Friday, 17 May 2024

10 Soccer Books To Broaden Your Knowledge Of The Game

If you’re a football fanatic who wants to expand your knowledge on the beautiful game, one of the best things you can do is head to a local library or bookstore and get swatting up. There are tons of amazing books out there dedicated to all sorts of soccer subjects, from in-depth tactical deep dives to complex social histories and beefy, detailed non-fiction accounts.

Reading is clearly a subjective matter; not every title will appeal to everyone. After all, in the same way that the goalkeeper and the silky winger will have a different approach to what happens on the soccer field, fans with altering perspectives on the game will be interested in different reading material.

In this article, we’ll try to cover a wide range of topics, from the birth of association football to the growth of tactics in Europe in recent decades. We’ll also suggest books that dive into the more passionate, emotional side of following the sport we all love. After all, that’s what keeps us hooked.

David Goldblatt – The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football

To start off, there’s no better title than this. If it’s possible to come up with a comprehensive history of how football has grown and expanded all over the world, British sports writer David Goldblatt has accomplished it with ‘The Ball is Round’. Exploring the sport’s universal appeal by discussing the social and cultural importance of football in every corner of the globe and shining light on some of the most fascinating fixtures of all time, Goldblatt’s book is highly informative, but crucially, it always keeps in mind the joy and beauty of the game. Described by some as football’s definitive history, this is easily up there with the best soccer books ever written.

The Ball is Round

Simon Kuper – Football Against the Enemy

Football is a powerful force in the lives of billions of people across the globe. In this text, South African-British author Simon Kuper, who focuses on writing about sport from an anthropological perspective, examines how football shapes and is shaped by national, political, and cultural identities and conflicts around the world. Viewing the game as a medium through which passion, hope, fear, love, hatred, and everything in between is expressed, Kuper’s book is based on the author’s travels to 22 countries including South Africa, Italy, Russia, and the USA. He looks at how football has shaped each place he visits, and how each nation’s distinctive style of play has been formed and developed over the years. It’s a fascinating read that takes a genuinely original approach to the game.

Football Against the Enemy

Floodlit Dreams – Football She Wrote: An Anthology of Women’s Writing on the Game

Many people hadn’t watched much women’s football before the hugely successful Women’s Euro 2022 this summer. That all changed during the most-watched women’s tournament of all time. But women have been shaping and contributing to the game of soccer ever since its inception, despite near constant obstacles being placed in their way. In Floodlit Dreams’ fascinating women’s football anthology Football She Wrote, some of the most incredible stories of the past century of women’s soccer are told, shining a light on pioneering players, coaches, and clubs.

The list of writers included in the anthology is impressive, with Gabby Logan’s foreword followed by chapters from writers like Ali Rampling, Suzanne Wrack, Kehinde Adeogun, Katie Whyatt, and many more. From the story of the first women’s international match after the FA’s 50-year ban to the humorous tale of two black radio rookies in China, it’s a seriously engaging and illuminating read.

Ken Bensinger – Red Card: FIFA and the Fall of the Most Powerful Men in Sports

The 2022 Qatar World Cup is fast approaching, and the eyes of the world are on a country whose awarding of the world’s greatest football tournament was highly controversial in the first place. It’s still unclear whether Qatar has the capacity to host a World Cup, and the litany of human rights concerns and practical issues surrounding the tournament means they will be under serious pressure. But perhaps the subject that has created the most uproar is the initial awarding of the tournament to the country, a decision made by a FIFA Executive Committee who have almost all been wrapped up in a disastrous bribery scandal in the years since.

Award-winning American investigative journalist Ken Bensinger shook the world in 2018 with this shocking account of that corruption scandal in all its gory detail. A stunning read that offers genuinely fresh insight on this footballing disgrace, the book journeys to FIFA’s core, exploring the stories of the FIFA kingpins whose reputations were wrecked by the bribery charges, and introducing us to the American FBI and IRS agents who managed to take them down. If you’re looking to find out more about the darker side of the sport, this is one of the best soccer books around.

Jonathan Wilson – Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics

The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson is without a doubt one of the most knowledgeable and eloquent football writers there is. He’s written a wide range of soccer books, from tactical explainers to geographical deep dives and most recently, an account of the lives and careers of brothers Bobby and Jack Charlton. However, there’s only one title we could really include in this piece.

Inverting the Pyramid is widely seen as one of the most informative, intelligent studies into the tactical evolution of football ever written. From the formations, shapes, and numbers that cemented themselves in association football’s earliest formats to modern developments such as Ralf Rangnick and Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpressing systems, it’s a comprehensive look at how soccer tactics have changed and evolved over the years. This one’s a must-have for any tactics lovers.

Inverting the Pyramid

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I find these soccer books?

A: You can find most of these soccer books on popular online bookstores like Amazon, Waterstones, When Saturday Comes, and World of Books.

Q: Are these books relevant to all football fans?

A: These books cover a wide range of topics, from history to tactics to personal stories. There is something for every football fan, regardless of their specific interests.

Q: Can these books help me improve my football knowledge and understanding of the game?

A: Absolutely! These books provide deep insights into different aspects of the game, allowing readers to gain a broader understanding of football’s history, tactics, and cultural impact.


Expanding your knowledge of the game is essential for any football enthusiast. These ten soccer books offer diverse perspectives on the beautiful game, covering topics ranging from global history to tactics to women’s football. Whether you’re a tactics lover, a history buff, or simply passionate about the sport, these books provide valuable insights and entertaining reads. So, head to your nearest bookstore or online retailer and start broadening your knowledge of the game we all love.

For more information on soccer coaching books and tactics, check out the guide to 10 great books about football tactics and coaching on Zerobertooficial.