Book and Media Reviews

An endeavor to post reviews of the over 800 books and training dvds I own. I will also include other quality books, dvds, and website I come across in the course of learning my way through life.

The book review from the manuscript are listed below. As time passes the new reviews will be put up and eventually they will be sorted into topics.

Recommended Reading

The recommendations consist of books that help with coaching youth to have fun and maximize their potential. I have not reviewed enough videos to include them in this edition. Also not included are websites and while many are excellent resources it is an impermanent medium. These materials are selected because they are relatively clear and concise. The lists move from books for the youngest age groups to the oldest or from the simplest to the most complicated. The categories are in alphabetical order.

Coaching Skillz, Drillz, & Tactics

Coaching should be simple and fun. Drills, while they may be boring, can do some good. Coaches should not use technical drills a majority of the time as in American football. Soccer is like a spontaneous dance and CANNOT be broken down into pieces and learned repetitiously.

Soccer Techniques in Pictures

Michael Brown & Tony Johnson. Perigee Books/Putnam Publishing Group. New York, NY. 1991

This book covers defines basic skills and techniques. It is concise and has reasonably clear illustrations. A couple things out of line, but great examples for beginning coaches.

The Baffled Parent’s Guide to Great Soccer Drills

Tom Fleck & Ron Quinn. Ragged Mountain Press/McGraw-Hill. Camden, ME. 2002

This book covers activities and games (not drills) for the U6 through U12 age groups. These games are designed to be inclusive and developmentally appropriate for each child. There are also sample practices and child psychology listed by age group. This book provides an excellent basis for youth coaches although it does not say when actual skills should be taught.

Teaching Soccer Fundamentals

Nelson McAvoy. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL. 1998

An excellent book that does what the title says. Simple explanations with a progression of games/activities for children to build up their skills make this book one of the best on the list.

The Soccer Games Book

J. Malcolm Simon & John A. Reeves. Leisure Press. West Point, NY. 1982

I hesitate to include this book because only 100 of the 160 games are good for soccer, but there is such a large index that I included it. Coaches should know what they are doing before using this repository. This book covers activities and games (not drills) for all age groups. They are indexed several ways.

Soccer Skills and Tactics

Ken Jones & Pat Welton. Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, NY. 1976 (1971 in Britain)

This book covers all of the basic skills and many of the advanced ones using diagrammed examples of actual plays. The plays are mostly drawn from the English league. After each diagrammed play and explanation is a box with sample activities to help players learn the skill highlighted. The book is a good read for its own sake.

Techniques, Tactics, & Teamwork – Women’s Soccer

Robert Lauffer & April Kater. Sterling Publishing Company. New York, NY. 2001

Techniques, tactics, and teamwork are covered in this publication, but it is not specific to women. There are many color pictures and diagrams throughout for easy understanding. There are a few things that I disagree with, but on the whole it is a good starting point for the fundamental phases.

Soccer Fundamentals for Players and Coaches

Wiel Coerver. Prentice Hall, Inc. Englewood Cloffs, NJ. 1983

Sound fundamental training is necessary and “Coerver’s” helps the learning process. These drills should be used with care and are not an end-all, just the means. I frequently see coaches that have not played soccer grasp onto Coerver’s technical breakdown as a way to understand soccer. This attitude leaves 75% of soccer still to be understood.


Coerver has also produced a two series of videos that demonstrate concepts well.

Coaching Modern Soccer – Attack

Eric G. Batty. Faber & Faber Limited. London, UK. 1980

The author gives examples of various types of attacks from actual games and explains how to teach a team to be able to follow those examples. A thoughtful book that gets to the core of what soccer is all about.

Coaching Strategy & Philosophy

Coaching should be simple and emphasize the players. These books follow this vision and help guide and implement it.

Coaching Women’s Soccer

Ian Stokell. McGraw-Hill. 2002

This book is a bible for the freegame philosophy of teaching soccer with strategic advice to implement the philosophy. Allowing players to play has been lost in many soccer programs as they run drill after drill, because coaches follow the American football model of repetitious drills, while soccer can be learned by playing the game. I am not as far toward freegame as this book but I am closer to freegame than any other coaching philosophy.

Coaching Youth Soccer: The European Model

Kevin McShane. McFarland & Company. Jefferson, NC. 2002

An examination of different styles of youth training programs in Europe that also compares their overall method to that of the USA and that of Latin America. There are also examples of training programs in the appendices. This book is a must read for those involved in, or looking to be involved in, any sort of soccer program or league.

Coaching Modern Soccer – Attack

Eric G. Batty. Faber & Faber Limited. London, UK. 1980

The author covers how “real” soccer should be played. He also gives examples from games and explains how to teach a team to be able to follow those examples. A thoughtful book that gets to the core of soccer.

Beyond Winning – The Timeless Wisdom of Great Philosopher Coaches

Walton, Gary M.  Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc. Champaign, IL. 1992

This book portrays the lives and gives insight into some of the great coaches in sports. The coaches are Vince Lombardi (American football), Woody Hayes (American football), John Wooden (basketball), James “Doc” Counsilman (swimming), Brutus Hamilton (track & field), and Percy Cerutty (track & field).

Coaching Women

Most books that have “girls” or “women” in the text have just substituted one of those words for the word “boys” or “men”. These are books that speak to the coach needing to understand female psychology and how to tailor practices, advice, and games so that learning the game of soccer will be maximized.

The Beautiful Game: Sixteen Girls and the Soccer Season That Changed Everything
Jonathan Littman. Harper Perennial. 2000

A true story that shows that girls are not as delicate as the common perception of sugar and spice leads people to believe. Interviews with players and parents delve specifically into the psychology behind what happened in this true account.

Coaching Women’s Soccer

Ian Stokell. McGraw-Hill. 2002

This book helps with the motivation of female players and ways to enhance practices and games so that they will have the best learning environment.

Conditioning – Health

There are more recommendations to follow, however, I do not recommend specific conditioning until the U12 age group and then that should be minimal. At the U14 level individual skills should still be emphasized but conditioning will win games. At the high school level conditioning is a key asset skill that should be taught to all players.

Complete Conditioning for Soccer

Sigi Schmid & Bob Alejo. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL. 2002

This is a text for college teams and can be pared down for high school level work. Also, good for college level players who want to know what to expect and how to prepare for it.

Kids & Sports: Everything You and Your Child Need to know about Sports, Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Good Health – A Doctor’s Guide for Parents and Coaches

Eric Small, M.D. Newmarket Press. New York, NY. 2002

This is an easy-to-read guide concerning children’s health and sports that gives a good background to common questions and maladies. It is indexed and has a section with recommendations for deeper reading. It is a necessary book for any parent or coach.

introduction to Functional Human Anatomy

Schade, Johannes P. W.B. Saunders Company. 1974

The name says it all. It is about180 pages and includes sketches and pictures. A concise reference for what you need to know.

Goal Keeping

These two books complement each other from beginning through advanced goalkeeping. Goal keeping experience is the only supplement needed to complete this section.

FUNdamental Soccer Goalkeeping

Karl Dewazien. Fred Feathers Publishing Co. Clovis, CA. 1986

Basic goalkeeping that is useful for U10, U12, and beginning U14 age groups. Logical explanations and clear sketches help explain the concepts.

The Soccer Goalkeeper 3rd ed.

Joseph A. Luxbacher & Gene Klein. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL. 2002

Medium and advanced goalkeeping is explained. The book is useful for U14 through high school levels assuming the basics have been learned. As a coach you need to have a solid understanding of the basics to jump into this book because the authors get complicated quickly.

Interesting Reading

The books in this section may not be directly related to advice about coaching a team, but have insights that are worth reading. These books are also excellent reads for their own sake.

The Beautiful Game: Sixteen Girls and the Soccer Season That Changed Everything
Jonathan Littman. Harper Perennial. 2000

This biography of a team is one of the best books I have read on any subject.

Coaching Youth Soccer: The European Model

Kevin McShane. McFarland & Company. Jefferson, NC. 2002

This book is a must read to those involved in, or looking to be involved in, any sort of soccer program or league. The strengths and weaknesses of different styles of youth development programs are examined in a case study format.

The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World
Jere Longman. Harper Perennial. 2001

This book is biographical but also explores some of the politicking and power plays in high level administration.


Children should enjoy reading, and one way to do that is to let them read books on subjects in which they have an interest. They may also develop interest in a subject if they read about it frequently. The books that I select are age appropriate as marked and present good soccer.

Soccer Crazy – Ages 7 – 11

Colin McNaughton. Athenaeum. New York, NY. 1981 (1980 in Britain)

I really like this cute little book. A bear moves to the city and finds friends through a neighborhood soccer team. An easy read combined with great drawings makes for a good beginning book. Elements of acceptance and team work are highlighted throughout.

Lyndsey Sees the Midnight Sun – Ages 10 – 14

Lowell Dickmeyer & Martha Humphreys. Dillon Press, Inc. Minneapolis, MN. 1983

This book comes from the wave of politically correct children’s books that began to be published in the mid-80s. Despite that fact it is a nice story about a soccer team that does an exchange program for several weeks and follows one of the players as she adapts. She also manages to get girls accepted onto the local team during her two week stay in Sweden.

Franz Beckenbauer’s Soccer Power – techniques, tactics, training

Franz Beckenbauer. Simon and Schuster. NY. 1978

Written at the height of popularity of the New York Cosmos in the 70s Beckenbauer was capitalizing on his fame in the English speaking world. The book is comprised of four sections Techniques and Conditioning, Defensive Tactics, Offensive Tactics, and the Rules of Soccer. Each area gives correct information with excellent pictures. The downside being the book was put together so quickly that they only had time for 88 pages plus a limited glossary.

Catch Them Being Good: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Coach Girls

Tony DiCicco and Colleen Hacker. Penguin Putnam Inc. New York, NY. 2002

Written by a successful national team coach with a PHD in Psychology this book provides more than a standard text. Insights in how to coach and motivate female athletes are revealed through out the pages. Stories and examples throughout the text are from the USA Women’s National team from dealing with winning and losing, to how to tell if a coach doing their job, to what to do if your child says they want to quit. This book is helpful for parents and coaches of all age groups, but especially relevant for those with daughters including coaching tips and teambuilding exercises.

The Art of Soccer: a better way to play

Mark G. Catlin. Soccer Books. St. Paul, MN. 1990

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is a timeless classic on battle tactics and strategy. How about a book on soccer tactics that uses quotes at the start of every section and then explains them in soccer terms. It helps if you have some understanding of soccer or war before starting, but is well written. Can be a bit busy in its layout so read it when you have time to ponder.

Futebol: the Brazilian Way of Life

Alex Bellos. Bloomsbury. London, UK. 2003

This book could be mistaken for a history of Brazil starting in 1894 when Scotsman Charles Miller walked off of the boat home with two soccer balls and brought the game to Brazil. As the narrative goes along many antidotes are provided and cultural phenomena explored from the largest amateur tournament, the Big Kickabout – over 500 teams, in the world to the exportation of Brazilian players, to how the national uniforms were designed (by a fan of Uruguay). This is an excellent read of the social and political climate of Brazil and not just soccer.


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