SportsJam with Doug Doyle: Author Sally Cook Helps You Learn How to Speak Soccer

Apr 19, 2017

Author Sally Cook at WBGO
Credit Doug Doyle for WBGO

Author, former Associated Press reporter and New York resident Sally Cook returns to SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about her latest book, How to Speak Soccer: From Assist to Woodwork - An Illustrated Guide to Pitch-Perfect Jargon.

Soccer, the world's most popular sport, has a growing fan base with millions of enthusiasts. Whether you're a newcomer to this exciting sport or a longtime fan, in How to Speak Soccer author Sally Cook and illustrator Ross MacDonald share the definitions to over 150 terms, plus a range of amusing trivia. Learn about the history of the World Cup, where red and yellow cards come from, and much more.

"You get a soccer fan to start talking and they can't stop."

Cook played softball and was a swimmer while growing up in New Jersey, so she had to do her research for this particular "How To Speak" book in her series.   The others focused on baseball, football and golf.  Cook was amazed with watching the level of play of professional soccer.

"If you go to a soccer game and you start watching the players, it's almost like watching ballet, they move so beautifully."

Cook's passion for writing all started in the second grade. That’s when she became an avid reader, writer, and adventurer. Growing up in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains,  she and her friends began to explore the neighborhood--the backyards, alleyways and surrounding woods. At bedtime she chronicled their exploits in a spiral notebook hidden under her pillow. 

One of her favorite books to read and still is the popular Harry the Dirty Dog.

"I could read still read it a thousand times over and get something out of it, but I think it's all about identify.  He left home a white dog with black spots and he returns home a black dog with white spots and his family doesn't recognize.   He does his normal tricks and tries everything and he's the same within.  It's a wonderful message to children.  It's timeless."

Sally Cook and illustrator Ross MacDonald have collaborated on several books
Credit Doug Doyle for WBGO

How To Speak Soccer is meant for everyone, especially soccer novices.  It's published by Flatiron Books and covers the latest terms, nicknames and sideline stories that many may have wondered about.

We've got some basics things in the book like "What is a goalkeeper?" "What are defenders, midfielders?  But then we've got the "woodwork" is the goal post and terms like "give and go" and the golden goal.  We want it to be a blend of little bit quirky and straight.  Kids are going crazy for these books."

In 1997, Cook co-authored, with legendary Alabama football coach Gene Stallings, the New York Times bestseller Another Season: A Coach's Story of Raising and Exceptional Son

One of her favorite interviews work for the Associated Press was with former President Jimmy Carter. While journalism was fast-paced and satisfying, book writing with its slower tempo became Cook's passion after my daughter and son were born.  Her grown children and her husband Bob are huge supporters on her book career.

Click above to hear the entire SportsJam interview with Sally Cook.