The Soccer Diaries


The Soccer Diaries

An American's Thirty-Year Pursuit of the International Game

Michael J. Agovino

312 pages
4 illustrations


June 2014


$26.95 Add to Cart

May 2018


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Although soccer had long been the world’s game when Michael J. Agovino first encountered it in 1982, here it was just a poor cousin to American football, to be found on obscure UHF channels and in foreign magazines. But as Agovino himself passionately pursued soccer, Americans got wise and turned it into one of the most popular sports in the country. Agovino’s love affair with soccer is a portrait of the game’s culture and an intimate history of the sport’s coming of age in the United States.

Agovino’s quest takes him from the unkempt field in the Bronx where he taught himself to play to some of the sport’s most storied venues and historic matches. With Agovino we travel from school fields to Giants Stadium, then from England to Germany, Italy, and Spain, along the way taking in the final days of the North American Soccer League, the 1994 World Cup, and the birth of Major League Soccer. Offering the perspective of fan, player, and journalist, Agovino chronicles his obsession with the sport and its phenomenal evolution. 

Author Bio

Michael J. Agovino is the author of The Bookmaker: A Memoir of Money, Luck, and Familyfrom the Utopian Outskirts of New York City.


“An intimate and wonderfully written account of a sport that is increasingly shaking America’s soul out.”—Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award winner Let the Great World Spin and Dancer

“An always-readable, always-engaging journey through the life of a football-mad New Yorker. . . . Truly fascinating.”—Andi Thomas, SB Nation

“A funny and affecting account of one American’s stubborn embrace of soccer.”—Esquire

 “A gripping narrative . . . offering insights into the growth of soccer’s popularity in America.”—Souvik Naha, Journal of Sport History

"A thoughtful and enjoyable narrative of his passion for the game"—Keir Graff, Booklist

"Agovino’s journey will make soccer fans reflect on their own path on the lifelong love affair they have with the game they just can’t quit, no matter when that path started."—Jon Arnold, Goal

"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."—Daniel Casey, Soccer Newsday

"[The Soccer Diaries] offers more than an insightful account of American soccer’s evolution over the past three decades—it also hits a chord with anyone who’s enjoyed meeting fascinating characters at pickup games, who’s discovered new friends and previously unfamiliar cultures through soccer, and experienced the emotional roller-coaster of soccer fandom."—Mike Woitalla, Soccer America Daily

"Michael Agovino's The Soccer Diaries is 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."—Matthew S. Tettleton, Aethlon

“Those who lived through this barren time for the game in America during the ’80s will see a lot of themselves in this diary, while for the new MLS era, this will be an eye opener on how things used to be.”—The Football Pink

Table of Contents

Prologue: August 7, 1982
Part I: The Dark Ages, 1982-1993
Part II: Renaissance, 1994-2003
Part III: The Enlightenment, 2004-2012
Epilogue: August 8, 2012

Also of Interest