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Learn, Explore & Enjoy The Beautiful Game of Soccer!

Soccer, or Football/Futbol as it is known is most other parts of the world has long been described as "The Beautiful Game". We love all aspects of the sport. This page is full of some of our favorite ways you can learn and explore more about the sport.  Feel free to submit your favorite sources to [email protected].

WEBSITES

Here's some of the top websites covering the "Beautiful Game"

ESPN Soccernet / ESPN FC Breaking news, expert opinion and complete statistics from every facet of the sport is on the menu at this soccer portal.

Sports Illustrated "Planet Futbol" Sports Illustrated is a reference point for many US fans. The highly respected Grant Wahl is their man on the ground, while the likes of Sid Lowe, Rafael Honigstein, and Tim Vickery provide top quality analysis of the world game.

Bleacher Report (B/R) Curated social media related to soccer around the world.

Sky Sports Sky Sports is the place to be if you want to catch a big breaking story or a Joey Barton twitter outburst. Transfer Window Watch is just one of the many exclusive round-the-clock pages that run on Sky Sports, making it one of the most popular drop-ins for soccer fans across the United Kingdom and beyond.

Goal.com For those who prefer a lighter dwelling, Goal.com may be your tonic. Not always the most reliable of news sources, but still providing the necessary gossip and opinion from the continent to keep you quenched.

The Guardian The Guardian’s validity as a credible source of news should not be underestimated. Excellent writers, trustworthy sources and never ones to publish without verification of what they’re writing.

Eurosport Whilst other sites are more UK specific, Eurosport, as the name suggests, gives a more continental flavor to its work. Covering soccer from Russia to Romania and Latvia to Liechtenstein, Eurosport is the place to be for all your Euro gossip. (NOTE: From Yahoo Sport - this site has a fair amount of advertising/sponsored content)

Podcasts


Total Soccer Show
https://www.totalsoccershow.com/
Daily podcast covering all things soccer in the US and abroad. Includes in-depth interviews, breakdowns of top matches and leagues, listener questions, scouting reports on US players around the world.


Soccer 101

From the hosts of the Total Soccer Show podcast, Soccer 101 is a fun and informative 10-part podcast series covering some of the common questions about soccer such as how did the numbered positions originate, the evolution of the offiside rule, and the differences in US and British terminology.


Planet Futbol with Grant Wahl
https://art19.com/shows/planet-futbol
Podcast by one of America’s top soccer writers. Wahl does work for Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports and in May 2018 released his book Masters of Modern Soccer


Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union Podcast
https://art19.com/shows/state-of-the-union
Weekly soccer coverage and commentary by former USMNT member and current FOX Sports commentator Alexi Lalas.


ESPN FC
http://www.espn.com/espnradio/podcast/archive?id=10672984
ESPN’s audio coverage of soccer at home and abroad.

Books


Masters of Modern Soccer (2018)
Grant Wahl (NY Times Best Selling Author, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports)
The book looks at the craft of soccer, position by position, and includes two years of in-depth interviews with a goalkeeper (Manuel Neuer), a defender (Vincent Kompany), a defensive midfielder (Xabi Alonso), an attacking midfielder (Christian Pulisic), a forward (Javier "Chicharito" Hernández), a head coach (Roberto Martínez) and a director of football (Michael Zorc).


Soccernomics (updated 2018)
Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski
The 2018 World Cup edition of the international bestseller and "the most intelligent book ever written about soccer" (San Francisco Chronicle) is updated throughout and features new chapters on the FIFA scandal, why Iceland wins, and women's soccer.


The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines (2017)
Michael Cox (The Guardian, ESPN)
From Amazon - An absolutely essential book for every modern football fan, about the development of Premier League tactics, published to coincide with 25 years of the competition. The Mixer is the first book to delve deep into the tactical story of the Premier League, and take a long view of how the game has developed over the last quarter century. From Ferguson’s directness to Keegan’s relentlessly attacking Newcastle outfit, to Mourinho’s cagey, reactive Chelsea, all the way to Ranieri’s counter-attacking champions, The Mixer is one of the most entertaining, rich and knowledgeable football books ever written.


Inverting The Pyramid (2013)
Jonathan Wilson
(For Advanced fans) 
From Booklist, There are books about soccer teams and soccer men, soccer nations, the culture of soccer, the business of soccer, and fans of the game. But rarest of all are really cracking books that explore the way the game is played. (And, no, we’re not talking about manuals that show you how to kick the ball.) Wilson, a respected journalist with a half-dozen books to his name, has produced a landmark work that explains what happens on the field and why. Beginning with the earliest days of soccer, he charts first the adoption of rules, then tactics, and the evolution of tactics, with profiles and mentions of the geniuses (Viktor Maslov) and dunderheads (Wing Commander Charles Reep) who stamped their marks on the game. National character plays a role, of course, with chapters devoted to the blood-and-thunder English (“The English Pragmatism”), the defensive-minded Italians (“Catenaccio”), and the share-and-share-alike Dutch (“Total Football”). While a remarkable work of sports scholarship, this isn’t for casual fans, and those who don’t know their 4-4-2 from their 4-2-3-1 will definitely require a less challenging book. --Keir Graff

Twitter

Top English language soccer writers to follow on Twitter (modified from liveaboutdotcom):

Henry Winter - Among the most respected football writers in England, Winter is an authority on all things  Premier League. He is the chief football writer at The Daily Telegraph, where he covers matches and produces regular columns, each one a thing of beauty.

Gabriele Marcotti - Born in Italy and now based in England, Marcotti is an expert on world soccer, specializing in Serie A and the Premier League. Always with his ear to the ground in the world of transfers, Marcotti writes for Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and The Times among other publications.

Rafael Honigstein - An expert on his native Bundesliga, the amiable Honigstein is the English football correspondent for German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and German correspondent for British newspaper The Guardian. Honigstein, who studied law before becoming a journalist, also writes a column for Sports Illustrated.

Tim Vickery - An authority on South American football, Vickery is one of World Soccer magazine's main contributors. His weekly column on the BBC Sport website also has a huge following, while like most of the writers on this list, his work can also be seen on Sports Illustrated.

Jonathan Wilson - If tactics are your thing, Wilson will fulfill your every need. He began a column on tactics in World Soccer at the end of 2010 to add to those he already writes for The Guardian, Champions and Sports Illustrated. An expert on east European soccer, Wilson also writes regularly for the Independent, the Independent on Sunday and FourFourTwo magazine. He has written two books - Behind the Curtain: Travels in Eastern European Football and Inverting the Pyramid, a book on tactics (see on this page).

Grant Wahl - Sports Illustrated's highly regarded football writer, Wahl is the author of Masters of Modern Soccer (see on this page) and The Beckham Experiment which assessed the impact on American soccer of David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy. Wahl boasts a huge Twitter following and has interviewed some of the best players in the world.

TALKING TACTICS

High Pressure
There's a lot of talk about high pressure tactics in soccer. Some of the most notable teams using this tactic are Liverpool and Tottenham of the English Premiere League and the New York Red Bulls of he US's Major League Soccer (MLS). Here's a few articles breaking down how they do it.
Talking Tottenham Tactics - Click here for this site's comparison of the Tottenham and Liverpool approaches to high pressure.
MLS Soccer - Click here for Bobby Warshaw's break down of a May 2018 match in which the NY Red Bulls took apart NYCFC using their specific brand of high pressure 

Playing To Channels & Going To The Air To Beat Atlanta United
MLS's Atlanta United often sends up it's fullbacks on the attack. Click here for look at how immediately playing to the channels (outside space) can be an effective countering approach. The article also suggests attacking the far post against the "aerial challenged" Atlanta United squad.

How Top Attacks Score
Atlanta United and NY Red Bulls are two of the top attacks in the MLS. Click here for a May 2018 write-up from MLSsoccer.com on how these generate offense.

HOW TO WATCH SOCCER


The Total Soccer Show podcast from Dec 7, 2017 provides tips on how to watch soccer. Listener questions on the episode are listed below and begin 11:00 min into the podcast and the specific question about how to watch begins 55:45 min into the episode.

The seven listener questions:
What are the most annoying, most commonly used soccer phrases?
Which USL team would we play in FIFA career mode?
What does it take to play a 4-2-2-2, and could the USMNT do it?
Why so many players from Argentina in MLS?
What do you call the opposite of the Group of Death?
Should USL/NASL teams be mad that they only have one path to the CONCACAF Champions League?
How can I watch a match more analytically?

Pele - One of First Associated with The Beautiful Game

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