Before They Were Stars: How Messi, Alex Morgan, and Other Soccer Greats Rose to the Top (World Soccer Legends) (Hardcover)
What were Messi, Alex Morgan, Neymar, or Carli Lloyd like when they were your age?
Learn how the top soccer stars of all time grew up and conquered the sport. This guide follows fourteen of the best men’s and women’s players from their first childhood encounter with association football—whether at the school gym or a pickup game in a vacant lot—to their first appearance in a top-division match or their first international cap. For every one of them, it was a journey with its share of both tragedy and triumph.
Did you know that . . .
. . . as a boy, Pelé practiced with a newspaper-stuffed sock or a grapefruit, because he couldn’t afford a proper football?
. . . Mia Hamm discovered the sport of soccer as a toddler in Florence, Italy, where her father, a U.S. Air Force pilot, was stationed?
. . . at age ten, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency that threatened to end his soccer career—until Barça offered to pay for his treatment?
Illustrated with rare photos of stars-to-be on and off the field, Before They Were Stars is sure to entertain and inspire any budding soccer legend. Fans can learn more about their favorite players with other World Soccer Legends series books, such as Stars of Women's Soccer: 2nd Edition, Stars of World Soccer, Neymar, Messi, and Alex Morgan.
Illugi Jökulsson is a journalist, editor, and author living in Iceland.
Taking a novel approach to discussing soccer stars, Jokulsson looks at the childhoods and early careers of 14 significant players, 8 men and 6 women. Why is Edson Arantes do Nascimento known worldwide as Pelé? How did a baby with a club foot grow up to be superstar Mia Hamm? And what’s the connection between PlayStation FIFA games and Kylian Mbappé’s signature celebration pose after a goal? Jokulsson answers these questions in biographical accounts of young people headed for greatness. In each four-page section, standard details (dates, teams) are efficiently delivered in adjacent fact boxes, leaving plenty of space for telling the individual’s story. The very readable text and the many large action photos of the players are equally engaging. This attractive large-format volume is similar in format to others in the World Soccer Legends series. Simultaneously released, its Women’s World Cup 2019 looks toward the quadrennial event taking place this summer (June 7 to July 7) in France by reviewing the tournament’s history, surveying 11 rival teams, and profiling 16 of the players on Team USA.