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Non-Goals: What to Look For When You're Looking At Soccer


Loved it! 😍

If you’ve ever wondered what all the buzz is about, this nimble read articulates a new way of watching the world’s most-viewed sport.

Much of the world is glued to global play-by-play footage of the World Cup. If you’re not a big soccer fan, however, you might be wondering, What’s all the hoopla about? What makes this game such a phenomenon, for both players and fans? Why is soccer such a compelling sport?

 If you’ve ever wondered this or have been trying to figure out all the buzz about soccer, this book will be a huge assist. It clearly and artfully articulates a new way of watching and thinking about the world’s most-viewed sport.

Growing up in rural central California, the author says he didn’t grow up a soccer fan. But now “soccer is unquestionably the sport I love watching more than any other,” he writes in the Introduction. “Years later, it’s taken me a long time to understand why.” Hint: It’s not just about scoring goals. It’s about non-goals, which the author describes as “the brilliant, skillful, inspiring moments between scoring that can hold your attention for hours or, in my case, years.”

The author illustrates his main points, themes and concepts with examples from venues with which soccer novices may be more familiar, such as Julia Child in the kitchen, a three-month run to Fort Ticonderoga during the American Revolutionary War, The Beatles and Let It Be, Ernest Hemingway and the “Iceberg Theory” of writing as it relates to non-goal craftmanship, and Pele and “the greatest goal never scored.” The author also discusses why the best time to be a soccer fan in America is right now. Also discussed are vital elements of soccer that may not always be obvious to a goals-conscious spectator, such as movement and timing, creativity, organization, vision and preparation.

Nimble and quick, this agile read has much to offer to soccer neophytes and others. In easy to understand language reinforced by real life examples and diagrams, the author explains terms that may seem mysterious or mystifying to non-soccer fans. These include the “through ball” (aka: “pass into space”), “offside” (not to be confused with “offsides.” (The plural form is for American football.) Also “throw-ins” and “dummies” and “playing out from the back.” Also included is a 2022 Non-Goal World Cup Preview and Recommended Reading.

Finally, this is no mind-numbingly boring dissertation on the sport or a stupor-inducing blackboard theory type of monologue. It feels more like a conversation. Like the author is sitting down with you and having an informal give-and-take dialogue about soccer over a friendly cup of coffee. The lively style artfully articulates a way of watching and thinking about soccer that may be new to some readers. If that’s you, then you’re in for a treat with this “ultimate quick primer for the soccer curious.”

Besides. It’s Just. Plain. Fun.

Reviewed by

Library Board Member. Communications & Marketing Prof'l. Interests incl: Historical, Christian, Literary Fiction. Action/Adventure/Outdoors. Children's & YA books. Select Non-Fiction. A frank but fair reviewer, Kristine averages 300+ books/year in a wide variety of genres on multiple platforms.

Into Space

About the author

Bob Bjarke is an FC Barcelona fan living in Oakland, California. When he’s not watching every minute of Barcelona’s season on television, Bob is an advertising and marketing creative professional, a pasta enthusiast, a husband and father, an assistant youth soccer coach, and an avid hobbyist. view profile

Published on November 07, 2022

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2000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Sports & Outdoors

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