I visited my local library last week in pursuit of some books for my children. But while I was watching them thumb through the pages, I had a flashback. Shortly after I arrived in the United States in 1984, I remember visiting the main branch of the city library in West Palm Beach, where I sadly found only a handful of books on soccer. I can’t picture what books were on the shelf in ’84, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them was written by Paul Gardner.
A lot has changed between 1984 and 2011 especially in how popular soccer has become in the United States. So, to judge how the game has grown over these 27 years, I performed an unscientific test. Before my kids were ready to check their books out with the librarian, we made a detour to the non-fiction section of the library. After a quick search, we found the soccer books and I was pleasantly surprised to see approximately 30 soccer books on the shelf. It was an assortment of books on how to play soccer, tips on soccer drills, star players and the history of the game. But among those books, I was pleased to see such classics as The Ball Is Round, Soccernomics and Soccer In A Football World.
There was no Inverting The Pyramid, but I was still pleased to see an assortment of books, many of which were recent. However, those 30 books represent just 0.02% of the books at my local library (out of 140,000 books). While I don’t expect that percentage to change much in the near future, let’s hope the number of soccer books does increase.
Have you searched your local library recently for books on soccer? If so, what was the selection like and were there any great finds you discovered? Have you seen an increase in the quantity and quality of soccer books at your local branch? Share your stories in the comments section below.
If you love reading about soccer, check out our Ultimate Guide To Football Books.