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This is a little outside my usual reading; I needed to write a brief nonfiction review for work, and figured with so many kids playing this fall in rec. leagues and clubs and school teams, a soccer book might appeal to patrons who are spending all their free time on a sideline. And to people like The Computer Scientist, who plans his weekends around Liverpool on the telly. Don’t laugh — a larger and larger number of American fans do this. Plus, honestly, the library geek in me loves small esoteric reference books like this. And I do love the beautiful game as well.

Anyway, here’s my review of Who Invented the Bicycle Kick: Soccer’s Greatest Legends and Lore by Paul Simpson and Uli Hessi:

If you are one of the growing legion of soccer-mad Americans who follows the sport passionately, Who Invented the Bicycle Kick will fill in any gaps in your soccer history.  Simpson, who launched the magazine Four Four Two and currently edits UEFA’s Champions magazine, and Hesse, who has written a history of German soccer and is a prolific columnist for ESPN FC, have compiled detailed stories about soccer inventions, oddities, stars, gaffers (that’s coach in soccer-speak), records, and culture. I consider myself a fan, but this book convinced me that my knowledge was sadly limited. The curse of Los Gatos de Racing (seven dead cats buried in a Buenos Aires stadium to curse the home team); the origins of ads on jerseys, colored boots, and goalie gloves; the origins of total football, the stepover, and the sweeper-keeper; notable achievements, records, pre-match rituals, and more – you are sure to learn something new from this entertaining and accessible little book.

 

 

 

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