Penguins Stopped PlaymeetsCool Runningsin this hilarious and uplifting true story of footballing triumph against all the odds, set on a Pacific island.
After one too many late night discussions, football journalist Paul Watson and his mate Matthew Conrad decide to find the world's worst national team, become naturalised citizens of that country and play for them - achieving their joint boyhood dream of playing international football and winning a'cap'. They are thrilled when Wikipedia leads them to Pohnpei, a tiny, remote island in the Pacific whose long-defunct football team is described as'the weakest in the world'. They contact Pohnpei's Football Association and discover what it needs most urgently is leadership. So Paul and Matt travel thousands of miles, leaving behind jobs, families and girlfriends to train a rag-tag bunch of novice footballers who barely understand the rules of the game.Up Pohnpeitells the story of their quest to coach the team and eventually, organise an international fixture - Pohnpei's first since a 16-1 defeat many years ago. With no funding, a population whose obesity rate is 90 percent and toad-infested facilities in one of the world's wettest climates, their journey is beset by obstacles from the outset. Part travelogue, part quest,Up Pohnpeishows how the passion and determination of two young men can change the face of football - and the lives of total strangers - on the other side of the world.
Paul Watson is the youngest international football coach in the world. Before taking up coaching, he worked as a journalist forFootball Italia. He lives in London.
'This book is brilliant. It embodies the true spirit of football: to bring people together', James Corden
'Full of charm and pathos ... funny without being condescending or smug, it's a refreshing counterpoint to the commercial excesses of the English Premiership.', The Big Issue
'In a market saturated with in-depth analyses of how money rules the game, sitting alongside prematurely-released autobiographies from prima donnas,Up Pohnpeistands out as a shining beacon of football literature.Up Pohnpeiisthemust-read football book of 2012.', ESPN Soccernet
'Filled with passion and warmth', FourFourTwo
'Light, funny, enjoyably punchy', Sport Magazine
'A fascinating story told well. It offers in its joviality an antidote to the cynical corporate interests that have overtaken the game at the highest level. For those who enjoy football books that charm and enliven, Up Pohnpei is a must-read', When Saturday Comes
'Charm by the bucketload', Leicester Mercury