Whether you're a soccer fanatic or just getting into the sport, these books about soccer are a must-read. From incredible stories about legendary players to in-depth histories of the game itself, these books are sure to keep you entertained and informed.
Some of our top picks include reads from around to world, so you can also get a sense of what it's like to play this popular sport in different countries.
Written by: Joe McGinniss
Castel di Sangro, a small town in the Abruzzo region of Italy, is home to one of the most miraculous stories in sports history. In the early 1990s, the tiny club was on the brink of relegation from Italy's third division. But then something incredible happened.
Led by fiery manager Osvaldo “The Bulldozer” Jaconi, Castel di Sangro went on an improbable run culminating in their first-ever promotion to Serie A, the top level of Italian football.
Their Cinderella story captivated the nation and made them folk heroes overnight. But less than a year later, Castel di Sangro was relegated back down to Serie B – and Bianchi was fired.
This book is an adventure, which characters who have both their strengths and weaknesses, both on and off the field. It is a wonder to read and see how the team could reach such heights and then come crashing back down so quickly.
Written by: Johnathan Wilson
Football tactics have evolved over time, from the early days of man-to-man marking to the more sophisticated formations and systems used in the modern game. Inverting the Pyramid is a detailed history of football tactics, tracing their development from their humble origins to the tactical innovations that dominate world football today.
Written by acclaimed football journalist Johnathan Wilson, this book offers a fascinating insight into how the game has been played over the years. On top of that, Wilson delves into the characters who play, coach, and live the game throughout the sport's history.
If you want to learn about soccer and discuss the game with your soccer-loving friends, then make sure to check this one out.
Written by: David Peace
The Damned Utd by David Peace is a novel about the tumultuous period in which manager Brian Clough managed the English football club Leeds United. The story is based on factual events and provides an inside look at the competitive world of professional sports.
As with most people, Clough mixes the good with the bad: Not only did he need to win, he needed to win using style and flair no matter the cost.
Clough's unique management style clashed with that of the Leeds United board, and he was eventually fired after a mere 44 days in charge. Despite his short tenure, Clough's impact on Leeds United was lasting. This book provides a compelling account of one of the most controversial figures in sports history.
Written by: Eduardo Galeano
Soccer is loved the world over for its simplicity and elegance. The game is played with a simple ball and two teams of eleven players, who try to score goals by kicking the ball into the other team's net.
It seems simple, but there is much more to soccer than meets the eye. He provides insights into the sport's biggest stars and most memorable games, making for an enjoyable and informative read.
In it, you’ll read about how some players have strange superstitions, the history of soccer around the world, and more.
Eduardo Galeano explores the many facets of this beloved sport. He paints a fascinating picture of soccer from its origins to its current popularity that will appeal to both diehard fans and newcomers alike.
The book offers a fascinating look at soccer history, from its humble origins to its current role as a global phenomenon.
Written by: Michael Cox
In this book, Michael Cox tells the story of Premier League tactics from its inception in 1992 to the present day. Drawing on interviews with managers, players, and analysts and first-hand experience of watching games and training sessions.
In doing so, he focuses on the creation of the Premier League tactics. This all started when the backward pass was created and how that changed everything from coaching to management, to the players, and to the game.
At the heart of this, all was the manager, Alex Ferguson. Known as one of the greatest of all time, he took chances that no one else would, and the results could be devastating or spectacular.
Before this, the game was primarily about strength and beating down your opinion. You will see how the game evolved and has become a favorite worldwide because of this incredible league.
Written by: Gwendolyn Oxenham
This book provides an insider's look at the secretive and fascinating world of women's professional soccer. Written by one of the few women to have played in both the amateur and professional ranks, Gwendolyn Oxenham offers a rare view into the challenges faced by female athletes.
This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand both the light and dark of soccer, especially for women.
There are many stories that will enthrall you, such as Fara Williams, who was terrified that her teammates would find out she was homeless, to the classic Russian style of strict coaching, and to Nadia Nadim, who escaped the Taliban and grew up learning soccer in a refugee camp.
The author has written a powerful account of the passion, drive, and sacrifice it takes to make it as a woman in soccer. Her story will inspire readers of all ages to pursue their dreams, no matter how daunting they seem.
Written by: Raphael Honigstein
Jürgen Klopp's rise to fame is a story of hard work and determination. After achieving success as a player, Klopp made his managerial debut in 2001 with Mainz 05. He then moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2008, where he led the club to two Bundesliga championships and one UEFA Champions League final.
In October 2015, Klopp was appointed manager of Liverpool FC, becoming the first German manager in the club's history.
This book provides an in-depth look at Klopp's life and career, from his humble beginnings to his current tenure as one of the most successful managers in world football. Since he has always taken control of his teams, with flair and phenomenal knowledge and skills, you will see a man who refuses to play by the same boring rules as others.
Known for his "Gegenpress,” he never lets up and expects only the best from his players.
Written by: Ronald Reng
In 2009, professional German soccer player Robert Enke committed suicide. This was a tragedy that rocked the soccer world and left many friends and family members grieving. In this book, by his dear friend and award-winning writer Ronald Reng, we are given an in-depth look at the life of this talented but troubled individual.
We see how his upbringing, battles with depression, and career as a professional athlete led to his ultimate downfall. As with many sports stars, the outside almost always looks good and happy. However, the reality is that there can be so much more below the surface.
Given that Enke had so much more in his life but couldn't overcome this feeling of emptiness, it is a heartbreaking story that is sure to leave you thinking about what could have been.
Written by: Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg
In Joshua Robinson's new book, The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, and Most Obsessive Soccer League in the World, he takes a detailed look at how and why the EPL has become what it is today.
This started from its humble beginnings when soccer arenas were falling apart since the owners didn't care and continue to today with it becoming one of the world's most-watched and wealthiest sport.
Drawing on interviews with current and former players, coaches, executives, and journalists from both sides of the Atlantic, Robinson reveals how financial inequality, fan obsession, rampant player trading, and overseas investment have combined to make England's top soccer league by far the most thrilling—and unpredictable—in the world.
Written by: Roger Bennet
Roger Bennet's book is an interesting look at the many reasons why someone might choose to leave their home country and start over in a new one. Bennet himself is a British ex-pat who moved to America, and in his book, he explores the many benefits that come with making that choice. Growing up Jewish in the primarily Catholic area of Liverpool, he never felt like he fit in.
His dream? To come to the USA since he loved all the tv shows, music, and style coming from across the pond. He wanted to enjoy the diverse landscape and opportunities available in the U.S. and get a sense of freedom and openness that comes with being an American citizen.
When a friend invited him to Chicago for a month, he knew that the USA would be his home forever. This will be a walk down memory lane for anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s. It is still a thrill for those who didn't, with lots of humor and touching moments.
Written by: Pele and Brian Winter
Pelé is widely considered the greatest soccer player of all time. He dominated the sport in the 1960s and 1970s, winning three World Cups with Brazil and scoring over 1,000 goals in his career. In this book, Pelé and journalist Brian Winter argue that soccer is more than just a game – it’s a unifying force that can bring people together across cultures and continents.
Soccer can inspire people from all walks of life to come together in peace and harmony, regardless of their differences. From growing up poor, then to be one of the most powerful soccer players in the world, to now working with charity organizations to better the world, this is an inspiring and powerful book.
They make a case for why soccer should be embraced as a tool for social progress, not only in Pele's home country of Brazil but around the world.
Written by: Simon Kuper
Everyone has heard the name Lionel Messi and his club F.C. Barcelona, but very few know the story behind the team and the man. Originally just a regional team, this powerhouse is worth billions of dollars and more like a massive corporation. One of the reasons is the incredible play and personality of one of the greatest stars of all time: Lionel Messi.
Since Messi joined Barca at the incredibly young age of just 13 years old, he has been a star and someone every youngster looks up to. This inside look is one of the scarce chances you'll get to learn about the man and the team because Kuper was given free access.
This book indeed provides a fan with something they will never forget, and also, there is a lot that you can use to motivate yourself and not take anything for granted.
Written by: Megan Rapinoe and Emma Brockes
Megan Rapinoe is one of the most famous soccer players in the world. However, that is just a tiny bit of her and what she means to the everyone living on it. Being raised in a small conservative town in Northern California, she immediately fell in love with soccer as a kid.
Thankfully she had parents who encouraged her love of soccer, but they also held the firm belief that people should give back to the community. In that regard, they raised Megan to help the poor, do volunteer work, and stand strong for others.
She wanted to fight racism, sexism, and genderism, so she refused to go to the White House while Trump was in office. As an adult, she has continued to fight for the underseen and underserved. This includes fighting for equality for LGBTQI people, standing against racism as she knelt in support of Colin Kaepernick, and suing the United States Soccer Federation for gender discrimination.
If you ever feel like you aren't good enough, this book will help you realize that you are good enough, and if you want to join the fight, others will help and support you.
Written by: Raphael Honigstein
In 2006, German football was on the brink of ruin. The team had been spectacularly eliminated from the World Cup, and the country's football federation was in disarray. But just eight years later, Germany destroyed Brazil by a score of seven to one.
This incredible even shows that German football recovered and has become arguably the best in the world. How did this happen?
In this book, journalist Raphael Honigstein tells how German football turned itself around and captured four major trophies in just ten years. Drawing on interviews with players, coaches, and officials from Germany's Bundesliga and international sides, Honigstein shows how German football's unique combination of philosophy, methodology, and discipline led to its resurgence.
Honigstein realizes that the answer isn't only in the nation of Germany but around the world.
Written by: Ken Bensinger
In the Fall of 2015, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced indictments against 14 FIFA officials and associates on racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering charges. This culminated in a years-long investigation by the DOJ into corrupt practices at FIFA, soccer's governing body.
The indictments were based on allegations that top FIFA officials had accepted millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for awarding lucrative contracts to favored companies. It also involved Russian Oligarchs, ex-spies, and of course, the leader of FIFA, Sepp Blatter.
The fallout from the scandal has been massive, with several high-ranking FIFA officials arrested and ousted from their positions. Even after all this, the question remains to be seen if FIFA is now clean or still dirty.