Football fever that is. “What?” you say, “Football in June? The Steelers haven’t even gone back to Latrobe yet!” Not that kind of football. Not the American kind where the players’ feet actually rarely touch the ball at all. I’m talking about what is referred to as football in just about every other country in the world, the sport of soccer.
This week for the first time ever, I saw one of the local news stations discussing soccer on the 11 o’clock news. If I hadn’t already known about the major global event taking place right now, I might have been flabbergasted. But because I have at least one good friend who is a huge soccer fan, I knew they were talking about the World Cup.
Much like the Olympics, the World Cup takes place every four years and its location is different each time. They try to move the event around to a variety of countries, again much like the Olympics. There is one team representing each participating country and every player on that team must be a citizen of the country he represents, although he may play for a different country’s club team during his regular season.
If you’d like to learn more about soccer and also the World Cup, I recommend checking out the following…
How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer – Yes, believe it or not, soccer is a big enough sport around the world for it to have global economic and political ramifications.
The Simplest Game: The Intelligent Fan’s Guide to the World of Soccer by Paul Gardner – Everything you always wanted to know, even if you didn’t know to ask.
The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer by David Goldblatt – This was recommended to me as an excellent overview of the history of soccer.
A History of the World Cup: 1930-2006 by Clemente Angelo Lisi – A comprehensive overview of the tournament from its beginning to the most recent world champion, Italy.
Love and Blood: At the World Cup with the Footballers, Fans, and Freaks by Jamie Trecker – What’s it really like to be at the World Cup? Are soccer fans really that crazy? This book tells all.
The Official Rules of Soccer by the United States Soccer Federation – Just in case you want to know exactly what the rules are…
So join the rest of the world who are glued to their TV sets over the next month and cheer on the real football team of your choice.