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The Soccer Diaries (Review)

Cover Art Courtesy of University of Nebraska Press

Being a true soccer fan is a lot of hard work. Finding matches online, tracking down the latest headlines, attending watch parties at the local pub, and actually going out to matches.

Imagine this in the 1980′s, before the Internet and satellite TV.  It was no picnic.

So you can see that soccer is not always the most relaxing pastime, but it is a life-changing and all-consuming one.   I have a feeling that Michael Agovino would say the same thing.  He certainly put a lot of time into his passion for soccer and it shows in his newest work, The Soccer Diaries: An American’s Thirty-Year Pursuit of the International Game.

It seems to me that the author was ahead of his time in many ways.  He certainly “got” the game before many others, falling for a game before it was trendy or cool.  He was lucky enough to experience an American league that was world-class (the original NASL), but unfortunately was only there for the tail end of it.  He was there for “the dark ages” before the American World Cup and MLS that followed.  He was able to see the game in Europe, a flourishing example that was backed up with a 100+ years of history.  He knew the potential of the American game better than anyone else.

The most impressive part was his patience and his willingness to stick with the game.  His ability to tell about his journey from a variety of perspectives (fan, player, and journalist) and experiences is the reason why this is one of the top soccer titles since Once in a Lifetime, which we consider to be the peak of the soccer literary canon.

It is an incredible journey, albeit a long one, but it is certainly one you will want to read about.  Taking something away from a book is always important.  The message here is simple.  We are not there yet, but we have come really far.  

Category: Reviews