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Book Review; Under The Lights And In The Dark


Title: Under The Lights And In The Dark; Untold Stories Of Women’s Soccer


Author: Gwendolyn Oxenham


Genre: Fact / Story Telling


Synopsis:  In 2004 football author, journalist and award-winning documentary maker Gwendolyn Oxenham played futebol feminino for Santos FC, Brazil. The team hitchhiked to practice, shared their field with a horse and wore hand-me-downs from the men’s team.

If this was Brazil, the mecca of futebol, what did the women’s game look like in other countries?
Under the Lights and in the Dark takes us inside the world of women’s football, following players across the globe, from Portland Thorns star Allie Long, who trains in an underground men’s league in New York City; to Fara Williams, who hid her homelessness from her teammates while playing for the English national team. Oxenham takes us to Voronezh, Russia, where players battle more than just snowy pitches in pursuing their dream of playing pro, and to a refugee camp in Denmark, where Nadia Nadim, now a Danish international star, honed her skills after her family fled from the Taliban.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the sport or a die-hard fan, this is an inspiring book about stars’ beginnings and adventures, struggles and hardship, and, above all, the time-honored romance of the game.




FCN Founder Review: “This is one of the most compelling sports books I have ever read and is possibly the quickest I have ever read a book!  There are so many moments within the book I found myself mouth wide opened in shock as to how these incredible women were treated…and often had to remind myself that these stories did not take place in early 1900’s, but in recent years.  As the founder of the FCN, I thought I had heard it all…until I read this book.

Made up of a number of short stories about a dozen female footballers, I challenge anyone to not dive into the next story after finishing the previous.  I highly recommend this to people of all ages, particularly those at the decision making levels of governing bodies to remind them that at the end of their decision is a very real, passionate and dedicated person.”


Other Reviews:

“Gwendolyn is the master at finding incredible soccer stories. These are stories that need to be heard- told in a way that leaves you begging for more. Thank you, Gwen, for shining a light on the natural, raw, real beauty of the beautiful game.”–Julie Foudy, ESPN, USWNT captain

“A startlingly good book. Oxenham is a marvelous observer. These are moving, uplifting stories from around the world- what top soccer is like when there’s no money or fame in it and you just do it for love.”–Simon Kuper, author of Soccernomics

“Oxenham is one of my favorite soccer writers; she connects on a deeply human level with the people who are the soul of the global game. I love this book.”–Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated

“The book’s true virtues are in its complexities and portrayals of the players whose lives are interesting both on and off the field … Oxenham understands a good sports story must work as a mirror to reflect the world around it. And, like Friday Night Lights or Seabiscuit, Under the Lights and In the Dark does just that … This work is truly a testament to women’s soccer and women in sports. It is also a fun story for both sports fans and plain old readers alike.”–Washington Independent Review

“An eye-opening, cohesive collection of fascinating stories that will help bring women’s soccer to the next level. Appropriate for high school students, public libraries, and all readers interested in the future of the sport.”–Library Journal




How To Buy: Buy On Amazon – CLICK HERE



  1. Samantha


    I bloody love this book! I’ve been reading (some) of the stories to my young daughters who play football because I want them to know how others who have gone before them have fought for them to be able to play under better conditions.

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