Author: Robert Hay

Top 20 soccer book recommendations

In compiling this feature on the top 20 soccer book recommendations, I realized that one of the privileges I’ve had over the years is to review books for World Soccer Talk. And the number of books I’ve read has shown me that the market for really good soccer reading has increased. I’ve created my list of my top 20 soccer book recommendations, or a list of those books you must read if you have the time. The list below is subjective, admittedly, but as someone who has read A LOT of different types of books over the years, I feel ... Read more

Book review: On The Field With USWNT stars

When I looked at the background of author Matt Christopher, what struck me was the depth of his work. He published over 100 books, almost entirely on sports. Some of his previous books were on athletes I admired when I was growing up, so I immediately appreciated where his new book focuses and why. While I may have missed it in his massive catalog, this is the first time a nonfiction book in his series focused on multiple athletes. That decision raised in my mind a question. On the Field with Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh gives ... Read more

Review of ‘The Quiet Fan,’ Ian Plenderleith’s latest book

When we think of great books about soccer fans, we think of the fanatics. Fever Pitch – which spawned a soccer AND baseball movie – tells the story of a fan so passionate about Arsenal it almost ends his romantic relationship. A Season with Verona is about an American writer following his adopted Italian team around Italy. The greatest books about soccer fans are about those who live the Shankly quote about soccer being much more than life or death. Ian Plenderleith takes a different and honest approach in his newest book. The Quiet Fan does tell the story of ... Read more

Jonathan Wilson tackles how Hungarian soccer shaped the modern game

When reading about the global history of soccer, inevitably the Hungarian national teams of the 1950s comes up. One of the greatest soccer teams ever, the post-WWII Hungarians humbled the English and taught the world a new way to play soccer. Yet so little is known about how the Hungarians became so good at soccer besides the generally incorrect assumption that the English and Scots taught them the game. The truth is more complicated and deep, and acclaimed journalist Jonathan Wilson reveals why in-depth studies of the Hungarian soccer revolution are not common. The Names Heard Long Ago: How the ... Read more

Review of book ‘Zonal Marking: From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer’

In life, it takes time to create successful ideas and concepts. Scientists and researchers spend years, even decades, analyzing and studying data to create trials or a study before publishing the results to the world. Making bold claims like a certain food additive can cause cancer or the trickle of water in the Arctic is a precursor to global warming is not something that can be thought, tested, and announced definitively in a matter of months. Soccer managers, however, cannot rely on thorough trial and error to change. With an average tenure of about one year, depending on the league, ... Read more

Book review: ‘The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Changed Soccer’

The 2015 World Cup validated the idea that the Women’s World Cup was a must-see event in the United States. The U.S. team became stars, TV ratings were through the roof, and not since 1999 had women’s soccer been a cultural phenomenon. Since then, women’s soccer has maintained a presence if at times uneven, and the popularity of girl’s soccer rises. But like 1999, 2015 did not happen in a vacuum. We know how the women’s team did in the Olympics and World Cup, yet the behind-the-scenes machinations were just as important to the long-term success of this team as ... Read more

Stanley Matthews documentary chronicles one of greatest soccer players of all time

Stanley Matthews is a legend of the game of soccer. That is not up for debate. However, there is a debate as to whether his greatest impact on the game is on the pitch or off. Most people know him for wearing the England shirt or his FA Cup medal or winning the first Ballon d’Or. Yet his history of teaching the game, even today, presents a legacy that alone would place him among the greats. Veteran Hollywood producer Ryan Scott Warren cuts no corners in putting together the documentary Matthews: The Original No. 7 for Amazon and DVD. The ... Read more

Review of ‘SoccerWomen’ book: A chance to remind yourself of women soccer history

In the U.S. soccer world, the women’s game has more success than the men’s game, but rarely does it receive more attention than the men’s. This month and the months to come may change that. As the men’s team transitions to another coach and generation of players, the women’s team prepares for what may its most challenging World Cup ever. This month is also Women’s History Month and the month the USWNT players decided to file suit against their own federation for pay discrimination. All of that is to say now is a great time to relearn how far women’s ... Read more