Soccer books arrive regularly at my home, office and sometimes email inbox, a growing collection larger than even the speediest readers could consume. I admire anyone who has the patience and diligence to embark on such writing; I lack the former quality. Periodically, I share some of the long-form work that’s been recently published or will soon be published. For last-minute holiday shopping needs or personal enrichment, here are a dozen that should satisfy your love for the beautiful game:
A Life of Total Football
By Johan Cruyff (Nation Books)
A must-read memoir by the late Dutchman, one of the most revolutionary forces in soccer history, whose influence was felt in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Washington and the rest of the world.
When the Dream Became Reality
The Journey of a Professional Soccer Player, and the Push for Meaning, Purpose and Contentment
By Bobby Warshaw (The Athletes Story)
I reviewed this book in August: “Warshaw’s 260-page work is a terrific read. It’s raw and emotional, introspective and insightful. At times, it’s downright depressing.”
Under the Lights and In the Dark
Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer
By Gwendolyn Oxenham (Icon)
You think major challenges exist for female players here? Wait until you read what it’s like in the rest of the world in this eye-opening account by a former player and well-traveled writer.
The Away Game
The Epic Search for Soccer’s Next Superstars
By Sebastian Abbot (W.W. Norton & Company)
A first-time author follows a group of boys from the dirt grounds of Africa to an immaculate academy in Qatar, where they and their families chase the dream of a pro career.
Angels With Dirty Faces
How Argentinian Soccer Defined a Nation and Changed the Game Forever
By Jonathan Wilson (Nation Books)
From Di Stefano to Messi, the award-winning author of “Inverting the Pyramid” chronicles the evolution of the sport amid social, political and economic change.
The Billionaires Club
The unstoppable rise of football’s super-rich owners
By James Montague (Bloomsbury)
The true forces behind modern-day soccer are no longer modest local businessmen but the ultra-wealthy, who have purchase elite clubs for purposes beyond sport.
Bring the Noise
The Juergen Klopp Story
By Raphael Honigstein (Nation Books)
The author of the critically acclaimed “Das Reboot” profiles one of the most colorful, charismatic and passionate figures in the game, Liverpool’s German-born manager.
Touched by God
How We Won the Mexico ’86 World Cup
By Diego Maradona and Daniel Arcucci (Penguin Books)
The brilliant, belligerent superstar takes us behind the scenes of Argentina’s championship campaign, detailing “Goal of the Century,” “Hand of God” and Azteca joy.
What We Think About When We Think About Soccer
By Simon Critchley (Penguin Books)
An English philosopher and Liverpool supporter takes an intellectual dive into the sport, explaining what makes it so compelling and what it tells us about, well, us and society.
From Delhi to the Den
The Story of Football’s Most Traveled Coach
By Stephen Constantine (deCoubertin books)
A soccer vagabond, who is currently guiding the Indian national team, recounts priceless adventures in Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia.
Footballer, Philosopher, Legend
By Andrew Downie (Simon & Schuster)
A Brazilian correspondent for Reuters profiles one of the most unique players of a generation, a man who transcended the game and pursued social and political causes.
Bigger Fields Await Us
The Scottish Football Team That Fought the Great War
By Andrew Beaujon (Chicago Review Press)
Washingtonian magazine’s senior editor tells the story of more than a dozen members of Scottish club Heart of Midlothian joining McRae’s Battalion fighting in World War I.