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Finding the Game

Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Across two dozen countries—from back alleys to remote beaches to the roofs of skyscrapers—an eye-opening journey into the heart of soccer

Every country has a different term for it: In the United States it's "pickup." In Trinidad it's "taking a sweat." In Brazil it's "pelada" (literally "naked"). It's the other side of soccer, those spontaneous matches played away from the bright lights and manicured fields—the game for anyone, anywhere.

At sixteen, Gwendolyn Oxenham was the youngest Division I athlete in NCAA history, a starter and leading goal-scorer for Duke. At twenty, she graduated, the women's professional soccer league folded, and her career was over. In Finding the Game, Oxenham, along with her boyfriend and two friends, chases the part of the game that outlasts a career. They bribe their way into a Bolivian prison, bet shillings on a game with moonshine brewers in Kenya, play with women in hijab on a court in Tehran—and discover what the world looks like when you wander down side streets, holding on to a ball.
An entertaining, heartfelt look at the soul of a sport and a thrilling travel narrative, this book is proof that on the field and in life, some things need no translation.

From Publishers Weekly

May 21, 2012 – A former player at Duke University, Oxenham spent three years traveling the world with her boyfriend (who had also played soccer, at Notre Dame), his former Duke teammate, and her college filmmaking partner in the hopes of playing in and filming pickup soccer games in what would turn out to be 25 different countries. The result was the documentary film Pelada, but this book gives more than the behind-the-scenes accounting of the ups and downs of making the movie and trekking the globe on a shoestring budget. The friends go to interesting places and play lots of futbol, but it is the people they meet a superstar who just happens to be a tiny girl from a Brazilian slum; criminals in a Bolivian prison; Arabs and Jews who grudgingly play against one another in Jerusalem that truly make the young travelers point that sometimes sport can be more than just a game. While all the filmmakers have a role in the book, this is Oxenham s story, a memoir of a young woman transitioning from school and sports to work and life outside the collegiate bubble. Imbued with both the spirit of youth and the wistful longing of past travels, Oxenham s narrative is a suitable companion to her film and a proud testament to her favorite game. B&w photos.
Finding the Game
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Essays & Memoirs
  • Published: Jun 19, 2012
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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