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Masters of Modern Soccer
Cover of Masters of Modern Soccer
Masters of Modern Soccer
How the World's Best Play the Twenty-First-Century Game
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In Masters of Modern Soccer, Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl asks: How do some of the game's smartest figures master the craft of soccer? By profiling players in every key position (American...
In Masters of Modern Soccer, Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl asks: How do some of the game's smartest figures master the craft of soccer? By profiling players in every key position (American...
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Description-

  • In Masters of Modern Soccer, Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl asks: How do some of the game's smartest figures master the craft of soccer? By profiling players in every key position (American phenomenon Christian Pulisic, Mexican superstar Javier "Chicharito" Hernández, Belgium's Vincent Kompany, Spain's Xabi Alonso, Germany's Manuel Neuer) and management (Belgium coach Roberto Martínez and Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc), Wahl reveals how elite players and coaches strategize on and off the field and execute in high pressure game situations.
    Masters of Modern Soccer is the definitive thinking fan's guide to modern soccer. For a supporter of any team, from the U.S. national teams to Manchester United, or any competition, from Mexico's Liga MX to the World Cup, this book reveals what players and managers are thinking before, during, and after games and delivers a true behind-the-scenes perspective on the inner workings of the sport's brightest minds.
    America's premier soccer journalist, Grant Wahl, follows world-class players from across the globe examining how they do their jobs. This access imbues Masters of Modern Soccer with deep insight from the players on how goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and forwards function individually and as a unit to excel and win. Wahl also shadows a manager and director of soccer as they juggle the challenges of coaching, preparation, and the short- and long-term strategies of how to identify and acquire talent and deploy it on the field.
    A book that will stand the test of time, Masters of Modern Soccer is the most in-depth analysis of the craft of soccer ever written for the American fan. For any fan, player, coach, or sideline enthusiast, this book will change the way they watch the game.

Excerpts-

  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof*** Copyright © 2018 Grant Wahl

    When did I know for sure that I was going to love writing this book? The moment came early, on the first question of my first interview with Manchester City centerback Vincent Kompany. I had never met Kompany before, but I had admired him for years, and during my initial research for this book his name had come up repeatedly when I asked my journalist friends around Europe to nominate players who combined world-class talent and accomplishment with a high degree of intelligence and insight in interviews about the sport. My question was sim- ple enough: What does the term the modern game mean to you?

    Kompany considered the topic briefly and answered. "I think the term modern football just means that every single aspect of the game has improved," he said. "Players are quicker now. They try to play quicker and see the pass quicker. Players try to be more technical. Players are more physical. Maybe they're not tougher, because that sometimes has to do with their background, but the physical attitudes have definitely increased. So the modern game is all about an improved version of what it used to be."

    What followed in that first interview was an hour-long discussion about the sport that left me exhilarated—and looking forward to more opportunities to speak to Kompany and the other figures in this book. The results of those interviews are in the following chapters. Everything they shared with me I will pass on to you.

    It's easy to be cynical about modern soccer. For some observers, "the modern game" speaks mostly to the influence of money and commercialization on the sport, which is undeniable. To the critics, the apotheosis of modern soccer was probably the moment in July 2017 when the players of Manchester United and Real Madrid, on a promotional preseason tour in the United States, all high-fived a guy in a red-wigged Ronald McDonald costume before kickoff in an NFL stadium as though he were an actual player in the game. But over the two years of reporting for this book, my conversations with the seven practitioners in Masters of Modern Soccer overpowered any cynicism I might have had and gave me a heightened appreciation for the modern game—for the craft of the sport, position by position, and all the nuances that come with it. Kompany is right. Soccer is being played at a higher level than ever before, and by more players in more places than at any point in the history of the sport.

    All the participants in this book give us an insider's view of soccer at the highest level, revealing how they experience and process the modern game. Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich and the German national team explains how he redefined the goal- keeper position, making sweeper keeper part of the global soccer lexicon. Kompany, the Man City and Belgium veteran, shows why he is among today's shrinking group of world-class centerbacks, detailing the tricks of the trade for defenders in a time of high back lines and full-field pressure—as well as his decision making on when to push forward with the ball at his feet. Xabi Alonso, who won Champions League titles with Liverpool and Real Madrid and the World Cup with Spain, may be fond of the phrase old school, but his approach to the defensive midfield is decidedly modern. That includes his technical and positional mastery, his control of tempo, and his ability to change formations within the same game and tailor his own game to the needs of different teammates at different clubs. Christian Pulisic, the budding superstar attacking midfielder for the United States and...

About the Author-

  • GRANT WAHL is one of the world's leading soccer journalists. He joined Sports Illustrated in November 1996 as a reporter and was promoted to his current position of senior writer in October 2000. He is also a contributor to Fox Sports television, where he does insider segments, essays, and longform video stories. Wahl's last book, The Beckham Experiment, was the first soccer book to make the New York Times Best-Seller List.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2018

    In 1990, political columnist and journalist George Will published Men at Work, a classic on the craft of baseball. Equally accomplished Sports Illustrated journalist Wahl follows Will's model with a remarkable book on soccer, including in-depth profiles of players from various positions as well as a coach and a director who provide new insights into the game. With major networks such as ESPN now carrying soccer broadcasts, Wahl delivers a must-read to better understand the sport from an insider's view--fitting together the pieces of a puzzle that many people who enjoy soccer might not fully grasp in order to explain the precision, plans, and plays of the game. Well-written and easy to read, Wahl's "nuggets" and analysis of the craft of the sport make this work stand out. VERDICT One of the best books on the sport, alongside Raphael Honigstein's Das Reboot and Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski's Soccernomics, this gem of a work will appeal to longtime soccer fans and budding enthusiasts.--Boyd Childress, formerly with Auburn Univ. Libs., AL

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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How the World's Best Play the Twenty-First-Century Game
Grant Wahl
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Grant Wahl
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