52 Books: How to Watch Soccer

As one of two members of my trivia team who’s always turned to for sports questions (undefeated in the NFL running backs category), sports is a thing I know and enjoy.  I enjoy watching a lot of sports, and, due to years of watching, I feel as though I understand strategy and tactics in many sports.  I’d probably make a pretty good middle school basketball coach and a decent NFL offensive coordinator.*  Also, baseball: I’m an American, goddamn it, so, of course, I understand baseball.

But soccer?  When I grew up, there was no soccer on TV unless it was the World Cup.  I didn’t pick up the sport until I went to college.  Even then, I never understood soccer past the whole “wow, I can run faster and longer than almost everybody on this field” thing.  So that’s how I’ve always played the sport, and that’s always how I understood the sport.

Enter Ruud Gullit’s How To Watch Soccer.  Football Weekly interviewed Gullit last year about this book, and I was sold.  Better than a Dummies book, right?

Wrong.

This book was a chore to get through, and at no point did I feel like I learned anything beyond what I could figure out on my own watching West Ham lose to Hull (Hull!) or something.

Christ.

No knowledge was gained.  I spent two weeks being annoyed by the cover.  And I’m annoyed right now just thinking about this book.

* My level of technical skill is about the same for both sports, so I think that says a lot about the current level of talent in the NFL coaching ranks.

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