With the internet taking over the world, there are so many Online Soccer Academies, soccer training products, and soccer websites (such as this one). Youtube is chalk full of soccer highlight videos, clips of professional clubs doing drills and "Rhondos", and players and coaches who want to give back and get paid in return, by providing the world what worked and didn't work for them.
But the internet, as great as it is, can never replace books. Personally, I love the physical aspect of a book- marking the page, carrying it with me, caressing it, and closing it when I finish. A book is like a companion of knowledge that doesn't have the compulsive/addictive nature of a cell phone, computer, or other version of a florescence screen.
Here are 5 books I think every soccer player should to read:
1. Training Soccer Champions by Anson Dorrance
Anson Dorrance is the most successful Division 1 soccer coach of all time. His University of North Carolina Tar Heels have won 21 of the 31 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships. The Tar Heels' record under Dorrance is 719-39-24 (.935 winning percentage) over 33 seasons as of September 9, 2011. He has led his team to a 101-game unbeaten streak and coached 13 different women to a total of 20 National Player of the Year awards. Crazy, right? He must know a thing or two about the game and what it takes to succeed. One of my favorite parts of the book is when he talks about training habits. He says training even a simple drill should be done at such a high level that you feel like you might fall over or actually do fall over. Dorrance continually preaches the importance of training outside of your comfort zone, both physically and mentally.
"The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching." - Coach Dorrance
2. The New Toughness Training For Sports: Mental Emotional Physical Conditioning from One of the World's Premier Sports Psychologists by James E. Loehr
I first started reading this book in the 7th grade when I reaized that my mind was playing a big role in the consistency in which I was able to perform on the soccer field. This book made a huge impact on me by educating me about flow states, what they entail, and how to reach them. Peak performance usually happens in a state of arousal that has a balance of relaxation, excitement, concentration, and being in the moment. Things like anger, fear, outcome dependence, and being distracted do not contribute to positive performance.
This book is big time. Parents who want to understand the game, coaches who want a refreshing and funny reminder about certain soccer principles, and definitely players can all benefit from this book. I interviewed the author HERE and you can definitely see his a smart man with plenty of wisdom.
4. High Performance Soccer: Techniques and Tactics For Advanced Play by Paul Caligiuiri with a Foreward by Cobi Jones
I coached with Paul Caligiuri for two years at Cal Poly Pomona, but I read the book he wrote years before that. The book has so many cool stories and individual training ideas, and coming from Paul, a USA Soccer Hall of Famer, former Galaxy player, Bundesliga player, and UCLA stud, it is worth listening to. Highly motivational, I recommend this book that went under the radar.
5. Soccer Strong: How To Stay Healthy, Fly Around The Pitch, and Become a Soccer Dynamo by Yours Truly
The best book ever written on physical training by a mad scientist genius. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration. But seriously, this book has some pretty solid information to take your body to a higher level. You can get it in the Store page.