We’re thrilled to announce that Clare Shine’s book Scoring Goals in the Dark has been longlisted for the 2022 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, the world’s oldest and most valuable sports-writing prize.

Publisher Jane Camillin commented: ‘Clare’s story, co-written with award-winning journalist Gareth Maher, is intense and dark in places. This is not your usual football book so it is fantastic to make the longlist.’

Now in its 34th year, the award acknowledges and rewards excellence in sports writing. This year’s winner’s prize is £30,000 and a trophy, while shortlisted authors receive £3,000 and a leather-bound copy of their book.

The longlisted titles will be whittled down to a shortlist on 27 October, with the winner announced on 1 December at the official awards ceremony in London. 

Scoring Goals in the Dark

This is the gripping story of Clare Shine, the Republic of Ireland women's football international who has fought through drug and alcohol addiction to inspire young women by being open about her struggles.

As a young footballer, Clare appeared to have it all. She won her first international call-up at age 13, but the pressure of being a star striker weighed heavily on her young shoulders.

By the age of 20, she had played in a FIFA WU17 World Cup, scored in a UEFA WU19 European Championship, won a first senior international cap and become a professional footballer. She was a rising star.

By age 23, Clare had become addicted to alcohol, experimented with drugs, suffered panic attacks and tried to take her own life. She was in the dark.

This book is about a girl trapped under the weight of expectation while fighting personal demons. As she becomes a young woman, she embarks on a journey to find her true identity and achieve new goals as she completes a remarkable recovery.

This is not a typical football story. It is a human story of incredible heartache, tremendous bravery and raw honesty.

Praise for Scoring Goals in the Dark

‘Shine has known more highs and desperate lows than most will experience over an average lifetime and wants people to take inspiration from her journey. That is why she has written a book, Scoring Goals in the Dark, partly drawn from a series of diaries she has kept since the age of 15. There are few such resources available to young footballers, and girls in particular.’ – The Guardian

Reader Reviews

 ‘Clare Shine has packed more into her 27 years than most do into a lifetime. The book tells the story of phenomenal sporting success alongside deep mental-health and addiction challenges. How she battled through is reflective of her attitude on the pitch but more than that she has established herself as a proper role model and continues to inspire girls (my daughter describes her as her “sporting hero”).’

‘Really good read from start to finish, emotional and brilliantly written. [It’s a] really brave and powerful book which young and old will like.’

‘An honest, brave reflection… providing insight and understanding surrounding the minefield that is mental health.’

 ‘A unique insight into addiction and top-level sport from an active player.’

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