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May 22, 2023

Soccer Grannies by Jean Duffy ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Soccer is perhaps the most popular international sport but we usually think of the young and fit. However, in South Africa there is a league of Grannies who gather several times weekly to practice, sing, dance, and support each other. Jean Duffy plays on an adult league in Massachusetts and saw a video of these grannies playing soccer. She and her teammates immediately wanted to invite them to their Veteran Cup Tournament. It was the start of what is now a decade-long friendship.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of nonfiction book Soccer Grannies by Jean Duffy
May 2023; Rowman & Littlefield; 978-1538170175
ebook, print (264 pages); nonfiction

I'm not one of the millions of soccer fans. That isn't what drew me to the book. Partly it was the fact the book was about South Africa. I don't know much about South Africa so I was interested in learning about the country. But the biggest draw was to learn about these women who range in age from mid-sixties to their eighties.

I know that a lot of Africa live in extreme poverty, but I didn't realize how much the socio-political history of South Africa was responsible for the extreme poverty that black Southern Africans live in. I heard of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela in school, but I don't think I was really aware of what was happening. It ended in the mid-1990s when I was in high school. I find it interesting that I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall which occurred in 1989 (it was televised) but not the end of Apartheid. Was it not covered in the same way?

Duffy does provide information on some of the atrocities and inequalities that occurred and/or arose from this regime. In my head, I thought it was akin to the segregated United States - "separate but equal". But to compare it to U.S. history, from Duffy's information it was more like a combination our policies of removing Native Americans from their lands and Jim Crowe laws. 

The stories of these women and what they face is moving. I was particularly touched by how much their faith in God played in their lives. It sounds like they pray much more than the average American Christian. But I guess when you don't know how you're going to feed your children and are watching her children die of diseases, pray and faith are all you have to rely upon. It was definitely eye-opening and humbling.

While soccer is what brought these women together, the book is about so much more. And it is worth the read - even if you don't like soccer.

Buy Soccer Grannies at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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