How to Play Soccer


160 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-14-007129-6





Reviewed by Alexander Craig

Alexander Craig is a freelance journalist in Lennoxville, Quebec.


As a professional sport, soccer in North America has fallen on difficult days. As an amateur activity, however, in which increasingly large numbers participate, it continues to expand in Canada and the United States. Accordingly, a “how to” book has a considerable market.

This particular one boasts, over and above the reliability of the Penguin imprint, the very varied and impressive experience of Bob Houghton. After being active as a player and coach in his native England, he went on to achieve remarkable success with teams in South Africa, Sweden and Greece. Coming to Toronto in 1982, he brought together a team, composed largely of young Canadians, who took Toronto Blizzard from the doldrums of the North American Soccer League to the finals of the Soccer Bowl.

The book is meant for both players and coaches. It’s clearly written, with a lot of diagrams. He offers other valuable sections, such as one on the history of systems of play, and a chapter on how different countries — Italy, West Germany, Brazil, and Northern Ireland — play the game in their particular fashion. There’s a lot here that will interest those who want to improve their knowledge of soccer, whether as observer, coach, or player.


Houghton, Bob, “How to Play Soccer,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,