There are less than 20 days till Christmas which in the eyes of Amazon fulfillment is an eternity. So, we thought we would recommend some books for the soccer lover in your life. These are our favorites we have read over the last year. The list includes soccer fiction, soccer non-fiction, as well as travelogues.  We even included the links to Amazon right in the titles because we want to make gift giving as painless as possible for you because HotFooty cares.

Hooper’s Revolution 

by Dennie Wendt

We interviewed author Dennie Wendt on episode four of the Barely Soccer Podcast. Not only did he share his inspiration for his novel he also shared his passion for other soccer books. Check out this great article Dennie wrote on the history of soccer literature.

Hoopers Revolution is full of great descriptions of American soccer in all it’s glory (and ridiculousness) in the 1970’s as well as some spy intrigue, budding romance, and a peek into third division soccer in England. If you listen to our podcast, you know we LOVE us some FA Cup deep league madness. 

Official synopsis of the book on Amazon

“It’s 1976 and the United States is home to The Giganticos, a football super squad led by the one and only Pearl of Brazil, and more or less the only reason AASSA (American All-Star Soccer Association) exists.

Enter Danny Hooper, a third-division English footballer from East Southwhich Albion, whose thuggish reputation limits him to playing the role of enforcer on the pitch, despite his admiration for the artistry of world-class football from Latin America and the Continent. After Danny takes his frustrations out on an unfortunate opponent’s tibia, he finds himself sold to the Rose City Revolution of Portland. But there is more to the trade than a shocked Danny could ever imagine: turns out, he’s going to America not just to introduce soccer to its skeptical masses, but to help foil a communist plot.

What is the plot exactly? What could Danny possibly do to stop it? The future of America’s soccer league, not to mention the life of the world’s greatest soccer player, hangs in the balance; but it is author Dennie Wendt’s pure love of the game, and his poetic sideline accounting of the Revolution’s season, match by match, that will leave you cheering at the end.” (Amazon)

Soccernomics – (2018 World Cup Edition): Why England Loses; Why Germany, Spain, and France Win; and Why One Day Japan, Iraq, and the United States Will Become Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport

by Simon Kuper

This book is a nice light read. Good for the beach and the paperback will roll perfectly into a stocking. All those little questions that we ask ourselves on the podcast and take zero time to research ourselves…this book answers them.

Official synopsis of the book on Amazon

Why doesn’t the United States dominate soccer internationally? And how can it?
Which is the best soccer nation on Earth?
Who has the most passionate fans?
What impact does soccer have on suicide rates?
Which sport will dominate the Earth? NFL or the English Premier League?
Why are the people who run soccer clubs so dumb?

These are some of the questions every soccer fanatic has asked. Soccernomics answers them all. Written with an economist’s brain and a soccer writer’s skill, it applies high-powered analytical tools to everyday soccer topics, looking at data and revealing counterintuitive truths about the world’s most loved game. It all adds up to a revolutionary new way of looking at soccer that could change the way the game is played.

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy

by Joe McGinniss 

I am a big travelogue guy and I love visiting smaller towns in Europe, so this book really struck a chord with me. McGinniss is a Boston based writer who ends up befriending an entire small Italian village and it’s club. His stories are very funny and he openly admits to how awkward he was interacting with people.

We always wonder what the deep divisions are like in England, but this book sheds light on Italy’s lower leagues. We reviewed this book on an episode of the The Barely Soccer Podcast, check it out. 

Official synopsis of the book on Amazon

Master storyteller Joe McGinniss travels to Italy to cover the unlikely success of a ragtag minor league soccer team–and delivers a brilliant and utterly unforgettable story of life in an off-the-beaten-track Italian village.

When Joe McGinniss sets out for the remote Italian village of Castel di Sangro one summer, he merely intends to spend a season with the village’s soccer team, which only weeks before had, miraculously, reached the second-highest-ranking professional league in the land. But soon he finds himself embroiled with an absurd yet irresistible cast of characters, including the team’s owner, described by the New York Times as “straight out of a Mario Puzo novel,” and coach Osvaldo Jaconi, whose only English word is the one he uses to describe himself: “bulldozer.”

As the riotous, edge-of-your-seat season unfolds, McGinniss develops a deepening bond with the team, their village and its people, and their country. Traveling with the miracle team, from the isolated mountain region where Castel di Sangro is located to gritty towns as well as grand cities, McGinniss introduces us to an Italy that no tourist guidebook has ever described, and comes away with a “sad, funny, desolating, and inspiring story–everything, in fact, a story should be” (Los Angeles Times).

A Season With Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Characters 

by Tim Parks

This book was recommended to us by Chuck Harper of the Chrome Bills Podcast.

This book is also a travelogue style, but unlike McGinniss who spent a season in Italy, author Tim Parks spent 20 years in Italy. Being more acclimated with the people and the culture he takes more time to show his understanding of the fans whereas…McGinniss is a little bit more of a state of culture shock at first.

Official synopsis of the book on Amazon

The author of Europa and Hell and Back offers a personal account of his relationship with Italy, its people, and its national sport from the perspective of his beloved Verona soccer club–as well as its fans–as it travels around Italy competing with other teams.

Fever Pitch

by Nick Hornby

This book was recommended to us by Author Dennie Wendt. He considers this one of his favorite books so by all means it makes the list. Little did I know that this was the story that got ripped off for the Jimmy Fallon movie. As a Red Sox fan…I have no comment. This is on our personal list to read in 2018.

Goodreads Synopsis

In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. No pads, no prayers, no prisoners. And that’s before the players even take the field.
Nick Hornby has been a football fan since the moment he was conceived. Call it predestiny. Or call it preschool. Fever Pitch is his tribute to a lifelong obsession. Part autobiography, part comedy, part incisive analysis of insanity, Hornby’s award-winning memoir captures the fever pitch of fandom — its agony and ecstasy, its community, its defining role in thousands of young mens’ coming-of-age stories. Fever Pitch is one for the home team. But above all, it is one for everyone who knows what it really means to have a losing season.

Red Men: Liverpool Football Club The Biography 

by John L. Williams

If you are a fan of Liverpool this is a must read. As a Red’s fan here in the states I will never have a a sense of belonging to the club like I do in with my teams in other sports. I reached out on twitter about which book to read and the Scousers came back in unison with this recommendation.  If you read this book you will get a close as possible to becoming a true kopite…from this side of the Atlantic.

Here’s the official synopsis of the book on Amazon

John Williams explores the origins and divisive politics of soccer in the city of Liverpool and profiles the key men behind the emergence of the club and its early successes in this unique and exhaustively researched history of Liverpool Football Club. The figures of the club featured here include the first great Liverpool manager, Tom Watson, who piloted the club to its first league championships in 1901 and 1906 before taking the club to the FA Cup final in 1914; Elisha Scott, the darling of the Kop in the 1920s; and, of course, Bill Shankly, who won that elusive first FA Cup in 1965. The recent tragedies that have shaped the club’s contemporary identity are covered, as are the new Continental influences at Liverpool, and, of course, the glory of Istanbul in 2005. This is the definitive history of a remarkable club from its formation in 1892 to the present day, told in the wider context of the social and cultural development of the city of Liverpool and its people. Containing a wealth of rarely published photographs from every era of the club’s history, this book is sure to appeal to the club’s global fanbase.