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Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  150 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Across two dozen countries—from back alleys to remote beaches to the roofs of skyscrapers—an eye-opening journey into the heart of soccerEvery country has a different term for it: In the United States it’s “pickup.” In Trinidad it’s “taking a sweat.” In Brazil it’s “pelada” (literally “naked”). It’s the other side of soccer, those spontaneous matches played away from the b ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by St. Martin's Press (first published November 28th 2011)
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Ryan
Dec 19, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Brittany
This book was a number of things. It was a story about making a movie - the travels involved in visiting 25 countries to film pick-up soccer games. I loved the first part, where they were working on a grant and traveling through South America, sleeping on floors and playing lots and lots of soccer.

It was also the story of a changing relationship - the one between the author and soccer. This game had been and continued to be her passion, her identity, and yet she was growing older, finding other
...more
Beau
Feb 10, 2013 Beau rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports, soccer
Definitely not a substitute for her breathtaking film "Pelada," but a worthy companion piece. For a while, the book repeats much of the documentary, but we get a peek behind the scenes of the film. We learn more about her and her relationship with Luke, but we also meet the other two filmmakers and how they worked together to make the film.

It's not written in the same style as your typical soccer book -- most of us aren't grad students in creative writing! Sometimes her ornate style seems like o
...more
Colby
Oct 22, 2013 Colby rated it liked it
I like/love pick-up soccer, and this book was all about that all over the world. The ending had the most resonance for me when she wrote (after not getting taken for the women's pro league) that in the end she was playing soccer for her and not anyone else. i can relate. still like to kick some ass however. The writing was good, not great, and there was a bit too much of her diary-esque part about her falling in love and boyfriend, but rest was fun.
MacK
Nov 27, 2014 MacK rated it liked it
I spent many a teenage summer day with nothing but my older brother, a ball, a vaguely defined goal in our back yard hedge, and a little brother who was willing to be goalkeeper. As far as Montana felt from the rest of the world, in that spirit we were right there with everyone else.

That's the spirit that inspired author, filmmaker and former collegiate soccer star Gwendolyn Oxenham to take off on an around the world trek to see and play the game in as many countries as possible. With her boyfr
...more
Julie
Aug 27, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oxenham played soccer at Duke and hoped to play professionally, but she graduated just when the WUSA (women’s professional soccer league) folded. A couple of years afterwards, along with her boyfriend and two college friends, she set out to make a documentary film about informal pick-up soccer games in other countries. I’ve heard good things about “Pelada” and hope to see it soon; I’m interested to see how they wove a narrative from what (in the book) end up being unconnected serial episodes. ...more
Katie Johnson
Sep 14, 2012 Katie Johnson rated it really liked it
A good read about how to take your love of something and use it to see the world. The story is about a couple of accomplished soccer players, the games they found and the people they met traveling around with a soccer ball, all while shooting a documentary, "Pelada".
It's definitely from a woman's perspective as she continually verbalizes her insecurities, which may be annoying to a man, but I can appreciate. If you can relate to any universal passion; music, climbing, kayaking, food, etc., you
...more
Kay Mcgriff
Jan 06, 2016 Kay Mcgriff rated it really liked it
Oxenham and three friends travel the world in search of pickup soccer games. They hope–and find–that soccer opens doors and creates connections with people around the world. I have learned to enjoy watching soccer as my daughter played through the years. I knew soccer was popular around the world, but I had no idea of the allure this game has in other countries and for the people who love it. Everywhere they go (so far South America, Europe and the Middle East), they find new friends by jumping ...more
Melyssa
Aug 09, 2013 Melyssa rated it liked it
I read this book because it was the common read for the college where I work. I'm only a casual soccer fan so it got a little repetitive for me, but I liked the idea of going around the world and finding common ground. The most interesting chapter for me was the visit to Iran, and I also liked David Beckham's cameo toward the end.
Steven Walker
Apr 10, 2014 Steven Walker rated it really liked it
Great writing. Fascinating concept ( a travelogue built around the sport of soccer). You don't have to love soccer to enjoy the book, but you will appreciate it all the more if you are a fan of the beautiful game.
Cole Alpaugh
Jul 10, 2012 Cole Alpaugh rated it it was amazing
Came across the book long after I'd watched the documentary. Both are brilliant. Ms. Oxenham's passion for the beautiful game translates well to her writing and I look forward to her next book. Highly recommend.
Dheerja
Aug 01, 2012 Dheerja rated it really liked it
Great book, even better movie. Must see Pelada, absolutely amazing story of pickup soccer around the world.
Nadia
Oct 03, 2013 Nadia rated it really liked it
Loved this book ... but then I love soccer! I highly recommend to anyone who has a passion for the game.
Dean Burrier Sanchis
Aug 01, 2014 Dean Burrier Sanchis rated it it was amazing
Particularly enjoyed reading about so many different places I would love to travel to in the future. It is also worth noting the journey and growth of the author as a writer. Highly recommend.
Phillyfanatic888
Sep 17, 2012 Phillyfanatic888 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly written,
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Oct 06, 2012 Kara rated it really liked it
Great book written by a Duke grad with an appreciation for soccer, culture, travel, and life!
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