Author: George Vecsey
Title: Eight World Cups
Publication Info: Times Books (May 13, 2014)
Vecsey, a sportswriter for The New York Times, writes a series of essays and memories of international soccer dating back to the 1982 World Cup in Spain, tying it in with his own love of the game back to his childhood. The title is a misnomer, because Vecsey writes about Women’s World Cups and Olympic games among other competitions, but the eight men’s World Cup finals he attends from 1982 to 2010 are the core of the book. In addition to some lovely writing describing the games and controversies of the each World Cup, Vecsey gives a sense of the host nation where he and his wife generally set a up a home base for a month. He writes about the great players of each era from Diego Maradona to Zinedine Zidane. A major focus is the rise of the United States men’s team from a non-entity to one that regular qualifies for the World Cup and is competitive. Vecsey also explores the seamy underside of FIFA and CONFACAF with the greed and corruption that runs alongside the beautiful game. All in all, this is a nice American take on World Cup football from a personal perspective.
Recommended books: The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer by Christopher Merrill, The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World by Jere Longman, and Goooal! a Celebration of Soccer by Andres Cantor