Reading Material - Five Soccer Books You Should Be Reading

So that title isn't 100% correct. These five books are what are currently in my reading queue at the moment. All are soccer inspired, so as soccer fans, maybe you should be reading them too. Or at the very least, you should know about them so you can make a decision about whether or not you want to read them. Let's start from the top of the pile:

Buckminster's Ball

This one sounds heavy. According to the review on Amazon:

Everit Tyshinski wants to die. By gun, accident, heart attack, drowning-he doesn't care how, he just wants it to happen. Life is too hard without the woman he loves. Tyshinski finds himself operating in a painful version of purgatory: drinking, smoking, eating at McDoogle's, and sleeping most nights in his van. It is this death wish that leads him to take a job coaching soccer at Thomas Paine High School, which serves one of the toughest neighborhoods in North Philadelphia. If ever a place might afford the opportunity to be murdered, this is it, he figures. What happens, though, isn't a death but a rebirth. As he coaches a motley crew of misunderstood kids, Tyshinski finds within himself a strength that once was lost.

See, heavy stuff. But, there seems to a story of redemption here. When all is lost and hope is gone, somehow a high school soccer team gives this character the guidance and desire to keep on keeping on. I'll be digging into this book soon. I think I just need to prepare myself for what sounds like a pretty heavy storyline.

Available at Amazon

Money And Soccer - A Soccernomics Guide

Ever read Soccernomics? If you haven't, you really should. Like, you really, really should. Anyway, back to this book. This book is written by the co-author of Soccernomics and this digs into topics that surround money and the beautiful game. On the cover of the book it states this:

Why Chievo Verona, Unterhaching, and Scunthorpe United will never win the Champions League; Why Manchester City, Roma and Paris St. Germain can; and why Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United cannot be stopped

Seems super logical. I don't think anyone would ever think that Unterhaching is going to win the Champions League. But this book is all about breaking down how money ultimately decides the success of clubs around the world. There is more money than ever in the sport so having a better understanding of the role that money really has in the sport seems like some really good info to have as soccer fans. 

Available at Amazon

The Bundesliga Blueprint

I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Most soccer fans know that German soccer is at an all time high. 15 years removed from crashing out of the 2000 European Championships, German soccer is changing the game. After that tournament Germany set about radically changing their footballing system with a plan to return to the top in ten years. And they have done that! The German national team, the Bundesliga and the players that Germany is producing is as good as it gets. 

This book delves into that 10 year plan and what it involved. The commitment to youth development, the number of foreign players allowed on teams, building clubs without debt, etc. I haven't even opened the book yet (just read the back cover) and I already sense that this might be a book that anyone involved in soccer should read.

Available at Amazon

Worst in the World - International Football at the Bottom of FIFA Rankings

This is another one I am really looking forward to reading. If the Bundesliga Blueprint breaks down how German soccer rebuilt itself and became the powerhouse it currently is, well this book explores the opposite side so to speak. From the back cover:

For footballing countries stuck at the bottom of FIFA's - life can be hard. Sporadic fixtures against far better equipped sides can be a soul-destroying enterprise with frequent defeat sometimes bordering on humiliation, the regular outcome for these teams and their players. But when that positive result finally arrives, it can mean so much: unbridled joy, national glory, and even...redemption.

In Worst in the World, Aidan Williams looks at the national teams at the wrong end, so to speak, of FIFA's rankings. In doing so, he brings attention to those nations whose footballing aspirations lie not in trophies or even qualification, but simply in the love of the game and the pride of representing their country. 

How can you not love everything about that description? People playing soccer for the love of the game and the pride of their country? I am so with all of that. This book clocks in at 139 pages so I think this is going to be a quick and enjoyable read. This is a weekend read for sure!

Available at Amazon

The Game of Our Lives

I've been sitting on this one for almost a year. I know this because there is a date on the side of when it was sent to me. My bad!

But I'm really excited about this one too. I am a big fan of how soccer and the broader culture of a specific time or place can influence one another. And this one sounds like it dives deep into the topics. According to the back of the book:

The Game of Our Lives is a masterly portrait of contemporary Britain through the lens of soccer. In the last two decades, soccer in the United Kingdom went from a peripheral dying sport to the very center of popular culture, from an economic mess to a booming entertainment industry that has conquered the world.

Sounds interesting, right? I'll be honest - I didn't know that roughly twenty years ago soccer in the UK was on such a decline. This appears to be a pretty meaty book that might take a bit of time to get through. But who knows. It could be one of those that you just can't put down and that you stay up way too late at night because you want to get through "one more chapter." (I'm not the only one who does that, right?)

Available at Amazon