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Both locations of the Cedar Rapids Public Library will be closed on Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. 

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Alison Gowans
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With the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup underway, here are books to help you diver deeper into the soccer spirit. The list includes memoirs by current and former players, histories of the decorated U.S. Women's National Soccer Team and the rise of women's soccer in the United States, and a couple of bonus books celebrating the beautiful game and the ordinary people who play it far from the shining lights of international competitions.

Scroll through the list below and click the titles to put the books on hold in our catalog today. Book descriptions are excerpted from the catalog or the publisher.

"The U.S. Women's Soccer Team: An American Success Story" by Clemente Angelo Lisi

Lisi looks at how women's soccer has gained popularity over the last couple of decades, detailing the program's infancy and how it steadily became a model for women's teams around the globe. Beginning with the start of the U.S. program in 1985, Clemente Lisi recounts the development of the women's team, highlighted by their two first place finishes in the Women's World Cups (1991 and 1999) and three Olympic Women's Gold Medals (1996, 2004, and 2008). In addition to chronicling the history of the team as a whole, this book offers mini profiles, as well as photographs, of some of the best players over the years, including Julie Foudy, Amy Rodriguez, Hope Solo, and Mia Hamm.

"When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World" by Carli Lloyd
In 2015, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won its first FIFA championship in sixteen years, culminating in an epic final game that electrified soccer fans around the world. It featured a gutsy, brilliant performance by team captain and midfielder Carli Lloyd, who made history that day, scoring a hat trick – three goals in one game – during the first sixteen minutes. But there was a time when Carli almost quit the sport. In 2003 she was struggling, her soccer career at a crossroads. Then she found a trusted trainer, James Galanis, who saw in Carli a player with raw talent, skill, and a great dedication to the game. Together they set to work, training day and night, fighting, grinding it out. Despite all the naysayers, the times she was benched, moments when her self-confidence took a nosedive, she succeeded in becoming one of the best players in the world. This candid reflection on a remarkable turnaround will take readers inside the women's national team and inside the head of an athlete who willed herself to perform at the highest levels of competition.

"Money, Power, Respect: How Women in Sports are Shaping the Future of Feminism" by Macaela MacKenzie

Women's sports receive a fraction of the airtime allotted for men's sports, as well as a fraction of the marketing dollars, media coverage, training in budget facilities, and much more. As sports journalist Macaela MacKenzie exposes in "Money, Power, Respect," misogyny in women's sports runs deep – but there is hope at the end of the tunnel. MacKenzie takes us into the world of the women athletes who are championing equal pay, equal rights, and equal respect against often-tremendous odds. She overturns depressingly common myths and misconceptions about women's sports, revealing that the real reason they're so often seen as an afterthought is nothing more than sexism.

"Learning America: One Woman's Fight for Educational Justice for Refugee Children" by Luma Mufleh

It was a wrong turn that changed everything. When Luma Mufleh – a Muslim, gay, refugee woman from hyper-conservative Jordan – stumbled upon a pick-up game of soccer in Clarkston, Georgia, something compelled her to join. The players, 11- and 12-year-olds from Liberia, Afghanistan, and Sudan, soon welcomed her as coach of their ragtag but fiercely competitive group. Drawn into their lives, Mufleh learned that few of her players, all local public school students, could read a single word. She asks, "Where was the America that took me in? That protected me? How can I get these kids to that America?" Learning America traces the story of how Mufleh grew a group of kids into a soccer team and then into a nationally acclaimed network of schools for refugee children. The journey is inspiring and hard-won: Fugees schools accept only those most in need; no student passes a grade without earning it; the failure of any student is the responsibility of all. Soccer as a part of every school day is a powerful catalyst to heal trauma, create belonging, and accelerate learning. Finally, this gifted storyteller delivers provocative, indelible portraits of student after student making leaps in learning that aren't supposed to be possible for children born into trauma – stories that shine powerful light on the path to educational justice for all of America's most left-behind.

"Pride of a Nation: A Celebration of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team" by Gwendolyn Oxenham, Julie Foudy, David Hirshey, Rob Fleder, and Roger Director

Drawing from extensive photo and print archives, this first official history of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team pays tribute to one of the most beloved teams in sports, revisiting their historic four World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals, as well as unforgettable players across the generations.

"Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-Five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer" by Gwendolyn Oxenham

Every country has a different term for it: in the United States, it's "pickup." In Trinidad, it's "taking a sweat." In Brazil, it's "pelada" (literally "naked"). It's the other side of soccer, played away from the bright lights and manicured fields--the game for anyone, anywhere. Gwendolyn Oxenham was a former college soccer star with visions of going pro. But when the women's professional soccer league folded, her career was over before it began. So she embarked on a different kind of adventure. In "Finding the Game," Oxenham, with her boyfriend and two friends, scour the globe in search of pickup soccer: they bribe their way into a Bolivian prison, compete against women in hijab in Tehran, and bet shillings on a game with moonshine brewers in Kenya. Along the way, she discovers that the game, stripped down to its core, is the same no matter where it's played. An entertaining, heartfelt look at the soul of a sport, this book is proof that on the field and in life, some things need no translation.

"One Life" by Megan Rapinoe

The Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women's World Cup champion describes her childhood in a conservative California town, her athletic achievements, and her public advocacy of civil rights and urgently needed social change.

"My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World-Champion Goalkeeper" by Briana Scurry

Briana Scurry was a pioneer on the US Women's National Team. She won gold in Atlanta in 1996, the first time women's soccer was ever played in the Olympics. She was a key part of the fabled "99ers," making an epic save in the decisive penalty-kick shootout in the final. Scurry captured her second Olympic gold in 2004, cementing her status as one of the premier players in the world. She was the only Black player on the team, and she was also the first player to be openly gay. But Scurry's storybook career ended in 2010 when a knee to the head left her with severe head trauma. She was labeled "temporarily totally disabled," and the reality was even worse. She spiraled into depression, debt, and endured such pain that she closed out her closest friends and soccer soulmates. She pawned her gold medals. She walked to the edge of a waterfall and contemplated suicide. It seemed like the only way out until Scurry made her greatest save of all. A memoir of startling candor, "My Greatest Save" is a story of triumph, tragedy, and redemption from a woman who has broken through barriers her entire life.

"Forward: A Memoir" by Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. Named by Time magazine as one of the most influential people of 2015, the iconic soccer player captured the nation's heart when she led her team to its 2015 World Cup Championship. Admired for her fearlessness and passion, Abby is a vocal advocate for women's rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world. She has become a heavily requested speaker to a wide a range of audiences, from college students to executives at Fortune 500 companies. In "Forward," Abby recounts her own decisions, wins, losses, and the pivotal moments that helped her become the world class athlete and leader she is today.

"Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game" by Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach became a champion because of her incredible talent as a soccer player. She became an icon because of her remarkable wisdom as a leader. As the co-captain of the 2015 Women's World Cup Champion Team, she created a culture not just of excellence, but of honor, commitment, resilience, and sisterhood. She helped transform a group of individual women into one of the most successful, powerful, and united Wolfpacks of all time. In her retirement, Abby is ready to do the same for her new team: All Women Everywhere. Abby's message to women is: We have never been Little Red Riding Hood. We Are the Wolves. We must wander off the path and blaze a new one: together. She insists that women must let go of old rules of leadership that neither include or serve them. She has created a new set of Wolfpack rules to help women unleash their individual power, unite with their Wolfpack, and change the landscape of their lives and world: from the family room to the board room to the White House. Based on the her 2018 commencement speech at Barnard College, the two-time Olympic gold medalist presents an empowering message for women to unleash their power, build teams, and positively change the world.