By Gwendolyn Oxenham
In 2004, journalist and award-winning documentary maker Gwendolyn Oxenham played futebol feminino for Santos FC, Brazil. The team hitchhiked to practice, shared their field with a horse and wore hand-me-downs from the men's team.
If this was Brazil, the mecca of futebol, what did the women's game look like in other countries?
Under the Lights and in the Dark takes us inside the world of women's soccer, following players across the globe, from Portland Thorns star Allie Long, who trains in an underground men's league in New York City; to Fara Williams, who hid her homelessness from her teammates while playing for the English national team. Oxenham takes us to Voronezh, Russia, where players battle more than just snowy pitches in pursuing their dream of playing pro, and to a refugee camp in Denmark, where Nadia Nadim, now a Danish international star, honed her skills after her family fled from the Taliban.
Whether you're a newcomer to the sport or a die-hard fan, this is an inspiring book about stars' beginnings and adventures, struggles and hardship, and, above all, the time-honored romance of the game.
Gwen Oxenham is an American writer, filmmaker, and retired soccer player. She studied English and documentary filmmaking at Duke University, where as a soccer player she was the youngest NCAA Division 1 athlete in history.