I Only Read Football Books These Days

I haven't actually read properly since I left school (a whole 9 years ago) but this year I am trying my best to get through as many of the books in our ever growing collection as I can. When I have actually sat and looked at our collection I have realised we actually have a lot of football related books, with possibly even more at my parents. Some books I have read recently and some go back years, so here are the football books we currently have in our collection at our own house (I will dig around in my parents loft another day)...

Giggsy - If I remember correctly this book actually came from the pound shop quite a few years ago. Granted it isn't an autobiography but growing up Giggs was one of my favourite players so I really do need to finally get around to reading this. Although I am sure by now there will be some more updated versions around.

Alex Ferguson - An absolute legend of the game is Sir Alex Ferguson of course I was buying his book as soon as we saw it. I have always classed Manchester United as my second team for the men's game so I have grown up watching their games and even going to some when we have had chance. Ferguson has always been one of my favourite managers and the first time around this book was a great read... I just want to read it again now to refresh myself.

Juan Mata - Liam actually treated me to this one a few months ago. Mata may be an ex Chelsea player but I really do think he is a fantastic player. He is always on of the first to mention the women's team too which is great to see as most male players still distance themselves from the women's game. I can't wait to sit down and give this a read.

Rio Ferdinand - This books is definitely outdated now, in fact I think there are two more new ones that I need to pick up. Rio is one of the first defenders I actually took notice on how they played, growing up I was more fascinated by the attacking side of the game I often overlooked defenders and how good some actually were. I have to say he is possibly still one of my all time favourite center backs. I remember reading this book years ago but again I would love to give it another read and possibly purchase the other books he has out. 

Torres -  One of the very few Liverpool players, past or present, I actually like is Fernando Torres. I think it is because at tournaments in the men's International game I would always pick to follow Spain (don't ask me why as I really don't have the answer). Torres was an absolutely fantastic player and I will admit I fancied him a bit so of course I bought his book. It was a really good read and my sister actually ended up borrowing it from me for a while (she takes after my dad by being a Chelsea fan) but I finally have it back now and no doubt will end up picking it up to read once again.

Abby Wambach - One of the first women's football books I read was Abby Wambach's autobiography and it had me hooked. Abby is a player who scored plenty of goals but as you read in the book it wasn't always easy for her, she had plenty of struggles. This is a book I would definitely read again. 

Hope Solo - Solo is the latest book I have finished and I will actually have a review going up for you very soon. Hope is definitely considered outspoken and controversy seems to have followed her a fair bit through her life but this book gives a great insight into her growing up, but more on that in the review. 

Alex Morgan - I found that this one maybe suited to younger readers (teenage years) but it was really easy reading and I basically flew through it. The book is all about Alex's life and gives tips on dealing with rejection, pressure and much more. By reading this book you really start to understand why Alex is where she is in her career to date. 

Carli Lloyd - I have actually already reviewed this book which you can read here, it was a brilliant read and gives a really good insight on how Carli became one of the world's greatest players. Give the review a read and you will see all my thoughts on the full book. 

Under the Lights and in the dark - I have already read this book twice but you know what... I love it so much I will be reading it plenty more times. I even recommend this to a lot of people on Twitter as it is a book that shouldn't be slept on. Giving insights into different leagues around the world it really shows how the female players are treated and what is expected of them, my particular favourite chapter is about Allie Long playing in the underground league.

The making of the women's world cup - I picked this up before the World Cup in 2019 and still haven't got around to reading it. I am looking forward to reading little snippets from world cups gone by. 

Eni Aluko - Another purchase by Liam, for my birthday back in September he got me a copy of Eni Aluko's book and he was lucky enough to find a signed copy for me. It seems to be a case of issues Eni spoke about took center stage and people forgot just how great of a career she had, this book was brought out before her retirement and I am actually looking forward to reading about the things she went through in her own version of events rather than the medias. 

So there you have it that is our current football book collection or at least what we can find of them. There should be plenty of book reviews coming your way in the future. Can you recommend any books we could add to this? Let us know.

MLS 2020 Jerseys : The Jerseys For The 25th Season

The new seasons MLS shirts were finally released at an event in New York this week. This event was the kick off for the MLS's 25th season which begins on the 29th February so we don't have much longer to wait to see who is going to make an impact & if Orlando will finally pick back up and do any better than last season. The shirts are fashioned on the 1996 season when the MLS began & all the shirts have the classic 3 stripes across the shoulder but each is adapted to fit the kit nicely. 

Atlanta - The kings kit - Nice and simple with the white and gold. The shirt still subtly features the 5 stripes but keeps in with the simplicity. The details I love how the stripes are gold to fit in with the detailing and how just the little details add the character to the shirt. The little United & conquer coin on the jock tag, along with the Atlanta spike icon on the back of the shirts neck, just add the City's personality to the shirt. 

Colorado Rapids - The Nine Six - The shirt is burgundy with sky blue accents which if made right could work really well together. The Rapids are one of the league's founding clubs and to commemorate this the shirt will carry the silver nine-star founding club mark that will be exclusive to authentic shirts of the founding clubs. This shirt also features the recent editions of the Colorado stage flag on the jock tag along with the state flag's C on the back neck.  

Columbus Crew - This shirt is in the black just like what the Crew have worn in recent years. However, this year it will have a bit of a different look as it will have a checkerboard print to match the checkerboard pattern of the clubs badge. Again as they are one of the founding clubs the shirt will also feature the silver nine-star.  Another element on this 'Heritage' shirt is the state of Ohio on the back neck with a star representing the city of Columbus. 

FC Cincinnati - Bold kit - It seems that 2020 is a fresh start for FC Cincinnati, this season they will be wearing a 'Bold Kit' which a half-half shirt. It is in a navy & royal blue colour with the orange 3 stripes on the shoulder. There are a few other features on this jersey such as the Juncta Juvant (Strength in Unity) motto that is on the inside of the neck tape & the raised crown at the back which is part of the clubs badge. 

DC United - D.C. United are back in the same colours this season as they were in for the 1996 season. With three white stripes running across the shoulders and red on the bottom of the sleeves this shirt looks great. As they are another founding club this shirt will also feature the silver nine-star along with D.C. United in a bold white lettering across the back neck. The front also has the Unite the District jock tag on the front. A classic black, white and red shirt is just what you like to see. 

FC Dallas - The Legacy EQT shirt is designed to celebrate the club history of FC Dallas. With a hoop design which they have had in previous years mixed with the clubs main red and blue colours. FC Dallas also get one of the silver nine-stars as a nod to FCD's charter-member status. There is the Texas state flag is on the back neckline of the shirt & the LH patch will be on the front of the shirt to remember their late owner Lamar Hunt.

Houston Dynamo - With what looks to be a new-look Dynamo under first-year manager Tab Ramos the club are also launching a new HTX 15 shirt to go along with the occasion. The design is an upgraded version of the black shirt Dynamo wore last season. It has the 3 orange stripes on the shoulder and has an orange graphic print across the black fabric which is apparently designed to represent a city that never sleeps. It is definitely a shirt that will send your eyes funny after while but I quite like it. This shirt also has the Texas state flag on the lower jock tag.

LA Galaxy - LA Galaxy are another one of the founding clubs for the MLS so their shirt will also feature the silver nine-star mark. Galaxy will be celebrating the 25th season of the MLS in a classic white shirt with a silver sash design. Also in the silver will be the three Adidas stripes over the shoulder. The shirt will also feature 5 stars above the crest to represent the clubs record of 5 MLS Cups.

Inter Miami FC- The club part owned by footballing legend David Beckham will make their MLS debut in 2020. Their first away jersey is black with a bit of pink to add the mark of South Florida. After looking at pictures of Beckham in the stadium in Fort Lauderdale this pink will match perfectly with the seats of the stadium too. The stripes on the shoulder are also in pink, in keep with the pink & black simple design. To be honest I am a little let down by this as their 1st away shirt.

Sporting Kansas City - Another club who will have the founding club mark is Sporting Kansas City. They will also have a new dark indigo & sporting blue-dotted kit. This was apparently inspired by the iconic silver metal fins that make up the of Children's Mercy Park.

LAFC - Shoulder to Shoulder - This new primary shirt celebrates the 2019 Supporters' Shield winners' deep ties to the LA community  & it's supporters. It retains the classic black look that they wore while breaking records last season. Also on the shirt there are bits of gold including the gold neck tape which has the words Shoulder to Shoulder on it, this is to symbolise the commitment of the club & the independent supporters union for the club the 3252.

Minnesota United - Minnesota reached the playoffs for the first time in 2019 and in 2020 they will be taking to the field in a new away shirt that has the unmistakable mark of their 'Loons' nickname. The state bird is represented with a large loon wing sweeping across the grey shirt. Not only is the shirt grey but it has the light blue 3 stripes.  As a sign of unity shared with their 'Wonderwall' singing fans the shirt has the clubs' slogan 'Forever United is across the inside neck tape.

Montreal Impact - Not only are the Impact heading into the new season with the legend Thierry Henry as their manager but they are also going to have a nice new away shirt to go along with his appointment. This simple shirts features white pinstripes & the 3 stripes in black across the shoulder. Passion - Fierte- Authenticite which is the clubs' slogan is on the inside neck tape.

New England Revolution - A team bringing a classic look back in 2020 is New England Revolution. They will be wearing an updated version of their classic red, white and blue flag look from the 1996 season, this will be called 'The Original'. To go along with this shirt they will also be wearing red shorts for the first time.

New York Red Bulls - The New York Red Bulls have opted to go dark for 2020. Their shirt is black with red accents which pays homage to the club's original colours. This shirt is called 'Dark Mode'. It features a raised, all red club crest and of course it has the nine-star mark as they are one of the original teams.

 Nashville SC - Another team who are being welcomed to the MLS for the first time is Nashville SC, for their first season they will be having 2 shirts, the home one named Forever Gold takes the colours from the 'Electric Gold' badge with a blue trim. But that isn't the best shirt for me the best is the 'Nashville Vide' this reverses the colour pattern with the blue taking centre stage. Both these shirts will have the Tennessee Tri-Star flag on the jock tag.

New York City FC - New York City FC have taken some inspiration from their vibrant home city for their away shirt that they have called 'The Gotham Kit'. The front of the shirt is inspired by the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge and other details are drawn from the scenery of New York Harbor. It has the NYC monogram on it flanked on either side by 5 cables to represent each borough in the colours of the city flag.

Orlando City - Now to my favourite team, Orlando's 2020 shirt features one of the great aspects of Florida.... the sunshine. The 'Heart and Sol' shirt features a print of a purple sun that radiates from the clubs badge. The jock tag features the state of Florida with OCSC placed over Orlando. But that isn't it the inside neck tape also features a special message to the fans in English and Spanish.

Portland Timbers - The new Timbers shirt pays homage to one of the most iconic stadiums in the MLS (and also the NWSL). The shirt has wood grain lines that make up the grey hoops on the shirt, this is in reference to the wood forms seen through Portland's Providence Park stadium. The Timbers are celebrating their 10th season in the league and they are commemorating this on the jock tag. The words 'Forever Green and Gold' are on the inside neck tape.

Real Salt Lake - Keeping the theme along the lines of their City's unique landscape, Real Salt Lake are paying homage to their their home with their new 2020 shirt. Their new claret & blue kit is definitely a stand out shirt, on the jock tag it also features a raised 05 sitting on a beehive, which is the state emblem for Utah.

Seattle Sounders - The Sounders will take on their title defense in a usual green shirt complete with the Cascadia flag at the back neck. This shirt design embodies everything the club stands for and has another star on for the reigning MLS Cup champions. 

Vancouver Whitecaps - The motto for the city is 'By Sea Land and Air we Prosper' and the Whitecaps have looked to capture that sentiment in their new shirt. The shirt has taken inspiration from their home's natural beauty with snow-capped peaks & white-crested waves on the light blue shirt. The waves in the design pay homage to the Vancouver flag. 

Philadelphia Union - The 'Forever Faithful' kit features the club's famous snake talisman which covers the front of the shirt, which also has some gold accents. On the back of the neck there will be an infinity snake with honours the clubs supporters 'Ad finem fidelis' or 'Faithful 'Til the End'.

San Jose Earthquakes - This seasons shirt embodies the club's slogan which is the rallying cry 'Vamos San Jose', Inspired by the San Jose flag the shirt sports a yellow, white and blue colour scheme and pattern. The clubs authentic kit  will also feature the nine-star founding club mark. 

Toronto FC - For the 2020 season Toronto FC are going grey as they look to embody the culture of Toronto into their kit with their traditional red highlighting the grey shirt. It also features the Toronto flag along with the words 'All for One'  which is a nod to all the surrounding cities where Toronto FC pull fans from

So there you have it those are the shirts that were released at the recent MLS 25 event and here are some of my favourite shirts from this release are:

Houston Dynamo 
Orlando City
D.C. United
New York Red Bulls
Vancouver Whitecaps

But I have to say my overall favourite would have to be the New York Red Bulls shirt as it is simple in terms of the colours used but is bold enough to catch your eye with the classic black and white. 

I was a bit worried with all the clubs using the same template that they may have all just ended up looking the same but each team seems to have really made the shirts their own.

The season kicks off on the 29th February as the Colorado Rapids face D.C. United at Audi Field. I am really looking to properly following the MLS season this season. My team will always be Orlando City but who are you supporting?

Match Report : Bradford City Women vs Chester Le Street

Finally after what feels like forever we managed to get down to the Mitton Group Stadium to see 12th place Bradford City Women take on 6th place Chester Le Street. It was a morning of checking our phones to make sure the game was going ahead as other games around the country were being postponed. Luckily Bradford's fixture survived although the game was played on quite a boggy pitch which had the possibility to cause issues for both teams, the pace of the ball and players runs was always bound to be affected. 

As the teams came out for kick off I was surprised to see no substitutes on the Bradford bench, meaning those 11 players out there needed to stay injury free and try manage their fitness for a full 90 minutes which with the condition of the pitch could have been an issue however, City managed well and never looked like they were at a disadvantage with having no substitutes to call upon. This game was also chance to see how the newly announced members of the coaching staff were going to effect the team & what difference they could make. 

City were playing well right from the get go, making some fantastic runs and moving the ball around well. They were even closing down the Chester Le Street defence and midfield really well, which I haven't really seen them do for a while. Just the simple thing of closing down provided plenty of chances, City had their first chance of the game thanks to the closing down play that they seem to have adapted too but unfortunately the ball ended up straight in the 'keepers hands. 
Chester Le Street did have a chance shortly after but the shot went over the bar, there was never any danger from it, as their effort to lob Routledge was always heading over. City's movement with the ball had definitely improved too as they worked the ball well onto the wing and after two great crosses and a few scrappy clearances the ball fell to Norde's feet where her range shot ended up in the 'keepers arms. Again this chance came from City putting Chester Le Street under pressure in the box as the clearance fell to another City player.

Chester Le Street looked to put in a really dangerous cross not long after Norde's shot but captain Roberts was there to clear the ball and stop it from falling at the Chester Le Street forwards feet who was unmarked coming in behind her. If they had made connection with the ball it would have possibly been a goal so Roberts really helped City out there. 

City were the team who got the breakthrough goal on the 26th minute when Stube slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0, the ball was worked really well around the pitch and the ball into Stube was practically perfect. It was great to see City go ahead in a league game and it seemed to lift the morale of the team too as not long after they forced a corner after a great ball through ended up with City beating the 'keeper at an angle but unfortunately a Chester Le Street player was there to make the clearance. City just kept piling on the pressure and finished the 1st half 1-0 up, which not only lifted their morale but the fans morale around the ground too. 
City came out and started the 2nd half as strong as they ended the first, those outfield players were showing no signs of tiring just yet. When called upon the City team really dug in deep and they got back and defended really well to keep on denying Chester Le Street, there was always a player there to help get the ball that bit further away from danger each time. There were a couple of occasions where Chester Le Street looked a threat but City's defending & some great saves from Routledge kept the score at 1-0. 

It wasn't until Chester Le Street were awarded a penalty for a questionable foul in the box that City faced a serious threat. Routledge saved the initial penalty but Chester Le Street scored from the rebound to make it 1-1. City's heads didn't drop though as not long after Hunt scored a fantastic goal to put City back into the lead. Stube did really well running down the left wing, carrying on after a challenge to put in a brilliant cross that found Hunt perfectly. It really gave City an extra boost too but Chester Le Street started putting the pressure on again and although City were doing so well at getting rid of the ball the referee gave Chester Le Street yet another questionable penalty this time for a hand ball from Stuart. How it was called for a hand ball though I am still wondering, the way the ball bounced and hit Stuart's arm really couldn't have been helped & Stuart's arm was in a natural position. Chester Le Street made no mistake and buried this penalty first time making the score line 2-2.
After the penalty the tension that had been building all game ended up spilling over and Stuart ended up on the floor with a small scrap going on behind her, this ended with the Chester Le Street player picking up a yellow card for her involvement. 

The game ended 2-2 and to be honest City should have been walking away from the game with all 3 points not just the 1. The referee's choices cost city the game and throughout led to the tension building minute by minute. Obvious calls weren't being made and the referee wasn't checking to see what the linesmen were flagging for, not only did it cause tension to build but it left both sets of players confused as they weren't sure what was been called and what for, the standards for the referees really does need improving as it is now impacting the games in a negative way, but that is a topic for another day. 

Even though City only walked away with a point today all 11 players should be walking away with their heads held high as they all fought the full 90 minutes and produced one of the best league performances I have seen from them this year. There has definitely been a big improvement in the team since the arrival of Chris & fingers crossed that it is only going to carry on improving game by game. 
The game provided a few contenders for player of the match such as Routledge for her brilliant saves, Hunt for her goal and great runs or Norde for her great runs, clearances and challenges in midfield but the player of the match for us definitely has to go to Stube. She made some fantastic plays throughout the game, got back and put in some challenges & grabbed a great goal, Stube was involved in the build up of most of City's chances and really stood out throughout the game.