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The Away Game

The Epic Search for Soccer's Next Superstars
Narrated by: Robert Fass
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: Sport, Other
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

For the past decade, an audacious program called Football Dreams has held tryouts for millions of young boys across Africa, looking for soccer's next superstars. Led by the Spanish scout who helped launch Lionel Messi's career and funded by the desert kingdom of Qatar, the program chooses just a handful of boys each year to train to become professionals; the process is one thousand times more selective than getting into Harvard University.

In an extraordinary work of reporting, international politics, and sports science, Sebastian Abbot follows a small group of the boys as they are discovered on dirt fields across Africa, join the glittering Football Dreams academy in Doha, and fight for the chance to gain fame and fortune at Europe's top clubs. Weaving together the drama of the boys' determination to chase their dreams with the latest ideas on talent spotting and predicting sporting success, Abbot memorably explores why some of the boys succeed and chronicles the heartbreak of those who don't.

©2018 Sebastian Abbot (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Profile Image for Poncho
  • Poncho
  • 02-09-19

Football Neocolonialism

The book is very good , the pace is good and not boring a very good choice to listen.

I really recommend the book as is written by an American author so the judgment is neutral and helps to check the rudimentary system (Fueled with millions of euros) developed by Spanish scouts , the author makes a point how the scouting (specially in USA) have changed to don't judge by what you see but to check other variants like statistics , forecast , Sociology studies , Psychological studies ,

It's clear that those are the early years of the academy but the judgment of the Scouts as we can see is very poor they are looking for the next Messi but the game evolves and in fact Josep Colomer didn't find Messi neither Menguita or Reixach , Messi was already playing for a youth academy in Argentina yea there are many people that helped him to get to the big team but that was no real scouting , you can check all the stories of all the people who said that" he discovered Messi" but what really connect all those stories is that they were asked to watch a special kid.

I understand that The author as an insider at the Colomer Scouting Journeys , Aspire academy and in The belgium club needed to write his book in neutral mode , i was hoping a little more criticism from the author but it's ok , it's very sad the situation of the kids but I hope the system somehow get a change although with their problems and controversies the best system for athletes development is the NCAA at very least the kids got an education.

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  • amoinsf
  • 06-08-18

The fight for talent

Great book for soccer fans who want to understand how hard it is to become a professional, and the tough journey so many young players make. The book does focus on one area and group of players, I was expecting a broader comparison of Asia, Africa and the Americas, but actually glad in the end that it just focused on Africa and went into a deeper journey. Well narrated and kept my interest.

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  • Siri
  • 25-07-18

Intriguing and enlightening - great gift for soccer/football fans

Like many of my favorite Michael Lewis books (Moneyball, Flash Boys) this book weaves together an interesting narrative and a healthy amount of information on a complex story with numerous moving parts. The stories of the young players and the evolution of the Qatari program are enriched by Abbot’s explanations of the data behind football recruitment strategies, etc, and readers like myself — who know the sport well but don’t live and breathe professional soccer outside parts of the World Cup — will likely be much more knowledgeable about and interested in the game after having read this book. I enjoyed it so much, I am buying it for close friends and relatives who are European league fans.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 24-07-18

Absolutely amazing!

If you're passionate about football and the scouting world in developing countries, there litetally is no better book for you!

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  • michael
  • 10-05-18

The business of soccer

for those who love the game this an interesting listen. for those who are interested in the business of the game it is a must listen. Ever wonder how that Nigerian or Senegal player ended up on your MLS team or your favorite EPL club? chances are they started on a muddy patch of a dirt and grass field playing in Sandals rather than $400 shoes. it is a long way from backstreet soccer clubs in Africa to the million dollar endorsements in the west.

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  • Bayonle Arashi
  • 08-05-18

2nd time listener

second time to listen in two years. awesome job by Seth and it's worth reading again and again

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  • Andrew Wainwright
  • 01-04-18

Great book

Fascinatingly peeled back the layers of international soccer, African culture, and the hopes and dreams of young athletes.

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  • NAME_NOT_RETURNED
  • 29-03-18

Tears, tension, triumphs, tragedies

From the first few pages, this author engages the reader in a journey through hopes, dreams and soccer itself. You don’t need to be a soccer fan to enjoy this journey. The prose and imagery supplies both visual and emotional experiences for the reader. Loved this book