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7 captivating books about women’s soccer to fuel your World Cup fever

FBL-WC-2019-WOMEN-MATCH49-ENG-USA
U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe during warmup prior to the France 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal soccer match between England and USA, on July 2, 2019, at the Lyon Satdium in Décines-Charpieu, France.
(Franck Fife / AFP / Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s national soccer team didn’t feel like waiting until July 4 to celebrate Independence Day. On Tuesday, Team USA defeated England 2-1 to advance to the Women’s World Cup final for the third straight time ⁠— the American team will play either Sweden or the Netherlands on Sunday for the world championship.

No matter which team you were rooting for, you’ve got to admit it was a memorable soccer game — or, if you’re British, “soccer game.” (Sorry, the U.S. won, so forget “football match.” We get to name it now.) At any rate, if you’re a literature lover looking for a way to kill time before the World Cup final this weekend, you might want to check out these seven books about women making waves in the world’s most popular sport:

“However Tall the Mountain: A Dream, Eight Girls, and a Journey Home,” Awista Ayub

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Author Ayub’s 2009 book follows a group of Afghan girls who travels to the U.S. for six weeks to take part in a series of soccer camps. The girls, who grew up in the shadow of the Taliban, weren’t allowed to play soccer publicly in their home country, and returned home with a love of the sport and a newfound sense of optimism.

“Soccerwomen: The Icons, Rebels, Stars, and Trailblazers Who Transformed the Beautiful Game,” Gemma Clarke

British sportswriter Clarke interviewed dozens of women players and coaches for her 2019 book about the pioneers and stars of the game. The book includes profiles of players like Megan Rapinoe, Brandi Chastain, Abby Wambach and Hope Solo.

“Breakaway: Beyond the Goal,” Alex Morgan

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The U.S. soccer star celebrated her 30th birthday by scoring a goal in the semifinal game against England, delighting Americans and annoying Brits by miming sipping a cup of tea. The 2015 young-adult memoir from the San Dimas native tells the story of her soccer career; from her days as a standout player at Diamond Bar High School to her performances in the World Cup and the Olympics.

“The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Changed Soccer,” Caitlin Murray

Portland, Ore., sportswriter Murray interviewed almost 100 players and coaches for her history of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, which chronicles the squad from its formation in 1985 to its three World Cup championships. Soccer star Brandi Chastain said Murray did “a wonderful job sharing the history, personal stories, and memories of the national team.”

Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer,” Gwendolyn Oxenham

The 2017 book by Orange County author and filmmaker Oxenham, who was a star of Duke University’s soccer team, chronicles the experiences of women’s soccer players all over the world. Julie Foudy, a former co-captain of the U.S. women’s national team, called Oxenham “the master at finding incredible soccer stories.”

“Solo: A Memoir of Hope,” Hope Solo with Ann Killion

World Cup and Olympic champion Solo is one of America’s biggest soccer stars, and possibly one of the best goalkeepers to ever play the sport. Her 2012 autobiography tells the story of her sometimes troubled childhood and her remarkable sports career.

Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game,” Abby Wambach

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Superstar forward Wambach’s 2019 inspirational book encourages women to “unleash their individual power.” As well as “wander off the path and blaze a new one: together.” The book won praise from author Elizabeth Gilbert, comedian Amy Schumer and tennis legend Serena Williams.

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