hits counter Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women's Soccer - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women's Soccer

Availability: Ready to download

In 2004, journalist and award-winning documentary maker Gwendolyn Oxenham played futebol feminino for Santos FC, Brazil. The team hitchhiked to practice, shared their field with a horse and wore hand-me-downs from the men's team. If this was Brazil, the mecca of futebol, what did the women's game look like in other countries? Under the Lights and in the Dark takes us insid In 2004, journalist and award-winning documentary maker Gwendolyn Oxenham played futebol feminino for Santos FC, Brazil. The team hitchhiked to practice, shared their field with a horse and wore hand-me-downs from the men's team. If this was Brazil, the mecca of futebol, what did the women's game look like in other countries? Under the Lights and in the Dark takes us inside the world of women's soccer, following players across the globe, from Portland Thorns star Allie Long, who trains in an underground men's league in New York City; to Fara Williams, who hid her homelessness from her teammates while playing for the English national team. Oxenham takes us to Voronezh, Russia, where players battle more than just snowy pitches in pursuing their dream of playing pro, and to a refugee camp in Denmark, where Nadia Nadim, now a Danish international star, honed her skills after her family fled from the Taliban. Whether you're a newcomer to the sport or a die-hard fan, this is an inspiring book about stars' beginnings and adventures, struggles and hardship, and, above all, the time-honored romance of the game.


Compare

In 2004, journalist and award-winning documentary maker Gwendolyn Oxenham played futebol feminino for Santos FC, Brazil. The team hitchhiked to practice, shared their field with a horse and wore hand-me-downs from the men's team. If this was Brazil, the mecca of futebol, what did the women's game look like in other countries? Under the Lights and in the Dark takes us insid In 2004, journalist and award-winning documentary maker Gwendolyn Oxenham played futebol feminino for Santos FC, Brazil. The team hitchhiked to practice, shared their field with a horse and wore hand-me-downs from the men's team. If this was Brazil, the mecca of futebol, what did the women's game look like in other countries? Under the Lights and in the Dark takes us inside the world of women's soccer, following players across the globe, from Portland Thorns star Allie Long, who trains in an underground men's league in New York City; to Fara Williams, who hid her homelessness from her teammates while playing for the English national team. Oxenham takes us to Voronezh, Russia, where players battle more than just snowy pitches in pursuing their dream of playing pro, and to a refugee camp in Denmark, where Nadia Nadim, now a Danish international star, honed her skills after her family fled from the Taliban. Whether you're a newcomer to the sport or a die-hard fan, this is an inspiring book about stars' beginnings and adventures, struggles and hardship, and, above all, the time-honored romance of the game.

30 review for Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women's Soccer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    This is truly delightful book, wonderfully written, telling a variety of excellent stories. Some are about people and teams that I already knew well, but were told with such care that everything came far more vividly to life than I had ever expected. I've read quite a bit about Nadia Nadim, for example, but nothing written as beautifully as her chapter here. And then there are all the sections that dig into parts of the world and people that you would never otherwise encounter. This is a great bo This is truly delightful book, wonderfully written, telling a variety of excellent stories. Some are about people and teams that I already knew well, but were told with such care that everything came far more vividly to life than I had ever expected. I've read quite a bit about Nadia Nadim, for example, but nothing written as beautifully as her chapter here. And then there are all the sections that dig into parts of the world and people that you would never otherwise encounter. This is a great book if you like soccer, care at all about the role of gender in society, or enjoy a finely-crafted story. So basically, it's a great book for pretty much everyone.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Let me start off by saying, I am not a sports person. At least, I wasn’t until this year when after reading an NPR article and noticing that the French team had polka dot jerseys, I decided I was going to watch the women’s World Cup. So now here we are, weeks after the US beat the Netherlands in the final, and I, caught up in a sports fandom I didn’t seek out and don’t really know what to do with, took the logical next step of trying to find a book about it. This is honestly one of the best books Let me start off by saying, I am not a sports person. At least, I wasn’t until this year when after reading an NPR article and noticing that the French team had polka dot jerseys, I decided I was going to watch the women’s World Cup. So now here we are, weeks after the US beat the Netherlands in the final, and I, caught up in a sports fandom I didn’t seek out and don’t really know what to do with, took the logical next step of trying to find a book about it. This is honestly one of the best books I’ve read this year. I can’t classify it as the best sports book I’ve ever read, because it’s the only sports book I’ve ever read, but even if sports books were my genre I think I’d still rate this one pretty high on the list. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the diversity of the players and their circumstances and their stories. And now I don’t think I can be a Chicago Red Stars fan because I don’t hate Allie Long?

  3. 5 out of 5

    KendraLee

    This is an important read for any soccer fan, male or female. It shows first hand the incredible obstacles female players face as they pursue their dream to play pro. The author speaks with players from around the world who play in leagues around the world and illuminates a wide range of issues in the women's game: money, sexism, motherhood, even religion. The book talks about the struggles of domestic teams, leagues, and national sides. We see the successes and heartbreaks of a diverse group of This is an important read for any soccer fan, male or female. It shows first hand the incredible obstacles female players face as they pursue their dream to play pro. The author speaks with players from around the world who play in leagues around the world and illuminates a wide range of issues in the women's game: money, sexism, motherhood, even religion. The book talks about the struggles of domestic teams, leagues, and national sides. We see the successes and heartbreaks of a diverse group of players. Ultimately it ends with hope for the women's game as we end up in Portland with the Thorns and their fans, a place where pro soccer (men's and women's) has rooted and taken hold in the city.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Loved this book. The GR teaser is a little bit deceiving. I was thinking that I was going to be reading about women's soccer writ large around the world, but what I actually got was much better, which was individual stories about women playing soccer in different situations around the world. The stories are interesting, and heartfelt and these women come from all different circumstances and I loved their stories. I also really appreciate that Oxenham's stories are women that I didn't know of. Th Loved this book. The GR teaser is a little bit deceiving. I was thinking that I was going to be reading about women's soccer writ large around the world, but what I actually got was much better, which was individual stories about women playing soccer in different situations around the world. The stories are interesting, and heartfelt and these women come from all different circumstances and I loved their stories. I also really appreciate that Oxenham's stories are women that I didn't know of. There are some 'big' names in women's soccer (Allie Long, Nadia Nadim), but also some ladies that I'd never heard of. The stories are well written, and for anyone who loves the stories behind the sports, and of course anyone who enjoys women's soccer - this book is for you!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Liz Mc2

    You don’t have to be a soccer super-fan to enjoy this book. If you tune in just for Olympic or World Cup matches, or if you just have a soft spot for “scrappy underdog makes good” stories, you’ll find something to love here. Oxenham’s book is more a collection of profiles or themed chapters (there’s one on “comeback moms” and another on the work women choose after soccer) than a coherent narrative or systematic exploration of women’s soccer. She has a a nose (eye?) for a good story, and there ar You don’t have to be a soccer super-fan to enjoy this book. If you tune in just for Olympic or World Cup matches, or if you just have a soft spot for “scrappy underdog makes good” stories, you’ll find something to love here. Oxenham’s book is more a collection of profiles or themed chapters (there’s one on “comeback moms” and another on the work women choose after soccer) than a coherent narrative or systematic exploration of women’s soccer. She has a a nose (eye?) for a good story, and there are lots of telling details. I teared up more than once. Inevitably some chapters are stronger and more interesting than others. International players sign for Russian teams, only to find a league awash with laundered money, which often doesn’t trickle down to the players even in the small amounts specified in their contracts. Meanwhile, they’re being shot up with unnamed “vitamins.” Some go home early. Some stick it out because they just want to play. A team for homeless women in Liverpool turns a girl’s life around; it’s coached by an England star who lived in shelters while she played for the national team. Players who are both lesbian and Christian struggle with their identities as they play for a Christian team that tells them their feelings for women are sinful. Those were some of my favourite chapters. Oxenham ends with a chapter on the Portland Thorns, the holy grail for professional women players, a team with a big, dedicated fan base, where you’ll play in front of more than a handful of people. There are plenty of stories here of women who work and work and finally get their call up to the national team, of women who succeed against the odds. But Oxenham is aware, from the start, that plenty of talented players don’t get that chance, or choose to retire because they can’t make a living in the women’s game. She herself played at Duke and then took a year off from grad school to play in Brazil—hitch-hiking to practice and getting paid almost nothing. In the end, I think there is a coherent overall point to this collection of stories: female athletes deserve better. They are talented, they work hard, they love the game, and too often it does not love them back.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Thatcher-Murcia

    Gwendolyn Oxenham's journey through the beautiful and the seamy sides of women's soccer is a wonderful read. If you liked How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization or The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy or any of the other wonderful, wacky soccer books out there, you will enjoy this, even if the injustice in the treatment of women soccer players is frustrating. Gwendolyn Oxenham's journey through the beautiful and the seamy sides of women's soccer is a wonderful read. If you liked How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization or The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy or any of the other wonderful, wacky soccer books out there, you will enjoy this, even if the injustice in the treatment of women soccer players is frustrating.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jaz

    I really enjoyed this book. The stories told by the players in each of the different chapters relate the strange, unlikely and sometimes downright dangerous journeys taken in the pursuit of playing the game they love - football. Some of the women I'd never heard of, others - like Nadia Nadim, who recently had a brief and decidedly underwhelming soujourn at my team, Manchester City - were more familiar. The final chapter on the Portland Thorns and their die-hard supporters, the Rose City Riveters, I really enjoyed this book. The stories told by the players in each of the different chapters relate the strange, unlikely and sometimes downright dangerous journeys taken in the pursuit of playing the game they love - football. Some of the women I'd never heard of, others - like Nadia Nadim, who recently had a brief and decidedly underwhelming soujourn at my team, Manchester City - were more familiar. The final chapter on the Portland Thorns and their die-hard supporters, the Rose City Riveters, has made me want to adopt them as my American team! An essential read for all followers of women's football.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book was on a list of books to read after the Women's World Cup. I loved it. I wished I had read it before the WWC so I could have followed the players I read about. Wonderful writing made me feel like I know these players. It also makes me want to be a Portland Thorns fan! This book was on a list of books to read after the Women's World Cup. I loved it. I wished I had read it before the WWC so I could have followed the players I read about. Wonderful writing made me feel like I know these players. It also makes me want to be a Portland Thorns fan!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abner

    Sure, some of these vignettes are more engaging than others. The final section, on women's soccer in Portland, OR, is worth the price of admission. Sure, some of these vignettes are more engaging than others. The final section, on women's soccer in Portland, OR, is worth the price of admission.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I loved every second of this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    C.I. DeMann

    This is a wonderful book. I'm not much of a non-fiction guy, but Oxenham is such a good storyteller, I got caught up in each chapter's topic. Highly recommended for sports fans. Or for fans of women trying to succeed in a difficult field. This is a wonderful book. I'm not much of a non-fiction guy, but Oxenham is such a good storyteller, I got caught up in each chapter's topic. Highly recommended for sports fans. Or for fans of women trying to succeed in a difficult field.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kiah

    Literally amazing. I didn't think anything could make me like Allie Long but Oxenham did! Now I have incredible respect for her and am so happy she made the switch to Seattle where she can continue to shine! This book is all about representation. Showing what it is like to be a female athlete at the highest level. The struggle and the tireless work these women put in are mindblowing. Must read! Literally amazing. I didn't think anything could make me like Allie Long but Oxenham did! Now I have incredible respect for her and am so happy she made the switch to Seattle where she can continue to shine! This book is all about representation. Showing what it is like to be a female athlete at the highest level. The struggle and the tireless work these women put in are mindblowing. Must read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book never got enough attention. Perfectly done non-fiction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    I LOVE SPORTS SO MUCH!!! That's basically what I kept thinking to myself as I read Under the Lights and in the Dark. This book takes you all over the world and introduces you to female soccer players, a few you've maybe heard of and most you probably haven't. Reading these stories gave me goosebumps and made me really emotional about the sport I love so much. The players featured have given up so much and made so many sacrifices to make their dreams come true, or even just to have a shot at tryin I LOVE SPORTS SO MUCH!!! That's basically what I kept thinking to myself as I read Under the Lights and in the Dark. This book takes you all over the world and introduces you to female soccer players, a few you've maybe heard of and most you probably haven't. Reading these stories gave me goosebumps and made me really emotional about the sport I love so much. The players featured have given up so much and made so many sacrifices to make their dreams come true, or even just to have a shot at trying to make them come true. That sounds so cheesy but it really struck me just how hard they work while I read this book for a soccer-themed book club. I highly recommend it whether you're into soccer or not - it's just such good storytelling.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I have long been a follower of women's soccer and just decided to pick up this book one day. I am very glad I did. This book is laid in chapters that are stand alone which means it's just as easy to pick it up and read one chapter or to read several at once. I gobbled it up quickly, sacrificing sleep over the course of a couple nights because I wanted to know the next woman's story just as much as the previous woman's. The stories also highlight the side of professional sports, especially women's I have long been a follower of women's soccer and just decided to pick up this book one day. I am very glad I did. This book is laid in chapters that are stand alone which means it's just as easy to pick it up and read one chapter or to read several at once. I gobbled it up quickly, sacrificing sleep over the course of a couple nights because I wanted to know the next woman's story just as much as the previous woman's. The stories also highlight the side of professional sports, especially women's, that rarely gets talked about. It's important for people to understand what these athletes go through and think about their passion for the sport is so great that it's worth it to endure the situations they are faced with. The anecdotes in this book are of high quality due to the author's own personal understanding of the system, having played in Brazil herself as a professional, and this fact no doubt turned into trust to pull these stories out of the many women highlighted in this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I watched Gwendolyn Oxenham play with her college team, the enemy, when they played my team in the early 2000s. I naturally had no idea that lurking behind that talent with the ball was a talent with words that she would later use to express the things I feel about the beautiful game and its importance to the world. Oxenham highlights just a small few of the stories we never hear about women footballers. These stories are the ones that need to be told over and over. Soccer, to the entire world, I watched Gwendolyn Oxenham play with her college team, the enemy, when they played my team in the early 2000s. I naturally had no idea that lurking behind that talent with the ball was a talent with words that she would later use to express the things I feel about the beautiful game and its importance to the world. Oxenham highlights just a small few of the stories we never hear about women footballers. These stories are the ones that need to be told over and over. Soccer, to the entire world, is way more than just a sport. It’s magic: it’s an avenue to equality, a mechanism of union, a place to stand up for the things that are right and necessary in this world. Although published in 2017 and covering the decade-and-a-half prior, this collection of stories is more relevant than ever. People: read this book; buy tickets to your local women’s team. Start loving a sport that will love you back.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Knolla

    Mid-way through their surprising championship run in 2016 I wrote an editorial to the local paper that Rochestarians needed to appreciate what they had in the WNY Flash or they’d lose it. Sure enough the team was sold after they won the title and moved to North Carolina. But those seasons in the stands will always be special to my daughter and son. This book provides a compelling reminder that Rochester wasn’t unique in its failure to appreciate what it has in its professional women’s soccer tea Mid-way through their surprising championship run in 2016 I wrote an editorial to the local paper that Rochestarians needed to appreciate what they had in the WNY Flash or they’d lose it. Sure enough the team was sold after they won the title and moved to North Carolina. But those seasons in the stands will always be special to my daughter and son. This book provides a compelling reminder that Rochester wasn’t unique in its failure to appreciate what it has in its professional women’s soccer team. The stories of these young women pursuing their passions are told in a compelling manner, demanding respect rather than asking for sympathy, or worse, pity.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mikayla Habibi

    Is there anything more beautiful than the marriage between futbol and culture? Not for this nerd ;) Sure, it's disheartening to read about the trials and tribulations these huge (like, seriously huge. likeee fangirl freak-out worthy) names in women's soccer have gone through/continue to go through, but admirable in that they don't make excuses or throw pity parties for themselves. They just work for it. Like the classy badasses they are. *hair flip* In all seriousness... favorite line from the b Is there anything more beautiful than the marriage between futbol and culture? Not for this nerd ;) Sure, it's disheartening to read about the trials and tribulations these huge (like, seriously huge. likeee fangirl freak-out worthy) names in women's soccer have gone through/continue to go through, but admirable in that they don't make excuses or throw pity parties for themselves. They just work for it. Like the classy badasses they are. *hair flip* In all seriousness... favorite line from the book? "Hope Solo loves Nickelback." :P

  19. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Gawronski

    This is one of the best books I’ve read. It’s a book about soccer, about cultures, about life and it’s difficulties. It is encouraging, motivating, and heart warming. Every soccer player in our country should read it. I loved getting a personal glimpse into soccer around the world and what it takes to play professionally. I know the men suffer the same way the women do, language barriers, strange climates, bottom of the pecking order, difficulties. Not only is the topic thrilling but the writing This is one of the best books I’ve read. It’s a book about soccer, about cultures, about life and it’s difficulties. It is encouraging, motivating, and heart warming. Every soccer player in our country should read it. I loved getting a personal glimpse into soccer around the world and what it takes to play professionally. I know the men suffer the same way the women do, language barriers, strange climates, bottom of the pecking order, difficulties. Not only is the topic thrilling but the writing I feel is complete. It is well written and well researched covering a wide range of topics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    This was a quick, enjoyable read. I know a decent amount about women's soccer, and so many of the players here were people I was familiar with, but I learned a lot of new things about them and about other people who I hadn't been familiar with before. I also used to live in Portland and go to Thorns games, and so the final chapter about the fans in Portland was really a nice note to end on. A lovely read about the women's game and how it looks around the world. I'd love a follow up, there are so This was a quick, enjoyable read. I know a decent amount about women's soccer, and so many of the players here were people I was familiar with, but I learned a lot of new things about them and about other people who I hadn't been familiar with before. I also used to live in Portland and go to Thorns games, and so the final chapter about the fans in Portland was really a nice note to end on. A lovely read about the women's game and how it looks around the world. I'd love a follow up, there are so many stories to tell!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adam Windsor

    An uplifting account of the passion and skill of female footballers (soccer players) from across the world. It doesn't shy away from depicting the problems they face in pursuing their dream (most commonly money, but also the itinerant lifestyle and challenges of living in a new city or country) but it does so principally from an "how these women have endured and overcome them" perspective: a celebration of the grit and determination of these women as they chase their dream. An uplifting account of the passion and skill of female footballers (soccer players) from across the world. It doesn't shy away from depicting the problems they face in pursuing their dream (most commonly money, but also the itinerant lifestyle and challenges of living in a new city or country) but it does so principally from an "how these women have endured and overcome them" perspective: a celebration of the grit and determination of these women as they chase their dream.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Haris

    An excellent book about sports You don't need to care about women's soccer at all to enjoy this book. The vignettes about life as a pro in the infant stages of a sport are brilliant even if you don't care about what happens on the field. There is culture here, hero journeys and disappointments, labors of love and heartbreaks. Mostly, it captures a sport that's not yet fully commodified, commercialized, and oversaturated. Highly recommended. An excellent book about sports You don't need to care about women's soccer at all to enjoy this book. The vignettes about life as a pro in the infant stages of a sport are brilliant even if you don't care about what happens on the field. There is culture here, hero journeys and disappointments, labors of love and heartbreaks. Mostly, it captures a sport that's not yet fully commodified, commercialized, and oversaturated. Highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mic

    As a huge soccer fan, I really enjoyed this book. However, I feel that the book could've been made even better by going through another round of fact-checking. For example, Cameroon played China in the round of 16, not the quarterfinals, at the 2015 World Cup. Christine Sinclair was incorrectly called both Cristine Sinclair and a FIFA player of the year winner. Leslie Osborne is listed as an Olympian, but she never made it to the Olympics because of her ACL injury. As a huge soccer fan, I really enjoyed this book. However, I feel that the book could've been made even better by going through another round of fact-checking. For example, Cameroon played China in the round of 16, not the quarterfinals, at the 2015 World Cup. Christine Sinclair was incorrectly called both Cristine Sinclair and a FIFA player of the year winner. Leslie Osborne is listed as an Olympian, but she never made it to the Olympics because of her ACL injury.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melinae

    One of the best books I have ever read. If you love football you have to read this book. Oxenham succeeded in telling how many struggles women undergo in pursuit of her careers and their love for the game. You cannot but feel for those girls as their go under so many unthinkable things because of the oppression of coaches, low pay, folding teams and leagues and so on. Well done Gwendolyn and thank you for such an amazing book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jack Cheng

    This is great sportswriting, about athletes who love the game. For better or for worse, money and fame are largely irrelevant to women's pro soccer so the devotion to the sport feels more pure. Each chapter is basically a magazine article, a profile of a Cameroonian player in Sweden, or gay players in an evangelical league, or tales of life after soccer, and culminating in the mecca of women's soccer, Portland, OR. This was the local high schools summer read recently. Excellent choice. This is great sportswriting, about athletes who love the game. For better or for worse, money and fame are largely irrelevant to women's pro soccer so the devotion to the sport feels more pure. Each chapter is basically a magazine article, a profile of a Cameroonian player in Sweden, or gay players in an evangelical league, or tales of life after soccer, and culminating in the mecca of women's soccer, Portland, OR. This was the local high schools summer read recently. Excellent choice.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    The one thing my city does better than any other place in the world- women's soccer. With is both awesome and a little frustrating. Get it together, everyone else! Oxenham's book is wonderfully reported and the stories are inspiring for any sports fan. A must have, must read for soccer lovers. Do you like bad-ass women doing bad-ass things in the face of adversity? Here ya go. The one thing my city does better than any other place in the world- women's soccer. With is both awesome and a little frustrating. Get it together, everyone else! Oxenham's book is wonderfully reported and the stories are inspiring for any sports fan. A must have, must read for soccer lovers. Do you like bad-ass women doing bad-ass things in the face of adversity? Here ya go.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Wonderful if you are a women’s soccer fan... like me! :) Eye-opening if you ever thought it was simple for a women to make a living as a professional soccer player. Gives a great shout out to the current women’s soccer mecca, Portland, Oregon, and an idea what it will take to create a supportive atmosphere like Portland in other cities.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Esmay

    I wanted to read this book for a while now and I’m so glad I was finally able to! I absolutely loved to read about some of my favorite players and how they fought their way to the top, but it’s also really good to read about how much WoSo means for some players and the fans! I would definitely recommend this book to every WoSo fan.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Even if you aren’t a soccer fan, this book is incredibly well written and important. It examines not only the role of sports in society, but also the value of women. Oxenham writes beautifully and treats each chapter with grace and humanity. I honestly can’t recommend this book highly enough or think of another book that gave me so many feelings.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jendimmick

    An inspiring read about so much more than women’s soccer. I learned so much about the struggle to survive as a professional sport and the indomitable women from all over the world who fight that fight every day with incredible passion and skill. Attending a Portland Thorns game just made it to my ever growing bucket list! ~ Ms Dimmick

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.