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Publisher's 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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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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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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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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Absolutely fantastic

Loved the book very much and been my first book on audible makes it even better. learnt a lot about the Aspire project and the book further confirm my saying regarding African players and lack of patience as well as age cheating. Robert also delivered the voice really well. Good job guys.

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Great book

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

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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