 20, she graduated, the women’s professional soccer league folded, and her career was over. In Finding the Game, Oxenham, along with her boyfriend and two friends, chases the part of the game that outlasts a career. They bribe their way into a Bolivian prison, bet shillings on a game with moonshine brewers in Kenya, play with women in hijab on a court in Tehran—and discover what the world looks like when you wander down side streets, holding onto a ball.
Brazil soccer player image courtesy of Shutterstock.