We here at Soccer Minnows want to wish all our readers a wonderful new year and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017. If you are anything like us, you have already been making resolutions and determining how you will change your life for the better (ours = bullet journaling). We are here to help by recommending ten books on smaller soccer clubs to read in 2017.
As you know, there are a dearth of truly amazing soccer movies. It’s the exact opposite in the book world. As international writing has become more accessible and leagues more closely followed, those of us in the States have more access to writers from around the world than ever before. Online booksellers allow us to “point and click” to deliver high-quality content to our mobile devices or dropped off at our doorstep.
That is a long way of saying that there are a ton of incredibly quality books we are not recommending here. Instead, we will focus on those about smaller teams or leagues, which is our specialty. Want to add or subtract any? Please add them in the comments section below.
How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer
This is a first stop for the new soccer fan who wants to expand their experiences beyond just the Premier League and MLS. Foer is an excellent U.S. journalist who takes a geopolitical perspective and applies it to the beautiful game. Not all the stories are on minnows, but it’s a good baseline to explain some of the dynamics at play in soccer leagues.
The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer by David Goldblatt
Again, this is more comprehensive, and you should plan on dedicating at least a week of nonstop reading to get through it. But Goldblatt gives an incredibly well written and engaging history of the sport.
The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro by Joe McGinniss
We’ve discussed how overrated this book is, but if you haven’t read it, you should. It’s a good baseline book for all soccer fans but especially those pulling for a small club.
A Season with Verona: A Soccer Fan Follows His Team Around Italy in Search of Dreams, National Character, and… Goals! by Tim Parks
This is a much better version of the McGinniss book and a bit more modern. Parks gives a detailed account of his time in Italy and supporting Hellas Verona, another small club that tries to stay afloat in Italy’s top league and struggles against supporters of rival Chievo.
Soccerwarz: Inside America’s Soccer Feud Between MLS, NASL, and USL by Kartik Krishnaiyer
Yes this book is a site supporter, but it is also a must read during this time of upheaval in the U.S. soccer pyramid. This is the type of inside-the-boardroom information you will rarely see in print.
The Lost World of Coventry City (Got, Not Got) by Derek Hammond
A good peak into fandom of a smaller English side that, if you lived in England, would not be considered a minnow!
Soccer Travels: One Man. One Journal. One Beautiful Game. by Drew Farmer
Farmer is a excellent soccer journalist and his first book is a reflection on his travels throughout the world. My only complaint is that this book is not longer!
Soccer Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper
There are few better journalists than Kuper and this book like Foer’s reviews soccer’s geopolitical side. This is not a book to read if you want to feel good about the beautiful game but a necessary one to read to see the whole breath of soccer’s impact on society.
Behind the Curtain by Jonathan Wilson
Another great soccer journalist travels around Eastern Europe and reports on how soccer is impacted by and changes society. The book is written in light of these countries’ recovery from the Cold War as well as the downfall of countries like Hungary in international soccer.
The Fix by Declan Hill
This is another book that should not be your first read as a new soccer fan, but it is an essential read. Author Hill risks his life to give a thorough reporting of how invasive gambling interests have infested soccer and can tarnish the beautiful game.