My Life in Concrete Soccer Cities

The True Story of an Inner City Soccer Coach & Educator

Marcus DiBernardo, 2014, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

If you are a regular reader of soccer books, biographies of coaches are one of the most common topics one stumbles over. Today every coach, who won at least one big title, has a biography, some more some less interesting, but they are in many ways very similar. My Life in Concrete Soccer Cities differs from these books in so far, that it is not a typical biography about one of the 1% of soccer coaches but more about one of the 99% which will never make it to the spotlights. In DiBernardo’s world you have to worry more about the life of your players, than about winning. You try to help them to progress in life, that they develop a good personality and are not entrapped in criminal activities. As a teacher and self-educated coach, his life brought him to several cities but in all of them it seemed that he coached in ghetto areas, where soccer is the only distraction from a violent and denying environment. Therefore, although one hopes that some of the players make it to the top, his story shows that it is equally satisfying and important when his teams just allow his players to enjoy their soccer time, so that they forget the live they have to go back to afterwards.
The style of the book is very simple and a good author could probably write one or several great novels based on the life events described. However, that is not necessary to understand the tragedies and joys of the players DiBernardo met. On one hand the book is a statement that soccer is not only the glamorous world of superstars, we usually talk about. It is also this other world were kids just meet on the street to have fun and there is no simpler game or sport than soccer to achieve that.  On the other hand just the author’s descriptions of the situations in the cities, are a unexpressed lament about the current society, which is not able to prevent, that so many kids grow up with experiencing daily violence and fear.

Biography: 2/3
History: 1/3
Background: 2/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 0/3

Must read for: No One >> Fans of soccer tactics >> Soccer fans >> All readers

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