The Magic of the Ball

Interview with Mark Burke author of, ‘A Different Kind of Soccer Bookfrom a refreshingly different kind of professional soccer player.

 So, Mark, tell us about yourself!  For those of us that are not so mature, Who are you?

MB. I am a fully qualified soccer coach, now based in Holland, and I also a scout for Middleborough FC.

I began my career at Aston Villa, turning professional in February 1987. I was sold on to Middlesbrough for £50,000 in December 1987, and played for Fourth Division champions Darlington on loan in October 1990. I was transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a £25,000 fee in March 1991, before playing on loan at Luton Town in March 1994. I signed with Port Vale in August 1994, before moving on to Fortuna Sittard the following year. I joined Omiya Ardija in 1999, before signing with TOP Oss via Rapid Bucharest and IF Brommapojkarna in 2001, helping the latter to the Division 2 Östra Svealand title.

BUT NOW, I’m an author.  I’ve written the book A Different Kind of Soccer Book, available from the National Children’s Football Alliance, in order to educate young players and their coaches about learning and developing soccer skills in a whole new way.

What’s makes this book A Different Kind of Soccer Book?

Mark Burke, 'A Different Kid of Soccer Book' for a different kind of soccer player.
Mark Burke, ‘A Different Kid of Soccer Book’ for a different kind of soccer player.

MB.  Well, for too long, soccer books and coaching titles have rolled out a series of rules and declarations about how to play the game, how to get caught up in complex rules and theories, that do nothing but take the focus away from what soccer is really about – the football itself.

In this book, we focus on Tactics, Technique, and Confidence, but we do that with simple ideas and mantras; no big complicated diagrams, no immense strategies, and no over cooked nonsense.  We get back to basics in my book.

And why should people listen to you with this Different Kind of Soccer Book?

I’ve written this book based upon my experiences coaching, and seeing how so many younger players and talents are put off because they do not get the right inspiration and guidance.  This book is long overdue and I can promise readers, is nothing like anything they’ve read before!

But it’s not just my opinions and me; this book is supported by Rene Muelensteen, formerly of Manchester United, Simon Kuper at the Financial Times, and I even have a full interview with Sven Goran Ericsson in the book. Sven is a internationally renowned manager, so I think it’s obvious why people should listen to him!

So what will readers get with this book?

MB. The book is available via a direct link from the National Children’s’ Football Alliance website, as an eBook.  It’s an eBook so that readers can follow links to online resources, and they can look up live the ideas or the games that I make reference to.  It’s a very engaging way to read or to be taught about soccer.

More importantly though, readers get three clear sections, on Technique, Tactics, and Confidence.  They can easily identify each part of the book and can either read it cover to cover, or just dip into the bit that they want to develop and that is relevant to their needs and coaching.

They will also get a book that tells them to simply enjoy playing the game and to focus on the magic of the ball!  This is a chance for readers to remember why on earth they took up football in the first place.  We won’t get bogged down in ‘how fast are you? Can you jump?  Are you strong?’, we’ll look at the ball and I’ll show you how to achieve true excellence.

And who are you trying to reach with this book?

This book is for players new to the game, and those who have been playing for years, those who have been playing for a few months, those who have been coaching for years, those doing their coaching badges, those thinking about coaching badges, or even someone who just wants to think about goals and how to achieve them.

In short, it’s for everyone.

We’ve teamed up with the NCFA as our aims and beliefs align with those of this organization, and we felt the NCFA members and affiliates may be genuinely interested in this book.

With the launch of National Children’s Football Week, this really is a great moment for us to reach a whole new set of young players who can with this book, see their game thrive!

We’re really excited about what our readers think of it too.

Where can readers get their copy of this eBook?

MB.  Well, if you go online and go to the NCFA website, you’ll see a link to my book; if you follow that link, it’ll take you directly to the site and you can order from there.  We’re thrilled that 40% of the cover price does go straight to the NCFA too.

To order your copy of A Different Kind of Soccer Book click on the links or banner below.


Mark Burke features in the National Children’s Football Week FREEVFREE film, below.


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