Download high-resolution image
Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00

The Striker and the Clock

On Being in the Game

Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00
Audiobook Download
On sale Jul 16, 2024 | 3 Hours and 46 Minutes | 9780593867846
| Grades 9-12
An illuminating perspective on the life of an athlete and the pursuit of excellence outside the spotlight.

Georgia Cloepfil played professional soccer for six years, on six teams, in six countries. In those years, the sport became more than a game—it was an immersive yet transient way of life. In South Korea, she lived and practiced in an isolated island compound next to an airport. In Australia, she coached youth teams on the side to pay her rent. In Lithuania, she played in the European Champions League, to empty stadiums and little fanfare. She lived out of a single suitcase, chasing better opportunities and the euphoria of playing well.  

The Striker and the Clock is a beautiful examination of the joy and pain of serious athletics. It’s also an eye-opening look at the still-developing world of professional women’s soccer. Written in ninety short passages—reflecting the ninety inexorably passing minutes of a soccer match—the book is a love letter to a maddening sport and a reflection on the way it has shaped a life. In vivid prose, it portrays the athlete as an artist, debating how much of herself to devote to her craft. 

This finely wrought, singular book celebrates the complex appeal of sports and the fulfillment found in fleeting moments of glory.
"Riveting. . . . A paean to the beautiful game, the book chronicles how Cloepfil overcame adversity to strike joy." Los Angeles Times

“A marvelous love letter to soccer and a testament to the drive and determination of professional female athletes. . . . Athletes and non-sports fans alike will enjoy this beautifully written memoir.” Booklist, starred review

"Georgia Cloepfil is that rare athlete who can write well about their sport and their passion...In 90 sharp entries mirroring the 90 minutes of play, Cloepfil captures what it’s like to fight so hard to play the game you love." Parade

“Spare but potent…An intimate glimpse at the determination and drive required to hack it in pro sports. Even casual soccer fans will devour this.” Publishers Weekly

“A poetic, heartfelt tribute to the beautiful game.” Kirkus Reviews

"Celebrates the beauty of soccer while showing the sacrifices elite athletes make to stay in the game. . . . A thoughtful and engaging exploration of life on and off the soccer field." Library Journal

“With the deft and determined movements of a seasoned player, Georgia Cloepfil writes about what it means to endure and what it means to leave a sport behind.” —Leanne Shapton, author of Swimming Studies

“This book is for anyone who has ever loved something with everything they had, anyone who has ever turned themselves over to glory, joy, and worship. A necessary and long-awaited entry into the literary sports canon, The Striker and the Clock is a transcendent love affair and an act of devotion.” —Marisa Crane, author of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

“Georgia Cloepfil has written a nimble, breathtaking book about the beautiful game, and about her beautiful, brutal life playing it. It reveals so much about the strange, hard path of a young woman pursuing a career as a professional soccer player, but it is far more interesting than an ordinary story of passion, promise, setback, and success. It is, instead, a cleareyed exploration of what passion, promise, setback, and success even mean.” —Louisa Thomas, author of Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams

“This book introduced me to the poetry of soccer and the humble nomad that is the professional female soccer player. Cloepfil’s accomplishments and sacrifices while on the clock left me inspired; her talent on the page has me in awe.” —Courtney Maum, author of The Year of the Horses

"With swift and elegant prose, Georgia Cloepfil has written not merely a contemplation on sport and the sporting life, but rather a lyrical exploration on the myriad ways to move forward--be it toward a goal, a dream, that dream's end, or toward a glimpse of the sublime itself. The Striker and the Clock serves as a poignant reminder that both art and sport can gift us fleeting encounters with the extraordinary." —Chloé Cooper Jones, two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and author of Easy Beauty
Georgia Cloepfil is a writer and former professional soccer player from Oregon. Her work has appeared in The Yale Review, The New York Times Magazine, n+1, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Idaho and works at Whitman College. View titles by Georgia Cloepfil

About

An illuminating perspective on the life of an athlete and the pursuit of excellence outside the spotlight.

Georgia Cloepfil played professional soccer for six years, on six teams, in six countries. In those years, the sport became more than a game—it was an immersive yet transient way of life. In South Korea, she lived and practiced in an isolated island compound next to an airport. In Australia, she coached youth teams on the side to pay her rent. In Lithuania, she played in the European Champions League, to empty stadiums and little fanfare. She lived out of a single suitcase, chasing better opportunities and the euphoria of playing well.  

The Striker and the Clock is a beautiful examination of the joy and pain of serious athletics. It’s also an eye-opening look at the still-developing world of professional women’s soccer. Written in ninety short passages—reflecting the ninety inexorably passing minutes of a soccer match—the book is a love letter to a maddening sport and a reflection on the way it has shaped a life. In vivid prose, it portrays the athlete as an artist, debating how much of herself to devote to her craft. 

This finely wrought, singular book celebrates the complex appeal of sports and the fulfillment found in fleeting moments of glory.

Reviews

"Riveting. . . . A paean to the beautiful game, the book chronicles how Cloepfil overcame adversity to strike joy." Los Angeles Times

“A marvelous love letter to soccer and a testament to the drive and determination of professional female athletes. . . . Athletes and non-sports fans alike will enjoy this beautifully written memoir.” Booklist, starred review

"Georgia Cloepfil is that rare athlete who can write well about their sport and their passion...In 90 sharp entries mirroring the 90 minutes of play, Cloepfil captures what it’s like to fight so hard to play the game you love." Parade

“Spare but potent…An intimate glimpse at the determination and drive required to hack it in pro sports. Even casual soccer fans will devour this.” Publishers Weekly

“A poetic, heartfelt tribute to the beautiful game.” Kirkus Reviews

"Celebrates the beauty of soccer while showing the sacrifices elite athletes make to stay in the game. . . . A thoughtful and engaging exploration of life on and off the soccer field." Library Journal

“With the deft and determined movements of a seasoned player, Georgia Cloepfil writes about what it means to endure and what it means to leave a sport behind.” —Leanne Shapton, author of Swimming Studies

“This book is for anyone who has ever loved something with everything they had, anyone who has ever turned themselves over to glory, joy, and worship. A necessary and long-awaited entry into the literary sports canon, The Striker and the Clock is a transcendent love affair and an act of devotion.” —Marisa Crane, author of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

“Georgia Cloepfil has written a nimble, breathtaking book about the beautiful game, and about her beautiful, brutal life playing it. It reveals so much about the strange, hard path of a young woman pursuing a career as a professional soccer player, but it is far more interesting than an ordinary story of passion, promise, setback, and success. It is, instead, a cleareyed exploration of what passion, promise, setback, and success even mean.” —Louisa Thomas, author of Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams

“This book introduced me to the poetry of soccer and the humble nomad that is the professional female soccer player. Cloepfil’s accomplishments and sacrifices while on the clock left me inspired; her talent on the page has me in awe.” —Courtney Maum, author of The Year of the Horses

"With swift and elegant prose, Georgia Cloepfil has written not merely a contemplation on sport and the sporting life, but rather a lyrical exploration on the myriad ways to move forward--be it toward a goal, a dream, that dream's end, or toward a glimpse of the sublime itself. The Striker and the Clock serves as a poignant reminder that both art and sport can gift us fleeting encounters with the extraordinary." —Chloé Cooper Jones, two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and author of Easy Beauty

Author

Georgia Cloepfil is a writer and former professional soccer player from Oregon. Her work has appeared in The Yale Review, The New York Times Magazine, n+1, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Idaho and works at Whitman College. View titles by Georgia Cloepfil