Freight Books Freight Books
Idols and Underdogs

Format: Paperback, B Format, 198 x 129mm, 304pp

ISBN Code: 978-1-910-449-84-4

Idols and Underdogs

by Shawn Stein and Nicolás Campisi


An anthology of Latin American football fiction.

Eleven stories, one from each country in the South American World Cup qualifying group, plus Mexico (following the precedent set by the Copa América).

Idols and Underdogs includes some of the most prestigious names in Latin American literature. A hymn to the jogo bonito, these short stories demonstrate, in stark contrast to its European counterpart, just how connected Latin American football is to its roots in the backstreets, barrios and favelas. Including Juan Villoro (Mexico), Edmundo Paz Soldán (Bolivia), Ricardo Silva Romero (Colombia), Sérgio Sant’Anna (Brazil), Sergio Galarza (Peru), Selva Almada (Argentina), Carlos Abin (Uruguay), Roberto Fuentes (Chile), Miguel Hidalgo Prince (Venezuela), José Hidalgo Pallares (Ecuador), and Javier Viveros (Paraguay), this is a who’s who of Latin American fiction. Also contains author interviews, charting personal views on football and its intersections with politics, literature, and wider culture.

Idols and Underdogs is an English translation of Por amor a la pelota: once cracks de la ficción futbolera. Translated by George Shivers, Shawn Stein and Richard McGehee.

Praise for Idols and Underdogs

‘…a refreshingly enthusiastic project and an engaging enough read overall’ When Saturday Comes

’10 soccer books to consider adding to your wishlist. Some of the most prestigious names in Latin American literature tell short stories about soccer’s roots in the backstreets, barrios and favelas of the 10 CONMEBOL countries and Mexico.’ Steven Goff, Washington Post

‘Good fiction in football is hard to come by, but the latest offering from Freight Books is a collection of the very best… We have reviewed hundreds of football titles over the years and found this one to be very special and unique.’ ISN Soccer

‘Idols and Underdogs is an ambitious project. One grounded in a belief that football, and the culture that surrounds it, can explain the subtleties of life itself. This volume is a rewarding read for any football lover, or student of Latin America. In curating the collection and translating it to English, the editors have given us a real gift.’ Roger Bennett, Men In Blazers