52 Soccer Books Every Player, Coach, and Fan Must Read
All great coaches have a bookshelf overflowing with soccer books.
Reading often is one of the absolute best things you can do to improve your knowledge about soccer in general, team-building, relationships, mindset, coaching, and more.
If you're looking for books but aren't sure what to read, you've come to the right place!
Below I've put together a big list of 52 soccer books I believe everyone should read.
Let's get started...
Must-Read Soccer Books:
Soccernomics takes an economist's view on everyday soccer topics, using data to reveal truths that are somewhat counterintuitive.
These topics include why England loses; why Germany, Spain and France win; and why Japan, Iraq, and the United States will one day become kings of the sport.
Soccernomics was named one of the best books of the year in 2018 by big-name outlets such as Bloomberg news, Financial Times, Slate, Independent, as well as Guardian.
Authors Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski take a novel approach to how the game should be played.
Soccer is much more than just a sport to millions of people all over the world.
How Soccer Explains the World dives into that topic headfirst, to shine a spotlight on not just the game, but how it affects civilizations and even the international economy.
Through his studies, author Franklin Foer found he, "kept noticing the ways that globalization had failed to diminish the game's local cultures, local blood feuds, even local corruption."
He takes us through his journey in this book.
Abby Wambach is a FIFA World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist for the United States in soccer.
This soccer book is based on the 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College in New York City, which was a rallying cry for women to unleash their individual power, to unite with their pack, and to emerge victorious together.
Wambach was a co-captain of the 2015 Women's World Cup championships team, and she has been esteemed for her leadership, which she delves into in this book.
Carli Lloyd is a well-known U.S. soccer player who scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the 2015 Women's World Cup final.
While she is known today as a superstar in the sport of women's soccer, she almost quit the game altogether 10 years before her fame.
Back in 2003, she wasn't doing well and felt like her career was at a crossroads.
That's when she found her trainer, James Galanis, who saw the raw skill, talent, and dedication Lloyd had… and the rest is history.
Journalist Caitlin Murray tells the long tale of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team in this book.
But she doesn't just talk about the success that includes three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals.
She also details the poor playing conditions, limited professional opportunities, and low pay.
This story details the national team from the 1980s all the way up to the 2019 World Cup, from the on-field success to the off-field struggles.
Hope Solo is world famous for being the outspoken goalkeeper of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.
She became an icon and role model to many during the team's 2011 World Cup title run.
While she has become a sex symbol, too -- she's been on the cover of ESPN: The Magazine and Sports Illustrated -- she also has a deeper story to tell.
In her book, Solo discusses her life through soccer, loss, family, and reconciliation that not many people know about.
Alex Morgan made her mark on the pitch, becoming one of the top scorers for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.
She started from humble beginnings on local club teams and made her way all the way to the top at two World Cups and Olympic games as well.
In her memoirs, which includes eight pages of photos, Morgan details what has made her the person she is today.
Many consider her a fantastic role model in addition to the athlete possibly best known for wearing that pink headband.
David Goldblatt gives a detailed history of soccer, from discussing some of the top matches of all time to the world's most prominent "footballing nations."
This is one of the biggest soccer books at a whopping 900-pages, and covers a true history of the sport that is so popular across the world.
But Goldblatt breaks up the potential monotony with interesting stories, tidbits, and stunning details.
Goldblatt traveled the world over to write his book, and it comes through with the detail he provides.
The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy - by Joe McGinniss
Soccer isn't all about top clubs and World Cup fame.
Sometimes, there are great stories hidden in lower levels of soccer.
In this book, McGinniss takes the reader to Italy to cover what was an unlikely success story for a minor league soccer team.
The remote Italian village of Castel di Sangro is the setting for his story, and the team made a surprise run to the second-highest-ranking league in the country.
The cast of characters on the team is what makes the book so good, including the owner of the team, who the New York Times said was "straight out of a Mario Puzo novel."
There is a lot of strategy in the game of soccer, and a lot of interesting figures who have created that strategy over the years.
Inverting the Pyramid takes a look at those different strategies, how they have advanced over the years, and how they have influenced the game across the world.
This includes South Americans adding finesse to the game that their colonial rulers in England didn't have, and how individual European skill blended to form the team structure.
Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola's First Season at Bayern Munich - by Martí Perarnau
Bayern Munich is one of the most successful and celebrated football clubs in all the world.
Author Marti Perarnau was given an inside look at the club during its 2013-14 season, and the resulting book is an astonishing story of training and prep work that went into destroying records.
The book details not only Bayern Munich's season with manager Pep Guardiola at the helm for the first time, but talks about players who would win a World Cup with Germany.
Like many other sports, data and information is beginning to change how the game is played.
Soccer's wealthiest clubs are having the game turned on their head by outsiders who are using data, advanced metrics, and detailed analytics to reshape the modern game.
Today, the amount of work being done in the boardroom and on screens is equal to if not more than the work being put in on the pitch.
The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports - by Joshua Robinson, Jonathan Clegg
England's Premier League is undoubtedly the most famous soccer league in the world. It's also the richest and most popular.
But how did it get there?
The Club details not only the sports stories behind this, but also the business stories of money, ambition, and years of drama.
When the owners first started out with the Premier League, they couldn't have imagined what they'd create.
Now, it's hard to imagine the soccer world without it.
IRS agents in the United States review people's tax returns every day of every year.
But not often do they uncover something truly enormous like one agent did a few years ago.
After looking at an American soccer’s official tax returns, the agent eventually uncovered an enormous worldwide scandal in FIFA across the world.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter isn't the only big character in this story.
It also covers a greedy official and a high-living soccer dad from America.
Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl wants to know how some of soccer's greatest figures are able to master the game.
So, he seeks the answers by asking players at every key position on the pitch -- including American phenomenon Christian Pulisic as well as Germany's Manuel Neuer, plus Roberto Martinez, the coach of Belgium.
This is a guide to how modern soccer leaders think and how they are shaping the game today.
Germany has always been known as a great place for young soccer players to develop into superstars.
But how did this come to be so?
Mensch takes a look at the people in the dugout -- the coaches and staff -- across the country and what they do to make the players on the pitch succeed so well.
This book details the training ground as well as the closeness of the coaching community in Germany as a way to uncover what makes it so truly special.
Manager Pep Guardiola was one of the most successful and well-known coaches for one of the most successful and well-known soccer clubs in the world -- FC Barcelona.
In a four-year stretch, the club won 14 of 19 possible trophies, something that hasn't been matched since.
But FC Barcelona has sustained that success after Guardiola left.
How did they do it?
This book details the people and their heart at the center of this success story.
The history of soccer runs deep, and this book by award-winning writer Eduardo Galeano details just that.
From ancient China to Victorian England, traditions run deep in culture.
In addition to great successes and victories, though, there are also tales of heart break and loss in soccer.
Galaeno details those tales, too, including the suicide of a Uruguayan player in the center of a stadium as well as an Argentine manager who wouldn't allow his players to eat chicken because it would bring bad luck.
Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the World's Greatest Sports Rivalry - by Sid Lowe
Some of the world's best soccer players have faced off in this matchup between the fiercest of rivals -- Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Some of those players are Messi, Ronaldo, Guardiola, and Mourinho.
But this has become more than just a game between two teams; it's almost become like war.
This book covers the 100 years of this rivalry, from the games on the pitch to the stories behind them.
This rivalry is about more than just soccer, but also about the culture in Spain.
Morbo is the unique element in Spanish football that gives the flavor to the game.
It's a spirit that makes its way into the rivalry of Barcelona and Real Madrid, to the city of Seville to the Spanish national team.
This book details the successes of the Spanish national team in the World Cup and European Championship, as the players finally lived up to their massive potential.
It also talks about the impact that Jose Mourinho had on the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and on the sport across the nation.
German national goalkeeper Robert Enke apparently had it all, or so it would seem from the outside.
But inside, he was struggling with pain and demons, which caused him to step in front of a moving train in 2009.
Now, his friend and author Ronald Reng tells the full story of Enke, from the successes at some of the world's top soccer clubs to the darker story that lay beneath.
This is a heart-felt story that stays away from being overly sentimental.
Worldwide phenomenon David Beckham shocked the world when he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer in the United States back in 2007.
The challenge was whether his fame and skill could transform American soccer, something no one -- including Pele -- had been able to accomplish so far.
Grant Wahl, a veteran writer for Sports Illustrated, had unprecedented access to the LA Galaxy to cover the Beckham experience.
This book is a tribute to writer Nick Hornby's lifelong passion for the sport of football.
It's a part autobiography and party comedy, but it's a full-on award-winning memoir that captures the essence of fandom worldwide.
It's a coming-of-age story for young men, and details what it means to have a losing season and the effect on all of us.
Brian Clough was known as the British Muhammad Ali, but it wasn't because he was a great boxer.
It was because he was a big-mouthed soccer coach who wasn't afraid to tell people what he thought.
Clough was famous for taking "backwater" teams and turning them into champions.
He was a hard drinker and was scrappy, but he became beloved in the communities he went into and became a hero of sorts.
After years of doing this, though, Clough was offered a job with Leeds United -- a position he held for only a tumultuous 44 days.
Total Football is a term used to describe the bizarrely cerebral form of soccer that finds itself at the heart of Dutch football.
Along with weird architecture and enduring arts of the country, this style of football is what led to the 1974 World Cup final against arch-rival Germany, and was still present in a devastating 2010 loss to Spain.
This book details the mystique behind Total Football and Dutch soccer in general, along with its effect on the country as a whole.
In 2014, German soccer reached glorious heights when forward Mario Gotze took a pass and volleyed it past the Argentine goalkeeper to secure the country's World Cup title.
The last 10 minutes of extra time in the final that year were glorious for Gotze and Germany, but in recent years, it wasn't always that way.
This book details the return of German soccer from poor performance in the late 1990s to this sublime moment in 2014.
How they got there includes trips to America and Germany, and talks with some of the country's top soccer stars.
It might seem odd, but what happened in Holland during the Second World War had a profound impact on soccer in the country today.
The country had the second largest presence of Nazis outside of Germany during World War II, and in no other country except Poland was so high a percentage of Jews deported.
This book details Ajax, the renowned Dutch soccer club that is beloved by Jews in Amsterdam, as a window into wartime in Holland and throughout Europe as a whole.
Johan Cruyff is celebrated as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.
There is no doubt that how he played single-handedly changed how the game was played.
In My Turn, he details his stunning career, which were built on techniques he learned playing in the streets of Amsterdam following World War II as he had hopes of playing for Ajax.
He was the face that led the national team to the World Cup final in 1974, and had a long-lasting impact on the sport in the country and the world.
Brazilian football is at once known for its flair, romance, flamboyance, and unearthly skill.
The sport helps define what Brazil and Brazilians are across the world.
Alex Bellos travels the country to detail why this is, with details from each corner of the large country in South America.
He talks about some of the game's greatest players from Brazil, as well as some of the greatest clubs and greatest matches of all time.
Pele is perhaps the most famous soccer player of all time.
The Brazilian soccer star had a fabulous 20-year career that included three World Cup titles and the all-time scoring record with 1,283 goals scored.
Since he retired, Pele has served as a global ambassador for the sport, promoting it to young men and women in all types of communities in many different nations.
In this book, Pele describes how the recent history of the sport provides new insights into the game he loves so much.
Alex Ferguson is considered by many to be the greatest manager in the history of football in England.
After 27 years of managing the world-famous Manchester United, Sir Alex went out on top -- by winning the Premier League title for the 13th time.
Manchester United has gone through loads of change in the 27 years that Ferguson was at the helm, but he provided a consistent presence and force at the top.
He was so successful because he was able to make in-roads and establish great relationships with star-studded players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham.
Ever wonder what goes into the Premier League?
This book details it all, starting from back in 1992, when the league emerged from a five-year ban from competition in Europe.
Soccer was more about brute strength and physicality rather than pure skill or finesse before that time.
And then, all in one fell swoop, that changed with the Premier League.
At the same time of the creation of the league, the back-pass was abolished -- taking away the get-out-of-jail-free card from defenders and forcing goalkeepers to handle the ball.
This forced tactics to evolve, which came from influences abroad.
Over the last three years, European soccer has developed quite a lot.
This story from Michael Cox, the same author who wrote The Mixer, delves into the different teams, people, and brands that made it happen.
The great part about this story is that just about every nation in Europe played a part, no matter how small or big, in how the sport has developed since the Champions League was rebranded back in 1992.
The book talks about Ajax in the 1990s, to the Italian league in the late 1990s, to Barcelona and other teams after.
Pele is an international icon now, the world's most famous soccer star and an ambassador for the game.
But his life started in the poverty-stricken streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
He once shined shoes for pennies at the Baru Athletic Club, and eventually went on to win three World Cup titles and became the world's all-time leading scorer.
This insight into Pele's life from beginning to end shines new light on the man and legend himself.
Lionel Messi has become the world's foremost soccer player, a start in Argentina and with Chelsea, Barcelona, and Manchester City club teams.
At only 24 years old, he was crowned the FIFA Player of the Year twice, and was even nominated by Argentinian legend Maradona to wear his No. 10 shirt.
In this book, author Luca Caioli talks with his fellow players, coaches as well as his parents and extended family to tell the full story of the Argentinian legend.
Ronaldo is known as one of the world's best soccer players today, and for quite some time now, clubs around the world have fought for his services.
He started from humble beginnings in Madeira in Portugal, but he left there at age 12 to start his path toward greatness.
Manchester United won the first race for his services, and he blossomed into one of the greatest players in the sport today under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson.
He has won the league title three times as well as the Champions League.
It hasn't all been rosy for Ronaldo, though, as he has often been criticized by rivals and even teammates.
Everyone knows the story of Pele and other Brazilian football stars.
But few know the story of Garrincha, who was a legend in his own right.
He rose to stardom in the World Cup final in 1958 between Brazil and the USSR in what became known as "the greatest three minutes in the history of football."
Garrincha had a right leg that turned in and a left hand that turned out, making it look like he could barely walk.
He played for the love of soccer and was not interested in money, ignoring tactical managerial advice along the way.
He became the toast of the 1960s in Brazil along with his wife Elza Soares.
But he died by the age of 40, done in by the excesses that made him famous.
It's hard to fathom how Germany has become such a powerhouse in the world of soccer, especially since it didn't have a national league or any professional players until the 1960s.
But in that short amount of time, the country became one of the world's elite in terms of players and even club teams.
This book challenges the myth that football in Germany is predictable by telling the story of the people who shaped the sport in the country.
Everyone knows David Beckham the English soccer superstar and global celebrity.
But not everyone knows the David Beckham that came from humble beginnings in East End London.
He married a Spice Girl, Victoria Adams, and the couple has become heartthrobs around the world.
But there is much more to Beckham, including plenty of perils that have come from his fame.
Hear directly from him all the trials and tribulations that made him who he is today.
Bobby Charlton defines Manchester United.
He played in more than 750 games over a 17-year career, accomplishing literally everything a soccer player could have in that time.
He tells all the wonderful stories of success, heartbreak, and tragedy in this book, from his own words.
Charlton is one of the greatest gentlemen in all of soccer history, and like any story, the highest of highs are balanced by the lowest of lows.
Harry Redknapp has seen it all in his 50 years of managing soccer clubs.
From practice pitches with trees growing in the middle all the way up to the Championships League and winning the FA Cup, Redknapp taught through it all with a no-nonsense delivery and sense of humor that was unmatched.
In this book, he tells all the stories of his life and soccer, including the controversy and ups and downs in his life -- not just the success stories on the pitch.
Manchester United is one of the most well-known and accomplished football clubs in the world today, but it wasn't always that way.
The club had extremely humble beginnings, starting from its first home in smog-bound mud that was Newton Health and ending in the Theatre of Dreams.
The club has been home to some of the world's best soccer players -- Law, Best, Charlton and Ronaldo -- some of the world's best managers, and accomplished some of the world's best feats, including 18 League titles.
Jim White, an award-winning journalist, brings the story of the club to life in this book.
Hooliganism is alive and on the rise in England, and that's not a good thing.
Despite actually having a lower rate of hooligan activity than countries such as France, Italy, and Germany.
That being said, England gets most of the attention for this activity.
Dougie Brimson takes a look at this new wave of hooliganism in the sport in England with his in-your-face style of writing, drawing on the history and the development of it over the years.
David Goldblatt's all-encompassing visual guide to soccer is here.
This book examines the coaching, tactics, rules, and skills necessary for the sport of soccer, illustrating every aspect of the game in extravagant detail.
This book makes understanding the game easier than ever before.
Goldblatt is an experienced sports writer, journalist, and broadcaster.
He has written other similar soccer books that detail the history of the sport.
Mia Hamm is perhaps the most famous of all the superstars that have played for the U.S. Women's National Team recently.
In fact, Hamm is potentially the most famous soccer athlete in the entire United States, male or female.
She broke almost every record in the sport while playing the game, bringing together an entire generation of future players.
This is the inspiring story of how Hamm came from humble beginnings in suburban American to become one of the world's best players.
Among the legions of well-known football players in England, Wayne Rooney stands out as one of his generation's best.
He was a leader on the national team with other stars, and was one of the Premier League's best and most prominent players.
This book details Rooney's 10 years in the Premier League that started from when he was 16 years old with Everton, through his time winning the Champions League trophy with Manchester United.
One of the biggest challenges to Americans who are new to soccer is that it's somewhat difficult to understand strategy without knowing all the ins and outs of the game as well as the terms.
That's why Ruud Gullit wrote this book -- to make it easy for this audience to understand how to watch (and enjoy watching) the game best.
Most people who are new to the game watch just the ball, but that's not the best way to watch the game.
Learn from Gullit how to do so.
Sir Bobby Robson is one of the most respected soccer managers in all the sport worldwide.
This book is a detailed account of his life as a player and manager in his own words.
It includes stories through winning two World Cups with England, as well as his time as manager of Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Newcastle United, and Ipswich Town.
The book starts from his early years as a soccer player, as well as his early life that made him into the man he became.
Steven Gerrard was one of the integral members of the English national team that performed on the world's biggest stage in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Gerard was a key member of that club as well as the captain of Liverpool FC of the English Premier League.
This inspiration and honest autobiography captures the inside look of the modern game of English soccer, as well as details his love for Liverpool and flirtations with Chelsea.
SoccerIQ was not only named a #1 Best-Seller on Amazon, but it also was named the #1 Soccer Book by Football.com.
This book from Dan Blank focuses on the players -- and how they should think about approaching the game.
Not only does the author talk about what to do, he discusses the most common mistakes as well as what not to do.
This is the first textbook about the sport for players, covering everything from how to kick a ball properly to how to play in the rain.
Another one of Dan Blank's soccer books...
Following up on his best-selling book by the same name, Volume 2 of Soccer iQ details more of the most common mistakes soccer players make, following that up with the easy solutions that they can employ in a connect-the-dots fashion.
Author Dan Blank focuses this book on the players, as a textbook guide for them on how to play the game successfully.
It's a must-have for any soccer player who is just starting out or trying to refine their game.
Roy Keane has had quite the soccer career.
He is ultimately regarded as one of Ireland's greatest soccer players and one of the greatest players of all-time, regardless of country.
Over an 18-year playing career, he played for Manchester United and Celtic, among other clubs, winning 19 major trophies, 17 while with Manchester United.
This autobiography details his playing career, the controversies of it -- including when he was sent home from the 2002 World Cup -- as well as his coaching career following his retirement.
Author Steve Bloomfield intricately details the story of soccer in modern-day Africa by traveling all over the country, stopping in 13 different countries in total.
His book fully details the trials and tribulations of players, politicians, rebel leaders as well as fans, and the role that soccer has played in shaping the continent of Africa.
Not only has the sport helped end wars, but it has brought together countries that were once enemies.
It all culminates with the 2010 World Cup, which was held in South Africa.
Carlo Ancelotti won the Champions League trophy three times as a manager, as well as multiple cup and league titles while he was the leader of some of the world's powerhouses -- AC Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea.
He is widely considered one of the greatest soccer managers of all time.
In his book, Ancelotti talks about his different approach to managing superstar players, building personal relationships, and allowing the talent he has to flourish rather than imposing his will on those he manages.
James Peter Greaves, better known as Jimmy, is one of the greatest soccer players of all time in England.
He is known for his legendary prowess as a goal scorer on the field, as well as his big personality off it.
This autobiography is at times heartbreaking and humorous, detailing his rise from childhood in the East End of London all the way through being one of the biggest stars in the sport in the 1960s.
He played for powerhouse clubs such as Chelsea, A.C. Milan and the Spurs.
The world of football may be the most baffling world of all.
Peter Crouch uncovers some of the most bizarre details of the sport, going into clubs' dressing rooms to see which players have odd superstitions and what superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo say to themselves when they look in the mirror.
This book details everything to post-match interviews to social media interactions to what terrible music players listen to before and after matches.
John McManus knows that the English view of Turkish football isn't good.
Many in England know about the Leeds United supporters that were once stabbed to death in Istanbul or the "Welcome to hell" banners that welcome them.
But the game to McManus is very different in Turkey.
It's one of hospitality, humor, and camaraderie.
When he set out to write this book, though, he was unaware that he'd go from a rich, obsessive fan culture in Istanbul to a whole different experience in villages near the border with Syria.
Much of the attention paid to football is done so to the top levels of the game, at leagues such as Serie A and the English Premier League.
But below that level and the stunning upsets that can come in an FA Cup are non-league football.
This odd world of misfits includes raffle-ticket sellers and envelope salesmen.
Author Nige Tassell travels all over the world to take a look at this underbelly of football leagues, looking for the stories that make the people, places, and things so interesting.
Fearless: How Leicester City Shook the Premier League, and What it Means for Sport - by Jonathan Northcroft
No one would have believed it if you told them that Leicester City would win the English Premier League in 2015-16, just one year after they were promoted from relegation.
But that's exactly what they did, and they shocked the entire football world when they did so.
The club was shocking 5,000-1 shots at winning the title when the season began, but the transformation of the club was remarkable since then.
This book details all the misfits and journeymen who came together to form this team, and how they gelled to create a masterpiece on the pitch.
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