When not coaching the Staples High School boys soccer team, Dan Woog is a prolific and terrific writer. He has authored a number of books and his work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and The New York Times.
Woog has a new book about soccer out, “We Kick Balls.” I will have more about it when I return from vacation in two weeks, but for now, better than anything I can tell you is the description of the book on one of the sites where you can order it, for $12.95. Just click here.
For those of you who just want to read it here, I have cut and pasted it below. One item of note omitted: Dan coached me for one summer when I was in middle school. Miracle Worker is not on his resume.
In over 30 years as a youth and high school soccer coach, Dan Woog has seen it all.
Crazy kids. Berserk parents. Amazing games. Funny, weird, fantastic, awful situations. And that’s just one day.
Soccer has been very, very good to Dan. He’s taken teams to Europe, Brazil and Australia. He’s been to Pele’s house, coached in front of 77,000 people, helped raise $25,000 at a carwash, and acted in a soccer movie.
He’s met incredible young athletes, forged lifelong bonds, and had them tested by too many deaths. He’s learned what makes teenagers tick. He’s learned a lot about life. And he’s learned even more about himself.
After describing – with great hilarity, deep compassion, keen insight and a deft, lively touch – everything from coaching players who were “off in the corner juggling while God handed out common sense” to dealing with those who face incredible personal struggles and tragedies – Dan talks about his own life. The final chapter covers his own coming out as a gay man – a defining moment in his career.
We Kick Balls: True Stories from the Youth Soccer Wars has been called “funny, warm, courageous and edifying.” It ricochets from the World Cup to Dachau, from race and religion to 9/11. Because teenagers are involved, there’s sex, alcohol and rock ‘n’ roll. Somehow, soccer connects them all.
Dan often says, “There’s more to life than soccer. And there’s more to soccer than soccer.” We Kick Balls is a book about kids, life, and everything that happens to all of us, on and off the field.
It’s a soccer book, sure, but it’s much more. It’s a book for anyone who has teenagers, or works with them. It’s about society as much as it’s about sports. And, given the current visibility of gay issues, it’s an important voice in our national conversation.
Dan Woog is uniquely positioned to tell these tales – and tell them winningly. A Westport, Conn.-based soccer coach, writer and educator, he’s won state championships. He’s been named a national Coach of the Year, and been inducted into Connecticut’s Soccer Hall of Fame. A graduate of Brown University, Dan has written thousands of newspaper and magazine articles, been published in the New York Times and Sports Illustrated, and authored two books on the experiences of gay male athletes. His athletes are most impressed that he’s appeared on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”