On the Pitch: Books about soccer (Go, Sounders!)

I am a thematic reader – I love to read summer books in the summer months, books chock full of snow in the winter months, books about family during the holidays and about love around Valentine’s Day. This, as an avid soccer fan and supporter of the Seattle Sounders, means that this time of year I am reading about soccer. Soccer memoirs, soccer sociology, soccer history.

Won’t you join me?

In advance of the March 2 Sounders home opener, here are three soccer-related titles:

finding the game -- at SPLWhen the professional women’s soccer league folded, Gwendolyn Oxenham realized she would never play professionally in the US. So she set out to find a game of pick-up soccer – all over the world. For three years Oxenham and three friends travelled to 25 different countries, seeking out informal soccer games everywhere they went. Read all about it in Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer.

Why is soccer so vital in Juárez, Mexico, one of the most dangerous cities in the world? Join Robert Andrew Powell for a meditation on community, identity and fandom in his book This Love is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Cuidad Juárez.

During World War II, Germany used soccer and other competitive games as vehicles of diplomacy; even in occupied countries, soccer retained a kind of hallowed position. They did, however, require that soccer teams be purged of all Jewish players, managers, and owners. Simon Kuper examines how this played out in one specific place, with the Dutch team Ajax, in Ajax, the Dutch, the War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe’s Darkest Hour.

Interested in more? Check out the full list here.

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