2020 Soccer Books: SA Library holiday gift ideas

These soccer books published in 2020 cover several parts the international game, American women's soccer, and coaching advice beyond the Xs and Os.

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The Game by Stuart Roy Clarke with John Williams (Relegation Books Hardcover)


ReviewA handsome and charming book: 'The Game' vividly celebrates British soccer's glorious tradition 
Stuart Roy Clarke notes that he wants his photos to share 'the smells and the sounds of the crowd,' and his genius is that he finds deeper meaning, something more incisive, while doing so. There's the swarm of faces in Liverpool's Kop, with one young man smiling as he flips off the camera. Another Reds fan, a 'mum' decked out in full kit, pushes a baby stroller along the sidewalk the day after the 2005 'Miracle in Istanbul.' A young boy peeks around a wall too high to see over to glimpse the action at Matlock Town. A woman pulling a small cart on a tiny trail walks past two men sitting on a fence with their dogs watching a game from behind a goal. That's just a start. -- Scott French

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"2012: The Year That Saved Women’s Soccer" by Beau Dure (2020).

Review: "2012: The Year That Saved Women’s Soccer"
The players include future World Cup winners Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe, Meghan Klingenberg and Becky Sauerbrunn. The WPSL Elite League set the stage. Dure makes the case for how crucial that competition ended up being for the women's game's future. The details he relays and the players' memories he conveys makes this a book for soccer fans to relish. And thanks Dure's account, a fascinating phase of the sport that flew under the mass media's weak radar for women's soccer, unless it's a world championship, now has its place in the annals. -- Mike Woitalla
Read an excerpt HERE.

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"Football's Black Pioneers: The Stories of the First Black Players to Represent the 92 League Clubs" by Bill Hern & David Gleave  (Conker Editions)

ReviewBlack player history in England: Who broke through first at the 92 clubs and the prejudice they had to overcome
This book is a reminder of how things once were, and a stark warning that we must never return to those days," writes former Nottingham Forest and England defender Viv Anderson in the book's foreword. Right now, we need as many warnings as we can raise up the mast and flag to the world. Racism in soccer is no longer expressed in the overt and crass manner of the twentieth century, yet it never really went away. Bigotry just became a more subtle beast in partial hiding, and it's always waiting in the wings for an opportunity to make a full-on ugly comeback. -- Ian Plenderleith

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One Life by Megan Rapinoe with Emma Brockes (Penguin Press)

Review: Megan Rapinoe Has a Lot More to Say
“One Life,” tracks the arc of her political awakening at least as much as it follows the path of her sports career. In the book, we find a thoroughly modern athlete who plays hard and wins a lot of games, then funnels her public profile and social-media following into activism, not just endorsements. ... Yes, important games are reconstructed and injuries recounted. But readers will also learn about redlining and how Black service members were excluded from the G.I. Bill. She writes about the pay disparity between male and female professional soccer players. And her white privilege makes its first appearance in the prologue: 'A small, white, female soccer player — even a lesbian one with a loud voice and pink hair — lands differently in the press than, say, a six-foot-four-inch Black football player with an Afro.'" -- Elizabeth A. Harris (New York Times)

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That Little Son of a B*tch: A Soccer Journey from Tears and Humiliation to National Champions and Hermann Trophy Winner by Billy Gazonas

ReviewThere's plenty to learn about American soccer in the 1970s from Bill Gazonas' inspirational story
An inspirational story of how Bill Gazonas went from an unused freshman in 1974 to the captain of the 1977 championship team. He followed his close friend from Trenton, Glenn Myernick, to Hartwick. ... "That Little Son of a B*tch" is also a remarkably detailed story about American soccer at the youth and college levels in the 1970s, unencumbered by the hyper-organized youth soccer industry that took off in the 1980s.
-- Paul Kennedy.

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"Blood and Circuses: A Football Journey Through Europe’s Rebel Republics" by Robert O’Connor (Biteback Publishing)

Review: 'Blood and Circuses' delves into the post-communist chaos of eastern European soccer
One of the book's several strengths is focusing on the geo-political context without which any study of sport is superficial and irrelevant. It’s the reason why, as O’Connor says, “football clubs in this part of the world will continue to survive on a wing and a prayer.” It’s also a warning to the rest of us that weak and corrupt government, an absence of civic society and democratic institutions, combined with an unchallenged platform for blind nationalism and negative interference from, say, somewhere like the Kremlin, can be ultimately damaging and even deadly for large sections of the populace. -- Ian Plenderleith


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The Farther Corner: A Sentimental Return to North-East Football  by Harry Pearson (Simon & Schuster)



ReviewWise and witty 'Farther Corner' takes us back to England's Northeast
An expensive and often sterile day out at Premier League soccer is incomparable with the experience of sitting in a three-figure crowd and hearing what curmudgeonly pensioners ("stony-faced codgers") are shouting at the referees or the away team's bench. Or seeing the "bulbous, middle-aged man in a beige anorak, swirly, flapping tie and hank Marvin glasses" who feverishly commentates the game's events into a dead mobile phone, pretending to be a reporter. What are these games for, Pearson asks, "if not to offer a safe and soothing haven to the lost, the lonely and the bewildered?" -- Ian Plenderleith

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Clear Coaching: Harness Clarity To Drive Development by Todd Beane

Clear Coaching: Harness Clarity To Drive Development
In a book that emphasizes the value of conciseness and clarity, Cruyff acolyte Todd Beane practices what he preaches, which, along with a generous sprinkling of aphorisms from the wise makes for pleasurable reading. -- Mike Woitalla

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The Transformational Coach: Incorporating Mindfulness for Improved Performance by Greg Winkler (Meyer & Meyer Sport)

The Transformational Coach: Incorporating Mindfulness for Improved Performance
Alarmed by the high rate of children dropping out of youth sports programs, which he attributes to a too frequently flawed approach to coaching, Greg Winkler sets out -- and succeeds -- to help coaches master the qualities that inspire players while delivering the joy youngsters deserve. -- Mike Woitalla

3 comments about "2020 Soccer Books: SA Library holiday gift ideas".
  1. Raymond Flanigan, December 19, 2020 at 7:14 a.m.

    You missed a great one by Billy Gazonas, "That Littke Son of a B**tch" , a must read for every serious youth player, parent and coach who dreams to make the bigtime despite the odds.

  2. Charles Inverso, December 19, 2020 at 9:09 a.m.

    Raymond, you nailed it. Billy's story will inspire any young player to reach their potential

  3. Bill Dooley, December 20, 2020 at 12:31 p.m.

    In the wings for coaches: The Coach’s Guide to Teaching by Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion and Practice Perfect. 


     


    Understanding the learning process is a critical element of effective teaching and coaching. Already “temporarily out of stock” at Amazon (my copy is on its fifth delivery date), Lemov’s latest promises to be a foundational building block of a coaching library, along with Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code and Peakb by Anders Ericsson.

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