- Paperback: 318 pages
- Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition (May 1, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1496205979
- ISBN-13: 978-1496205971
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,180,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Soccer Diaries: An American's Thirty-Year Pursuit of the International Game Paperback – May 1, 2018
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“Introspective, perceptive, and intelligent, and it masterfully blends single-event snapshots into narrative mosaics in a way that echoes Nick Hornby’s canonical Fever Pitch . . . . Well written and engaging, Agovino’s text is a valuable addition to a burgeoning American soccer canon that will continue to grow with the sport’s popularity.”—Matthew Tettleton, Aethlon: Journal of Sports Literature
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What I did not expect was this wonderful story of a child who grows into a man learning the game of football, soccer, and becoming obsessed with the culture and history of the game. This is a love letter to the game, a passionate and personal story of discovery and obsession. A brilliant look into a lifelong journey to find the perfect game. I enjoyed this book way more than I though I would, and I was surprised at how much I loved it. For anyone who shares the passion for football that Mr. Agovino does, they will love this book. For anyone who is trying to understand why people love football so much, this will give you insight into the mind of a Tifo.
Football is so much more than a ball and men kicking it around a field, it is a culture and an identity. No other book goes as deeply into the passion behind the game than Soccer Diaries. The journey that Mr. Agovino takes us on is a wonderful journey, filled with anecdotes and personal insights that made me connect on a very personal level with the author. I am certainly a fan of his personal style and story telling. Clearly a 5 star book.
Victor Scamorza aka Jim Hart
I was struck by just how authentic The Soccer Diaries was. In the age before the Internet, Agovino had to hunt out resources: books, mail-order VHS tapes, Spanish-language television and radio coverage, and the community of ex-patriots from all over the world who made New York City’s boroughs their home. But what is perhaps most striking about Agovino’s story is just how willingly supportive his parents were about his youthful obsession. It suggests that his parents recognized this soccer bug was not mere passing fancy or phase, it was becoming a part of their son’s identity. Insisting that his family fold into their trips overseas (for vacation or work) outings to whatever matches were happening in the city they found themselves, Agovino appears to have put together a rather comprehensive program collection.
The enthusiasm with which he collected those match day programs as a boy is carried through to his young adulthood and maturity where we see him not just pursue a career in sport journalism but an authentic eagerness to get to know others who reveal their nascent or deep interest in soccer. Agovino doesn’t want to be superior or one of the mandarin, he wants to be your friend and soccer is the way he can do that.
The contemporary landscape of soccer would put Agovino in the ‘Eurosnob’ category, because it is much easier to revert to a false dichotomy rather than genuinely engage in conversation (this is a symptom of the early social media era of the Internet). Growing up during an era where the United States lacked a professional league and a connected culture, Agovino found his desire for soccer sated via the European game. But there is clearly never a time when Agovino feels the need to exclude people from the sport, which the term ‘Eurosnob’ (and its counterpart ‘MLS fanboy’) do. Rather, we have a story of someone who only caught the end of the first NASL, lived through the dark ages of zero professionalism, and the rise of new professional domestic leagues. There isn’t a moment in the book where Agovino demands a litmus test of a potential fan. In fact, he recoils at this notion. Rather, he demands of himself and others like him to be catholic in their knowledge so that they can help bring more to the game. He presents us with an adult who wants to be the resource to those who versions of his younger selves.
The Soccer Diaries is the chronicle of a US soccer fan before Major League Soccer, before the United States believed in soccer and actually could give a good account of itself internationally, it’s the story of what we could call the first generation of the modern US soccer supporter. Those of us who grew up alongside Major League Soccer and were able to actually attend matches would be the second, and the third generation would be those who have never know our nation to not have professional leagues, a beloved national team (Men’s and Women’s), and a vibrant culture of coverage. Agovino’s The Soccer Diaries is the testament of those patient fans who knew in their heart-of-hearts that soccer in the US wouldn’t fade away, that it would grow into what we see today, and continue to do so.