Best Books: Recommended reading from SA interviewees 12/06/2021 – Soccer America


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Jim Piddock
1. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
2. The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy by Joe McGinniss
3How to be a Footballer by Peter Crouch
4. Cherries in the Red: How One Football Fan Saved His Club and Became Its Chairman by Trevor Watkins
5. My Story: From Foster Home to Footballer by Mark Bright
. The Damned United by David Peace

Hollywood’s Jim Piddock on helping save Crystal Palace, goalkeeping on Broadway, and the charm of Ted Lasso

Simon Kuper

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Only a Game by Eamon Dunphy
Brilliant Orange by David Winner.

Simon Kuper on seeing Messi’s Barcelona impact up close, the Cruyff phenomenon, and Soccernomics’ latest twists

Glenn Crooks

1. Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson
2. Pep Confidential by Martí Perarnau
3. Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs by Guillem Balague
4. Zonal Marking From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer by Michael Cox
5. The Ugly Game: the Qatari plot to buy the World Cup by Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert

Glenn Crooks on his broadcasting career, New Jersey soccer culture, the youth landscape, and coaching Carli Lloyd in college

Steve Cangialosi

The Italian Job: A Journey to the Heart of Two Great Footballing Cultures by Gianluca Vialli and Gabriele Marcotti
Das Reboot: How German Soccer Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World by Raphael Honigstein 
The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy by Joe McGinniss
Steve Cangialosi on broadcasting the Red Bulls, soccer vs. hockey, and the 2026 World Cup boost

SA Library Holiday Gift Ideas: 2021 Soccer Books
Books we reviewed, reported on, or excerpted, this year may very well help you find presents for your soccer family and friends. They included memoirs from one of the greatest players in MLS history and from a previous American soccer era — the NASL’s Cosmos. The latest by Simon Kuper, also interviewed recently  by Arlo Moore-Bloom, follows from behind the curtain the glory of Barcelona to its current dire straits. 

From Ian Plenderleith’s review of The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making – and Unmaking – of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club by Simon Kuper:
“The author set out to write a book exploring what has made Barcelona so special, and the chapters on the Cruyff and Messi years are a captivating read. In tandem with the Masia and its sensitive nurturing of small, skillful players, the two men have been central to Barcelona’s reputation and success. Kuper’s research, however, coincided with the fall … that has gone hand in hand with bitter intra-club political turmoil.”

From Mike Woitalla’s review of DeRo: My Life by Dwayne De Rosario with Brendan Dunlop:
“The DeRo book is attractive to longtime North American soccer fans who will enjoy insight on being teammates with the stars of those days and his positive and negative experience with coaches. It’s also a well-crafted account of a childhood that includes fear, love and fortitude in world unique to most of us. In other words, it’s a rewarding read beyond the sports.”

SA Library (Memoirs & Biographies)

From Ian Plenderleith‘s review of I’m With the Cosmos: The Story of Steve Hunt By Steve Hunt with Ian McCauley:
English winger Steve Hunt was among several young players to counter the notion that the North American Soccer League was a place where diminishing stars of the 1970s came for cash, high times, and to boast that they had played alongside Pelé, Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer. Just 20 years old when he was sold to the New York Cosmos by his hometown club Aston Villa, Hunt thrived during the league’s peak years and was named MVP in Pelé’s last ever game as a pro, the 1977 championship final against the Seattle Sounders. … Hunt settles a few scores, praises his family and friends and some old teammates, and is refreshingly free and undiplomatic with his opinions.

From Ian Plenderleith’s review of: Sidelined: Sports, Culture and Being a Woman in America‘ by Julie DiCaro:
“Julie DiCaro’s inspiration for the book came “because I realized, somewhere around year two of my six years working in sports media, that whatever issues women have in society in general, they’re amplified by a factor of about a million in sports. Women who work in the industry swim in a toxic stew of gender inequality. Often it seems as if no one cares.” … The book covers numerous areas where men in clubs, leagues and media organizations need to do better.”

From Ian Plenderleith’s review of The Hard Yards: A Season in The Championship, Football’s Toughest League by Nige Tassell:
“Tassell has a real knack for prompting his subjects to say something interesting about the game. … The voices in this book make should prompt the reader to take a closer and much more regular look further down the English league pyramid. Just below the over-hyped, self-styled ‘greatest league in the world’ is one of the hardest, but also most variable and intriguing flight of 24 soccer teams — hovering between the extremes of six-time European champions Liverpool FC, and what in English soccer are commonly referred to as ‘the likes of Lincoln City.'”

The New Way of Soccer: Skill + Instinct + Mentality = Success by Dominik Voglsinger & Thomas Mangold, 2021 ($9.99 Kindle Edition)
The 5 Worst Punishments
Four ideas to foster discipline
Mind your body language

From Mike Woitalla’s review of What Happened to the USMNT: The Ugly Truth About the Beautiful Game by Steven G. Mandis & Sarah Parsons Wolter:
“Make what you will of the book’s theses and theories — and whether there’s truly an “ugly truth” — the account of the USA’s recent soccer history, its players and their backgrounds delivers a trove of thought-provoking information.”

Roger Bennett on ‘Reborn in the USA,’ fandom based out of love, and the demise of Eurosnobs by Arlo Moore-Bloom
Roger Bennett’s new book debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Bennett rose to fame in the last decade as half of the Men In Blazers soccer show on NBC Sports.

2020 Soccer Books: SA Library holiday gift ideas