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Former pro footballer and Stamford AFC defender turned writer nets deal with major publisher Walker Books for 10th book





A former professional footballer who has played across the globe has made a major breakthrough in the publishing world.

‘Play Like Your Football Heroes’ is the fourth book released this year, and 10th published in total, by Stamford author Seth Burkett, but is the first to be taken up by a major publisher.

Seth, 29, will be a familiar face to Stamford AFC supporters having formed part of the Daniels' defence between 2008 and 2012 before leaving for Loughborough University.

New book, Play Like Your Football Heroes, has been picked up by major publishers Walker Books
New book, Play Like Your Football Heroes, has been picked up by major publishers Walker Books

But it is in the ultra-competitive literary world where he now hopes to make his mark.

Seth has drawn on experiences from his own career to compile a guide full of tips for children aged eight-plus on how to improve their game, illustrated by examples of world-famous players like Lionel Messi and Harry Kane.

“The main thing is you don't have to train harder to improve, you have to train smarter,” he said.

Seth played for a team owned by Sri Lanka international cricket stars Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara
Seth played for a team owned by Sri Lanka international cricket stars Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara

“I was lucky enough to play a lot of academy football where I had access to things like nutritionists, psychologists and sports science.

“When I went to university I studied sports science and the things I learned there and in the game are not very accessible for grassroots players. So I wanted to take that and bring it to the masses."

At university he combined his twin talents for writing and football, graduating with a degree in English and Sports Science and then an MA in English.

During his season as a pro footballer in Sri Lanka
During his season as a pro footballer in Sri Lanka

His literary career began with a bang when his debut book, The Boy in Brazil, was shortlisted for Football Book of the Year at the 2016 British Sport Book Awards.

It charted his season playing professional football for Brazilian club Sorriso after impressing a talent scout while playing in a youth tournament there with Stamford.

The success persuaded him to take the leap of faith and become a full-time author just over two years ago.

Seth (right) turns out occasionally for Stamford Lions
Seth (right) turns out occasionally for Stamford Lions

"It was always something I wanted to do, and I enjoyed the experience of the first book so much it became a real aim," he explained.

"It has gone okay so far. I don't know how long-term it will be exactly, but I'm going to make the most of it."

Seth, from Barnack, wrote about another overseas pro soccer odyssey in Sri Lanka, in 'Titans of the Teardrop Isle' which came out in April.

His invitation to play came via a surprising source - two international cricket stars.

"That was a really crazy experience because I didn't know anything about football in Sri Lanka," he said.

"I was a bit uncertain about the whole thing, but then I found out the owners of the team were Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and I couldn't refuse.

"The place where I played had been quite badly-affected by the Civil War and I was playing with guys that had been soldiers with the Tamil Tigers."

'Play Like Your Football Heroes' is available in shops and through Walker Books.



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