Monday, 22 Jul 2024

10 Soccer Books That Will Deepen Your Understanding of the Game

If you’re a passionate football fan looking to expand your knowledge of the beautiful game, there’s no better way to do it than by diving into a good book. With a plethora of options available, covering everything from tactical analysis to historical accounts and personal stories, there’s something out there for every type of reader.

In this article, we’ll explore a wide range of soccer topics, from the origins of association football to the evolution of tactics in recent years. We’ll also recommend books that delve into the emotional and passionate side of being a football fan. So, whether you’re a tactical enthusiast, a history buff, or simply someone who loves the game, there’s a book for you.

#1. David Goldblatt – The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football

If you’re looking for a comprehensive history of football’s growth and influence across the globe, then David Goldblatt’s “The Ball is Round” is a must-read. This book explores the social and cultural significance of the sport in different parts of the world, highlighting some of the most memorable moments in football history. It’s a highly informative and engaging read that captures the joy and beauty of the game. You can find it at most online bookstores, including Amazon and Waterstones.

#2. Simon Kuper – Football Against the Enemy

In “Football Against the Enemy,” Simon Kuper takes a unique anthropological approach to understanding the game. By examining the ways in which football shapes and is shaped by national, political, and cultural identities, Kuper offers a fascinating exploration of the sport’s global impact. From his travels to 22 countries, including South Africa, Italy, Russia, and the USA, he delves into how football has shaped each nation’s distinctive style of play. This book is a thought-provoking and illuminating read that sheds light on the power of football as a medium of expression. Check it out on Amazon.

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#3. Floodlit Dreams – Football She Wrote: An Anthology of Women’s Writing on the Game

It’s no secret that women have played a significant role in the history of football, despite facing numerous obstacles along the way. In “Football She Wrote,” an anthology edited by Floodlit Dreams, the incredible stories of women’s soccer over the past century are celebrated. From pioneering players and coaches to the challenges they’ve overcome, this book shines a light on the accomplishments of women in the game. It features contributions from renowned writers like Gabby Logan, Ali Rampling, Suzanne Wrack, and many others. This engaging and inspiring read is available on the website of football magazine When Saturday Comes.

#4. Ken Bensinger – Red Card: FIFA and the Fall of the Most Powerful Men in Sports

The FIFA corruption scandal that surrounded the initial awarding of the 2022 Qatar World Cup shocked the world. In “Red Card,” Ken Bensinger provides an in-depth account of the scandal’s details, uncovering the bribery charges and the individuals involved. This gripping read takes readers inside FIFA’s core, painting a vivid picture of the key figures whose reputations were tarnished, as well as the American FBI and IRS agents who exposed the corruption. If you’re interested in exploring the darker side of the sport, this book is a must-read. Check it out on Amazon.

#5. Jonathan Wilson – Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics

For those fascinated by the tactical side of football, “Inverting the Pyramid” by Jonathan Wilson is a must-have. From the early formations of the sport to modern tactics like gegenpressing, Wilson provides a comprehensive analysis of how soccer tactics have evolved over the years. This book is widely regarded as one of the most enlightening studies on the subject, making it essential reading for any tactics enthusiast. You can find it on World of Books and other reputable sites.

#6. Dan Blank – Soccer iQ: Things That Smart Players Do

If you’re looking to improve your soccer coaching skills or gain insights into the mind of a player, then “Soccer iQ” by Dan Blank is the perfect guide. This easy-to-read book covers various aspects of the game, from hunting rebounds to playing in challenging weather conditions. Blank offers simple solutions to common mistakes and problems players face, providing valuable advice for both coaches and players alike. Whether you’re an aspiring coach or a player looking to enhance your understanding of the game, this book is a valuable resource. It’s available in paperback or audiobook format on Amazon.

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#7. Michael Cox – The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nine

“The Mixer” by Michael Cox offers readers a fascinating insight into the evolution of tactics in the Premier League since its inception in 1992. Cox explores the different approaches taken by notable managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Kevin Keegan, Jose Mourinho, and Arsene Wenger. This informative and entertaining book highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each tactical style, providing a comprehensive understanding of the shifting landscape of British football. You can find it on Amazon and World of Books.

#8. Suzanne Wrack – A Women’s Game: The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Women’s Football

Suzanne Wrack’s “A Women’s Game” is a definitive history of women’s football, spanning from the Victorian era to the present day. This book traces the popularity of the sport, its subsequent ban in the UK and other countries, and its recent resurgence. Whether you’re interested in playing, coaching, scouting, or analyzing the women’s game, this book is an essential read. You can find it on Amazon and various other sites.

#9. Leo Moynihan – Thou Shall Not Pass: The Anatomy of Football’s Centre-Half

If you’ve ever been fascinated by the role of the center-back in soccer, “Thou Shall Not Pass” by Leo Moynihan is a must-read. Moynihan provides an in-depth exploration of this position, complete with interviews from professional players like Virgil Van Dijk, Jamie Carragher, Tony Adams, and Steff Houghton. From heading and tackling to leadership and lunging, this book offers unique insights into the often underappreciated art of being a center-back. You can find it on Blackwell’s, World of Books, and other bookselling websites.

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#10. Nige Tassell – The Bottom Corner: Hope, Glory, and Non-League Football

For those interested in the less glamorous side of football, “The Bottom Corner” by Nige Tassell is a captivating journey into the world of non-league football. This book explores the grassroots level of the game, shedding light on the clubs and communities outside of the professional leagues. It’s an insightful and enjoyable read that provides a different perspective on the sport. Head to World of Books to grab a copy.

In conclusion, these ten soccer books offer a diverse range of perspectives on the beautiful game. Whether you’re interested in history, tactics, personal stories, or the women’s game, there’s a book that will cater to your interests. By delving into these pages, you’ll deepen your understanding of football while enjoying fascinating insights and stories along the way. So why not pick up one of these books, expand your knowledge, and enrich your love for the game? Happy reading!


Q1: Where can I find these soccer books?

These soccer books can be found on various online platforms such as Amazon, Waterstones, World of Books, and the websites of football magazines.

Q2: Are these books suitable for both coaches and players?

Yes, many of these books offer valuable insights for both coaches and players. Whether you’re looking to improve your coaching strategies or enhance your understanding of the game as a player, these books have something to offer.

Q3: Are there any books focused specifically on the women’s game?

Yes, “Football She Wrote: An Anthology of Women’s Writing on the Game” and “A Women’s Game: The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Women’s Football” provide in-depth coverage of women’s soccer, highlighting the contributions of women throughout the history of the sport.

Q4: Are these books suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! These books cover a wide range of topics and cater to readers with varying levels of knowledge and experience. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned football fan, there’s a book on this list that will suit your interests and expand your understanding of the game.