All books below are rated 4 stars (out of 5) or above. Rather than assign star ratings to each book, we'll only include write ups on books we feel are worth reading.
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"Gods of Soccer" by Roger Bennett, Michael Davies, and Miranda Davis: One of the best books about soccer, this is a great gift option for the casual fan or the die-hard alike. Interested in learning more about the best soccer players ever to play the game? The book ranks the top 100 soccer players of all-time and is sure to spark plenty of debate.
"Masters of Modern Soccer" by Grant Wahl: Wahl was a world-famous soccer journalist who died unexpectedly during the 2022 World Cup. What makes this book great is that Wahl spent time with some of the best soccer players in the world to provide unique insights, fun stories, and often unexpected anecdotes. One of the best books for soccer fans.
"Wolfpack" by Abby Wambach: Wambach is one of the greatest women's soccer players of all time and two-time Olympic gold medalist. In this book, she goes beyond soccer to provide some powerful leadership for women around the world. Her four calls to action: · Make failure your fuel: Transform failure to wisdom and power. · Lead from the bench: Lead from wherever you are. · Champion each other: Claim each woman’s victory as your own. · Demand the effing ball: Don’t ask permission: take what you’ve earned. If you're in to soccer player books straight from the horse's mouth, this is a gem.
"Golazo" by Andreas Campomar: One of the best books on soccer, Campomar takes readers on a fascinating journey of the role soccer plays in Latin America. Did you know that games often became deadly in early times? There's a lot of soccer history in this book, as well as relevant cultural tie-ins. Perfect for the die-hard soccer fan!
"The Club" by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg: This is a fun book on the business of soccer in Europe. Selling players for millions of dollars wasn't always an accepted practice nor financially feasible. Buying a European soccer club wasn't always considered a "can't miss" investment. The authors present a lot of research but with a nice flow to it. If you're interested in sports management and the business of sports, this would be towards the top of my list.
"One Life" by Megan Rapinoe: This is a deeply personal memoir about one of America's great soccer players. Rapinoe open about her sexuality, decision to kneel during the 2016 national anthem, and lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation over gender discrimination and fair pay. This is one of those books that will challenge your own ideals and the actions (or inactions) that you've taken to make the world a better place. If you enjoy books written by soccer players themselves, check this one out.
"Why Soccer Matters" by Pelé: Arguably the greatest player of all time, Pelé shares his experiences in the game, reflects on how soccer changed his life, and where he sees the game going in the future. A three-time World Cup champion and scorer of 1,283 goals, Pelé was absolutely breathtaking to watch, and this is an easy book to read for every fan that cares about the game.
"Soccernomics" by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski: This is actually a book series, with Kuper and Szymanski releasing new versions during World Cup years. Kuper is South African/British and has written 40 books as of this post, with many centered on soccer. The two authors go beyond the matches and into politics, money, and the powerful people that steer the sport. This is a world cup book for people that love soccer, as well as soccer history. We also featured this book on our list of best sports business books.
"How Soccer Explains the World" by Franklin Foer: This was named one of the five most influential sports books of the decade by Sports Illustrated. Foer tells soccer stories from around the world and connects them to how those countries are viewed in a broader sense. Soccer isn't simply a game in many places: it defines the local attitude. One of the best soccer books of all time with a unique bend on the history of the game.
"When Nobody Was Watching" by Carli Lloyd: Carli Llloyd's been a fixture on the US women's soccer team for years, but it wasn't always that way. Lloyd almost gave up the sport in 2003 but was able to re-dedicate herself, rediscover her talent, and most importantly, put in the work when others doubted her. This is a tremendous soccer player book about perseverance and surrounding yourself with people that see your potential. We also included this book in 4 of The Best Sports Books for Your Teen Daughter as it's appropriate for young adults.
"Quiet Leadership" by Carlo Ancelotti: Ancelotti could be the greatest soccer manager of all time. With five Champions League titles to his name, he opens up his approach, mistakes, and methods that earned the trust of famous footballers such as David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Cristiano Ronaldo. One of the best soccer books for coaches, I'd recommend this for leaders at all levels as Ancelotti's wisdom is applicable beyond the soccer field.
"Inverting The Pyramid" by Jonathan Wilson: A fascinating read about the history of the beautiful game and how different strategies came to be. Would recommend for those interested in international soccer but also as one of the best soccer coaching books for all levels. Don't read this right before you go to bed because it's written in a way to make you think (and keep you up)!
"Red Card" by Ken Bensinger: This book is half soccer book and half detective mystery, as Bensinger tells the story of the 2015 FIFA scandal that rocked the global soccer community. What started as a small IRS review of an American soccer official's tax returns eventually became a global corruption case. A good soccer book for adults that enjoy the sport with a bit of drama mixed in.
"Soccer IQ" by Dan Blank: Dan Blank has been coaching high-level soccer for more than 20 years. While a lot of books on this list are about people, historical events, or corruption in the game, this book is all about broadening your knowledge of the game and becoming a better soccer player. The book was so popular that Blank actually wrote a second version, which was published a couple years after the first one. If you're looking for a resource to help with skill development, understanding the rules, and developing a better feel for "how" to play the game, I'd strongly recommend this book. It's also very much appropriate for young adults.
"How to be a Footballer" by Peter Crouch: Crouch retired in July of 2019 after 20 years on the pitch. A few months later, he released this hilarious book about things that only he would know having been on the field and in the locker room. Crouch pokes fun at players, coaches, and himself. This book was so well received that he released a Part 2 in 2020. Is this the best book on soccer? Maybe or maybe not. But, I'll guarantee you'll laugh as you turn the pages.
"Messi" by Guillem Balague: Looking for new soccer books? This is a brand new biography (published in March 2023) about arguably the best footballer ever. Balague had access to Messi, his friends, teammates, and family, and puts it all together in the most updated biography on the market. If you're a Messi fan (or even if you're not), you'll gain an appreciation for the man and his journey to greatness.
"The Nowhere Men" by Michael Calvin: I've always been intrigued by scouting, as in how do professional teams uncover the next hidden gem? Michael Calvin writes a fantastic book about the lonely life of scouts, who often are unnoticeable, yet are responsible for the most asset on any professional sports team: the players.
"Raised a Warrior" by Susie Petruccelli: At it's core, this is a soccer book, but it's really a call to action for the inequalities in sports. Petruccelli documents her journey as someone who loved the game, but as injuries derail her career, her purpose starts to shift based on her experiences as a female athlete. As a dad to little girls, this was an eye-opening and powerful story to why opportunities matter. Some books I add to a list; this would be one where I'd say "read it right now" and take some time to think about how you can level the playing field in your own community.
"One" by Peter Schmeichel: This man is a legend, having won five Premier League titles during Manchester United's incredible run in the 1990's. This book has a good balance between life on the field and life off of it, and Schmeichel does a nice job of telling his side of the tale (always the sign of a good autobiography).
"The Ball Is Round" by David Goldblatt: This book has become famous for its detail: 992 pages of history, politics, culture, and how it all weaves together. If you enjoy sports history and have some reading stamina to you (or are going on a long vacation), check this out.
"Fever Pitch" by Nick Hornby: Hornby is a die-hard soccer fan and writes an entertaining memoir of sorts about his own fandom but also the role that sports can play in a community. This book was actually made into a movie, but ironically enough, the American version was changed to be about baseball instead of soccer. Films aside, this books has gotten it's fair of share of press as the best book on soccer. My opinion? It wouldn't be on this list if it wasn't good; I'll leave it to you to determine if it's the best.