Download The Away Game: The Epic Search for Soccer's Next Superstars Audiobook

The Away Game: The Epic Search for Soccers Next Superstars Audiobook, by Sebastian Abbot Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Sebastian Abbot Narrator: Robert Fass Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2018 ISBN: 9781684410491
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The gripping story of a group of boys discovered in what may be the largest talent search in sports history.

Over the past decade, an audacious program called Football Dreams has held tryouts for millions of thirteen-year-old boys across Africa looking for soccer’s next superstars. Led by the Spanish scout who helped launch Lionel Messi’s career at Barcelona and funded by the desert kingdom of Qatar, the program has chosen a handful of boys each year to train to become professionals―a process over a thousand times more selective than getting into Harvard.

In The Away Game, reporter Sebastian Abbot follows a small group of the boys as they are discovered on dirt fields across Africa, join the glittering academy in Doha where they train, and compete for the chance to gain fame and fortune at Europe’s top clubs. We meet Diawandou, a skilled Senegalese defender whose composure makes him a natural leader on the field; Hamza, a midfielder from Ghana with great talent but a mercurial personality to match; Ibrahima, a towering striker who scores goals by the bucketload; Serigne Mbaye, who glides by players effortlessly but happens to be deaf; and Bernard, often the smallest kid on the field but a sublime playmaker who invites constant comparison to Messi.

Abbot masterfully weaves together the dramatic story of the boys’ journey with an exploration of the art and science of trying to spot talent at such a young age. As in so many other sports, data analytics in soccer have expanded in the wake of Moneyball, with scouts employing more sophisticated metrics like “expected goals” and tracking data to judge players. But, as The Away Game chronicles, soccer genius depends more on intangible qualities like “game intelligence” than on easily quantifiable ones.

Richly reported and deeply moving, The Away Game is set against the geopolitical backdrop of Qatar’s rise from an impoverished patch of desert to an immensely rich nation determined to buy a place on the international stage. It is an unforgettable story of the joy and pain these talented African boys experience as they chase their dreams in a dizzying world of rich Arab sheikhs, money-hungry agents, and soccer-mad European fans.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What a fantastic story: a soccer-themed mix of Hoop Dreams and The Sports Gene…A tale with universal appeal to anyone who cares about the human condition.”

    Grant Wahl, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A sobering look at the realities of the pursuit of big-time sporting opportunities.”

    Kirkus (starred review)

  • “Features vivid profiles, engrossing play-by-play, and a sobering lesson: bad breaks and cold business calculations sometimes trump ability in the making of champions.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An exhilarating, at times heartbreaking, and ultimately unforgettable journey that lays bare the true human stakes of the world’s most popular game.”

    Warren St. John, author of Outcasts United

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About the Author

Sebastian Abbot worked for the Associated Press in Cairo and Islamabad, where he was bureau chief. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He lives in New York.

About the Narrator

Robert Fass is a veteran actor and twice winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has earned mulltiple Earphones Awards, including one for his narration of Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name, which was named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Audiobooks of 2011. He has given voice to modern and classic fiction writers alike, including Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Isaac Asimov, Jeffrey Deaver, and John Steinbeck, as well as to nonfiction works in history, memoir, health, journalism, and business.