What a guy wants, what a guy needs
April 18, 2013 7:02 AM   Subscribe

What would be the perfect birthday gift for a 17 year old guy who loves soccer? (Non-soccer gift ideas would also be appreciated. A book gift that he wouldn't hate would be the most amazing suggestion imaginable.)

My nephew is turning 17. I like to give my nieces and nephews books - it's kind of my thing. My he's 17 now and I can no longer skate by on my dated knowledge of young adult literature. I don't like to give money or gift cards in these situations. I like to give people things they want but wouldn't/can't buy for themselves.

He lives far from me and I don't see him often but I know he loves soccer, especial Real Madrid and the Greek national team. I'm willing to forgo books unless you have an amazing suggestion.

If you or someone you know loves soccer, what would you/they like to receive as a birthday gift? Alternatively, general gift suggestions for a 17 year old guy?

Suggestions in all price ranges would be helpful.
posted by cessair to Shopping (17 answers total)
Could you get him a really nice zip-up sweatshirt or jacket for his favorite soccer team? Or an official jersey.
posted by jillithd at 7:12 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

El Clasico: Barcelona v Real Madrid: Football's Greatest Rivalry

Alternatively, at 17, decent trainers/sneakers.
posted by Hartster at 7:23 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

The traditional football fan gift is the team scarf.
posted by Jehan at 7:24 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

There are usually DVDs of highlights, interviews with players, and such for popular soccer(football) clubs. Would he be interested in that? Something like this? (You'd have to check with the parents to see if he already has it.)
posted by Wretch729 at 7:26 AM on April 18, 2013

So, Tangerine by Paul Bloor has a protagonist younger than your nephew, but I read it as an adult and still found it suspenseful like whoa, and also it has soccer. It's a cheap paperback, anyway.
posted by asperity at 7:27 AM on April 18, 2013

Has he read Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby? My 17-year-old son (an avid Gooner, like his Mum) really enjoyed it.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 7:40 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: An official jersey, especially from a foreign country, is pretty cool. (Get him the "away" team colors.)
posted by RedEmma at 7:41 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Inverting the Pyramid, a book on the evolution of football tactics, by Jonathon Wilson always seems to come very highly recommened
posted by fatfrank at 8:15 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I was also about to recommend Inverting the Pyramid and Fever Pitch. The other widely recommended recent non-fiction football books are Brilliant Orange, The Damned United (which has been adapted as a film, so he might prefer that if he's less of a reader), and Soccernomics (Freakonomics but about football). He might also enjoy You Are The Ref, a compilation of the refereeing questions that are presented as puzzles in British newspapers.
posted by caek at 8:17 AM on April 18, 2013

Best answer: A couple tickets to a MLS game would be pretty nice if he lives close to one.
posted by saul wright at 8:19 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bill Bryson's "Among the Thugs" is a fascinating (but fairly graphic) study of Hooliganism.

Alternatively, David Goldblatt's "The Ball is Round" is a very dense and thorough (~900 page) history of the sport.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:13 AM on April 18, 2013

An acoustic guitar? comes in handy at parties.
posted by winterportage at 11:04 AM on April 18, 2013

The newest FIFA game is sure to drape you in glory if he doesn't already have it.

Alternately, check out soccer.com for jerseys, etc. Some of the adidas gear is really sweet, like this warmup jacket. And anything that says Umbro is nice.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:29 AM on April 18, 2013

Best answer: If he's not aware of The Secret Footballer, then the book is extremely interesting. It's by a still anonymous Premiere League player and looks at what it's like on the inside of the game.

A Life Too Short won prizes for its portrayal of Robert Enke.

I found Inverting the Pyramid a bit hard going, but it depends on the personality of the recipient. I enjoyed Fever Pitch and Bloody Confused. The Guardian has a top list of Sports books every year that necessarily will include some soccer ones.
posted by idb at 12:25 PM on April 18, 2013

Best answer: Experiences are so much better gifts than things. A couple of tickets to an event (any event, not just soccer) would be great. Summer is coming up, there will be lots of outdoor concerts and plays, there's minor league baseball and beach volleyball, just tons of stuff. Plus, if his birthday is soon, there's a little something extra added with the anticipation of an event that's still a couple of months off. 17-year-olds are just dying to do something different and a little bit grown up.
posted by vignettist at 12:39 PM on April 18, 2013

If somehow he doesn't know about them already, Fever Pitch and The Secret Footballer would be perfect if a bit UK-centric.
posted by turkeyphant at 12:51 PM on April 18, 2013

In a completely different price range, Real Madrid, does a US tour every summer. Taking him to one of those games would be a fantastic gift.
posted by idb at 8:04 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

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