reviews on
finding the game

"Any reader inclined to enjoy energetic writing about soccer will love this book. But Oxenham has brought to this extraordinary project not only a player’s enthusiasm, but also a thoughtful writer’s sense of humor and eye for the magnificently unlikely moment that takes her endeavor beyond the game...Finding the Game suggests powerfully, if playfully, that we are connected. All of us. In that suggestion, there is hope....A joyous antidote to the newspaper's front page." —NPR's Bill Littlefield, "Only a Game"

“Oxenham avoids platitudes but gracefully shows how playing together can unite us more than shared worship of famous teams. Soccer fans will love this, but anyone who enjoys shoestring travelogues will like it, too. They’ll all want to watch the film, Pelada.“ —Keir Graff, Booklist

“It's not just an adventure that all of us would have liked to have had. Oxenham can write, too. A brave account of soccer as a universal language.” —Simon Kuper, New York Times bestselling author of Soccernomics

"Engrossing...Nobody who reads “Finding the Game’’ will doubt that these stories are precious and necessary." - The Boston Globe

“I knew Gwendolyn Oxenham and her group had made a terrific documentary film, but it takes completely different skills to write a compelling book. She has achieved that feat here, fashioning a journey narrative about pickup soccer that’s filled with the details of a seasoned observer/adventurer. I enjoyed it from start to finish.” —Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated senior writer

“In Finding the Game, Oxenham goes on an international quest to document soccer as a pickup game that brings promise and joy in even the least promising and most joyless venues. In the course of her travels, she proves beyond a doubt that sports is not only a pervasive second language in every culture, but also one she speaks with perfect fluency. Her book is as charmingly observed as it is beautifully written.” —Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle


"Through soccer, Gwendolyn Oxenham discovers and delights in the gifts, on and off the field, that ‘the beautiful game’ can bring. As she says, ‘the best games are marked by a failure to refrain.’ So are the best stories. Hers is proof." —Alexi Lalas, National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee and analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports


"Oxenham reintroduced me to some of the rules of soccer and life, that I had forgotten. When Oxenham wrote, 'You don't talk if no one's ever seen you play,' I immediately knew where she was coming from and headed. . . . An unparalleled journey that invokes more than just passion for soccer.” —Rob Stone, ESPN commentator

"A skillfully written account of the fearless foursome's three-year, 25-country search for pickup soccer games...Ultimately, "Finding the Game" transcends the sport of soccer to become not only a colorful and compelling travelogue, but also Oxenham's personal story of learning to let go of a lifelong dream." -OC Register

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