Let the games begin! Books about soccer, South Africa, and the World Cup

Posted by Otis Chandler on June 11, 2010
The World Cup, the worlds most popular sporting event, kicked off today. The World Cup first took place in 1930, and has had 18 winners. It's a special event, bringing the world together and honoring the planets most popular sport: soccer - or as most of the world calls it, football.

In honor of that we took a look at what Goodreads has to help members that want to learn more about the World Cup, or soccer, or even the history of the host continent, Africa.

One place to start is with books that members have shelved as soccer books (130) or football books (367). There are definitely great titles in these lists.

By the way, did you know 42 of 45 English speaking countries that participate in FIFA call the sport Football? Australia even just changed from soccer to football in 2005. Even though the word "soccer" originated in England, Football is clearly the global name - I just wish there were a better name for that other sport we have here in the US - anyone got any good ideas?

There are at least two listopia lists that have some great books as well. The
first is a list of books about South Africa or Soccer. There are many good titles here, but the one that stuck out to me is The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer by David Goldblatt. This is a 992 page book that tells "the full story of soccer's rise from chaotic folk ritual to the world's most popular sport". One Goodreads reviewer said: "Like most Americans, I grew up with an indifference (some would say ignorance) to the passions of global football. For a variety of reasons, within the past two years I have found the sport to be one of the most fascinating expressions of athletic art and have, in my own way, become a devotee of the phenomenon."

The World Cup being in Africa is of course a great excuse to read some of the great books set in that continent. The Best African books is full of classics that shouldn't be missed, such as The Poisonwood Bible, Heart of Darkness, Out of Africa, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, The Power of One, and so many more!

Please let us know in the comments what your favorite soccer books or Africa books are!


Here is a montage of books from the list South Africa World Cup 2010:

Brilliant OrangeHow Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of GlobalizationThe Ball is Round: A Global History of SoccerSoccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in PowerSoccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular SportSpudCry, the Beloved CountryInverting the Pyramid: The History of Football TacticsFever PitchBloody Confused!: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English SoccerThe Glory Game: The New Edition of the British Football ClassicGarrincha: The Triumph & Tragedy of Brazil's Forgotten Footballing HeroThe Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of ItalyLong Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson MandelaWinning at All Costs: A Scandalous History of Italian SoccerLife and Times of Michael KBrilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch FootballDisgraceAjax, the Dutch, the WarEl Diego: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest FootballerKhayelitshaFeet of the Chameleon: The Story of Football in AfricaHow to Score: Science and the Beautiful GameON PENALTIES.European Fields: The Landscape of Lower League Football

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Nenangs (last edited Jun 11, 2010 03:01PM) (new)

Nenangs Because that other sport is much closer to rugby than football/soccer, why don't we call it American Rugby instead...:)


message 2: by Otis (new)

Otis Chandler Lol. I like that. Not sure most Americans will though!


message 3: by Phayvanh (new)

Phayvanh I haven't read any books from South Africa in a while, but the books that still stay with me are:

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
My Friend Matt and Hena The Whore by Adam Zameenzad.


message 4: by Marc (new)

Marc Hibberd What If? by R M Skillen. It has Alex Ferguson and George Graham having a punch up. PRICELESS


message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha Sipe oh, i love sports! But I myself could not find good books about soccer. my replacement was esportsbetstar.com because I love doing everything sports and esports related in my free time. would be happy to see actual recommendations


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