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Soccer Lovers' Best Ever Soccer Book Guide: Finding the Game

Soccer Lover's Best Ever Soccer Book Guide

SoccerNationNews' newest column on book reviews has been a huge hit with our readers. The Soccer Lover's Best Ever Soccer Book Guide will now start publishing new book reviews every two weeks, so check back often and start discovering what books to add to your library.

This series reviews and rates books that teach, describe and document the beautiful game. Look for a wide variety of books and helpful insight from players who have been there and done it on the pitch. Here is a book for a youth player that is a joy to read.

Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer

SoccerNation News Soccer Lover's Guide to Best Soccer Books

Finding the Game by Gwendolyn Oxenham


Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer

Written By Gwendolyn Oxenham

Published by St. Martin Press

Why is this book so important to read? 

This is the journey of soccer away from the perfectly manucured fields.

If you have ever dreamed of traveling the world, exploring different cultures and witnessing how soccer bonds the globe together - then you must read this book by Gwendolyn Oxenham.  Soccer is the heart, passion and sport for the entire world and Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer literally takes the reader on a marvelous journey. 

At sixteen, Gwendolyn Oxenham was the youngest Division I athlete in NCAA history, a starter and leading goal-scorer for Duke. At twenty, she graduated, the women’s professional soccer league folded, and her career was over.

What's a girl to do? Go find pick up games somehwere in the world. Oxenham and her boyfriend embarked on an amazing advernture that readers can share in Finding the Game.

In the book, Oxenham, along with her boyfriend and two friends, chases the part of the game that outlasts a career. They bribe their way into a Bolivian prison, bet shillings on a game with moonshine brewers in Kenya, play with women in hijab on a court in Tehran—and discover what the world looks like when you wander down side streets, holding on to a ball.

A gifted writer, Oxenham has received her MBA from Notre Dame in Creative Writing and was awarded the Nicholas Sparks postgraduate fellowship. 

And yes, this adventure was made into a film. Did you see the movie PELADA?  Click here for more information

I love the concept, loved the movie and loved reading the book.

Amazon describes Finding the Game: “Across two dozen countries—from back alleys to remote beaches to the roofs of skyscrapers—an eye-opening journey into the heart of soccer. 

Every country has a different term for it: In the United States it’s “pickup.” In Trinidad it’s “taking a sweat.” In Brazil it’s “pelada” (literally “naked”). It’s the other side of soccer, those spontaneous matches played away from the bright lights and manicured fields—the game for anyone, anywhere.

An entertaining, heartfelt look at the soul of a sport and a thrilling travel narrative, this book is proof that on the field and in life, some things need no translation.”


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Editor's Note to Publishers: Please submit book review requests by email and review copies to our Mailing Address. Thank you.

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