When the Dream Became Reality

The journey of a professional soccer player, and the push for meaning, purpose, and contentment

(Huge thank you to    Streetlight Graphics    and Glendon Haddix for the cover design... and really just all their amazing help in general throughout the publishing process)

(Huge thank you to Streetlight Graphics and Glendon Haddix for the cover design... and really just all their amazing help in general throughout the publishing process)

The 13 Best Football Books Ever Written, according to the UK's The Ball is Square:

#7) When the Dream Became Reality. Author Bobby Warshaw splashes iced water in the faces of those stuck thinking that lifting a cup is what football is about. This deeply humane book sheds light on the often unseen difficulties players go through on their path of becoming, and staying, professional footballers. Identity, integrity, purpose, and meaning: all are explored through the story of a young footballer turning professional in America.

Publishers Weekly

“In this candid memoir, former professional soccer midfielder Warshaw describes his journey from being an insecure soccer-playing boy from Mechanicsburg, Pa., to realizing his dream of playing the sport professionally. After graduating from high school, Warshaw made the U.S. Men’s Youth National Soccer Team in 2005, earned All-American honors, and won a scholarship to attend Stanford University. Warshaw became the captain of the well-respected Stanford team, though he continued to doubt his abilities. He was the university’s lone selection to the MLS Combine, and was a first-round draft pick for FC Dallas. His three years at FC Dallas were complicated by feuds with the coach and the frustration of playing a backup role against teams with star-studded lineups such as David Beckham’s L.A. Galaxy. Not wanting to ride the bench in Dallas, Warshaw moved abroad to play in Swedish and Norwegian leagues, but some of the old feelings of self-doubt crept in. He eventually returned to Pennsylvania and played for the local Harrisburg City Islanders. Warshaw, now an analyst at MSLsoccer.com, earnestly probes the psychological and physical effort it takes to become an elite athlete.”

In print, paperback and hardcover:


A young soccer player dreamed of playing professionally. Or, better said, he dreamed of doing something great. He wanted to be someone or get somewhere—for his life to mean something—and soccer became his path. When he heard his name called in the 1st Round of the MLS SuperDraft, he expected his life to change forever. What he found, instead, was much of the same: the same fears, insecurities, and internal conflicts, except now with higher stakes.

When the Dream Became Reality is the story of a professional athlete’s path and evolution, as a person and athlete, from childhood through six professional seasons. In this heartfelt memoir, Bobby Warshaw recounts the moments we rarely hear so honestly from athletes, including disagreements with coaches, personal mistrust of his own ability, doubt about his sexuality, and the aftermath of loss and failure. 

Warshaw experienced incomparable highs—game-winning goals; championship games; wearing the captain’s armband—but he rarely felt like he was living the dream that everyone suggested. Beyond the usual self-doubt, he struggled to come to terms with the paradox at the root of the profession: the intersection of a ruthless business with a children’s game. To achieve his goals, Warshaw discovered at a young age he would have to live with two conflicting parts of his life, the athlete and the human. The former Stanford University captain opens up about his efforts to maximize his ability as an elite player and a compassionate person despite their often-clashing demands; the constant frustration that he never performed either as well as he would have wanted; and the subsequent struggle to like himself, as either an athlete or a person, along the way.

When the Dream Became Reality is not the story of the glitz and glamour of a famous superstar, but rather the everyday emotions and decisions of an average pro pushing to be remembered. Warshaw writes the story that pulls back the curtain on the life and emotions of America’s professional athletes. Sometimes there is more than giant contracts and big trophies on the line.

It’s a common thought to chase our dreams. Do we ever stop to think what happens when we get there? When the dream no longer remains a dream, but becomes reality.


A brutally honest look into the journey of an elite athlete trying to navigate himself to the top. Bobby confronts not only potentially career ending obstacles, but his own inner demons, while giving you an intense but refreshing vantage into the not so often seen life of a professional soccer player in America.
— Herculez Gomez, US Men's National Team, World Cup 2010
This is soccer’s version of Andre Agassi’s ‘Open.’ It’s what everyone wants when reading an athlete’s story, but doesn’t usually get - honest, raw, vulnerable.
— Kelley O'Hara, US Women's National Team, Olympic gold medalist, World Cup winner
‘Bubba’ has done here what we always ask of athletes, first pulling back the curtain to reveal what life as a pro jock is like, and second peeling off the bandage as he comes to terms (it’s an ongoing process!) with the end of his career and the sacrifices he made to have one in the first place. It’s not just his journey, though – it’s the template for players and fans driven to build a uniquely American soccer culture. It’s our story and our journey, too.
— Matthew Doyle, MLSsoccer.com, Senior Writer
A counterweight to soccer memoirs written by players at the top of the game, When the Dream Became Reality captures the hope and capriciousness of a career that is worth reading about precisely because it didn’t go to plan. I couldn’t put it down.
— George Quraishi, Howler Magazine, Founder and Editor-in-chief
Incredible to relive parts of my life as they happened through the eyes and thoughts of Bobby. For better or for worse, it all happened. A true insight into what it’s like to be a professional soccer player, and a must read for anyone who wonders what their childhood dream could have become.
— Kris Devaux, Baeruk SK, former teammate
As someone who covers sports for a living, this is the book I’ve been waiting for an athlete to write. When the Dream Became Realityoffers an unflinchingly honest portrayal of what it’s like to struggle up - and then live in - the ranks of professional sports.
— Noah Davis, freelance journalist

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