In 2007 Luke Boughen and Gwendolyn Oxenham, a graduate of the Certificate in Documentary Studies program at CDS, began their travels to twenty-five countries to chase the soul of soccer by playing in pick-up games wherever they could find them. They were accompanied by a crew of two, fellow soccer lovers and Certificate in Documentary Studies grads Ryan White and Rebekah Fergusson. The four filmmakers’ resulting documentary, the critically acclaimed Pelada, screened at a number of festivals including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and South by Southwest Film Festival.
Now, Oxenham has written Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-Five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer, a memoir about her journey published this month by St. Martin’s Press. “The friends go to interesting places and play lots of futbol, but it is the people they meet—a superstar who just happens to be a tiny girl from a Brazilian slum; criminals in a Bolivian prison; Arabs and Jews who grudgingly play against one another in Jerusalem—that truly make the young travelers’ point that sometimes sport can be more than just a game,” writes Publishers Weekly. “Imbued with both the spirit of youth and the wistful longing of past travels, Oxenham’s narrative is a suitable companion to her film and a proud testament to her favorite game.”
GWENDOLYN OXENHAM received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame, where she was awarded the Nicholas Sparks post-graduate fellowship. A Duke University soccer alum and graduate of the Certificate in Documentary Arts program at the Center for Documentary Studies, she played professionally for Santos FC in Brazil in 2005. She teaches English and plays in pickup games in Southern California. Finding the Game is her first book.