Soccer Lovers’ Book Review
The Soccer Lover’s Book Guide series reviews and rates books that tell the story of the beautiful game. The Arsenal Yankee takes the reader into the world of a pro soccer with all the triumphs and pitfalls experienced along the road — this is the uplifting and intensely personal autobiography chronicling American soccer player Danny Karbassiyoon’s career as a professional player and scout for Arsenal Football Club.
Rating: GREAT READ
‘The Arsenal Yankee’ Autobiography of Danny Karbassiyoon
Americans have not always been respected for their soccer skills. Danny Karbassiyoon is a trailblazing exception and the only American to score for famed English Premier League (EPL) team Arsenal. Picked up at age 18, Danny Karbassiyoon signed with Arsenal Football Club and “The Arsenal Yankee” is his story of becoming a professional soccer player.
“I wanted to shed light on the amount of hard work, the amount of setbacks that cme along the way — and how important the mental side of the game is,” says Danny.
While Danny trialed alongside Arsenal legends Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera and trained daily next to Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, a career-ending injury at the young age of 22 froze his dreams of becoming a soccer super star and he reinvented himself as a top scout.
If one were to doubt the authenticity of Danny’s journey… as so many stories leave the reader wondering where the line of fiction to fact meet, this book’s foreword is written by Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s current manager and three-time Premier League champion.
I had Danny with us at Arsenal as a young professional. He had huge ability and played as a striker. However, as we all know, to be successful in football, a player not only needs that huge ability, but they will also need some luck. With Danny, he didn’t have that luck … Arsène Wenger, a six-time FA Cup winner.
“The Arsenal Yankee” is the story of a talented youth soccer player who grew up in rural Virginia playing for the Roanoke Star Soccer Club and was scouted — offered the dream of going pro and became the Head North American Scout for Arsenal.
“After Danny stopped playing, our Chief Scout stayed in touch with him and told me that Danny had the desire to scout for us. I had no hesitation in giving the green light, as I thought Danny was absolutely ideal for us,” wrote Wenger the Foreword.
Danny’s book is an insight into the world of becoming a professional soccer player at the highest level. What does it take to be successful?
Danny’s book takes the reader on his journey from being the best on his team in America to having to fight to get on the pitch in England — working hard every minute to get his chance and then make the most of it.
“If you’re looking to read a book about a world class superstar who is comfortably making millions of pounds, dollars, or Euros and has won a plethora of player of the year awards, league titles, and other fantastic achievements, then I suggest you set this book down and pick up a copy of David Beckham’s book or Patrick Vieira’s book. However, if you want to know what it is like for the 99% of the rest of the professionals in the world of football aspiring to be those few superstars, then may I recommend you carry on reading,” writes Danny Karbassiyoon in the opening.
This book takes the reader on Danny’s personal journey .. “as a young kid trying to navigate my way through England’s incredible football world.” Becoming a professional footballer is a tough road often lacking in the glamour and glitz we watch on TV. It is through the exuberant elations and tough rejections, and then his decision to re-invent his career as a scout, that the reader gains insight into Danny’s strength of character and deep passion for the game. The book is a great read and offers an inspiring insight into the reality of the dream.
“My journey – from Arsenal’s first team, to an injury-shortened career, to uncovering the next Arsenal superstar – is proof to millions of youth players in America that anything is possible,” says Karbassiyoon. “I hope my story will inspire the next generation of athletes to follow their hearts, and even the loftiest of dreams can come true.”
Danny Karbassiyoon had it all. He had followed his dream of becoming a footballer, and had seemingly done the impossible.
Like so many others before him, under the careful guidance of Arsène Wenger Danny made his way up through the ranks — Before him was footballing nirvana and a future of fame and fortune – until injury put a stop to it.
Danny Karbassiyoon was by no means the first player to have a highly promising footballer cut short by injury. But he was one of the few to pick himself up and start again. Excerpt from The Arsenal Yankee website
The American Yankee ends with a great quote from Henry David Thoreau who once said, “Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
“I urge everyone to dream as wildly as you possibly can, work until you can’t possibly work anymore and fall over, get up and work a little more, smile throughout the journey, and enjoy the wonderful ride it will take you on. Anything is possible, and I am more than happy to attest to that,” writes Danny Karbassiyoon after Thoreau’s quote.
“The Arsenal Yankee” is a book I would encourage every soccer player, coach and parent to read. Regardless of where you are in your journey, this book will touch your soul.
Currently, Danny is the Head North American Scout for Arsenal and resides in London, UK. He is also the Co-Founder of Fury90.com, a next generation fantasy simulation soccer game.