Book Details
Welcome to the Blue Heaven:  Don't Bet Against the Goalkeeper $24.95

By Jimmy Nielsen
 with Paolo Bandini

 

Major League Soccer's Goalkeeper of the Year for 2012, Jimmy Nielsen, has established himself as one of the best players in the league and a fan favorite in Kansas City, playing for Sporting Kansas City. Yet while supporters are familiar with his achievements on the field and larger-than-life personality off it, few are aware of the remarkable story that led him to the US Midwest.

Compared from a young age to Denmark's greatest ever goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, Nielsen was scouted by Manchester United and a host of other leading European clubs, but at the point when he should have been building a great career he was instead developing a ferocious gambling habit. In 1999, he was dropped from Denmark's Under-21 team after missing curfew because of a lost night at the roulette table.

Nicknamed Casino Jimmy by rival supporters, Nielsen continued to gamble the stakes getting so high that he was able to win $500,000 on a single night at one casino and then throw more than half of that away at the same venue a day later. His losses finally caught up to him in 2004, when his inability to pay off a gambling debt helped put a major bookie out of business.

Avoiding bankruptcy only with financial assistance from his soccer club and with the support of a family he feared would desert him, Nielsen gradually pieced his life back together. But in his footballing career he remained unfulfilled. He had spent almost his entire career with Aalborg, the team he supported as a boy, starting a record 398 games and winning the Danish championship in 1999, but he dreamed of a fresh challenge.

Were it not for a phone call, from Kansas City in January 2010, that might have been the end of the story. Despite still performing at a high level, Nielsen was contemplating retirement when he was offered a contract by an American club he didn't even know existed. He said yes.

Nielsen could not even have pointed out Kansas City on a map at that stage, but two years on, he is the happiest he has ever been. Moving to America has not been without its challenges from his daughter's demand that their pet gerbil come with them, to having his face cut open by a bobblehead doll that was thrown at him by a fan during a game.

But the warmth of the US Midwest, the unique passion of Sporting Kansas City's fans, and the standard of US soccer easily as high, in Nielsen's opinion, as that in Denmark have given him a new lease of life. Now Nielsen wants to share his story with the fans who have taken him to their hearts and who have made him feel that he is, at last, at home in blue.




Welcome to the Blue Heaven
Don't Bet Against the Goalkeeper
By Jimmy Nielsen

with Paolo Bandini

$24.95
AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Jimmy Nielsen is the captain of Sporting Kansas City and the 2012 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. He grew up in Denmark and spent 13 years playing for his hometown team, Aalborg BK starting a club record 398 consecutive games and helping the club to win its second-ever national championship. During that time he was twice named as Danish Goalkeeper of the Year. After that he had brief spells with Leicester City in England and Vejle in Denmark before joining the Kansas City Wizards as the team was then known in 2010. Since then he has twice been named to the MLS All-Star team, and in 2012 he helped Sporting KC win the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and two daughters.

Paolo Bandini is a freelance sports writer and broadcaster specializing in soccer and football. He spent six years on the full-time staff at the Guardian one of Britain's leading national newspapers before deciding to branch out on his own, and has since worked for a variety of employers including ESPN, The Score, BBC radio and Talksport as well as continuing to write for the Guardian. Paolo spent the 2012 NFL season covering the St. Louis Rams for nfluk.com and has since relocated full-time to Missouri, where his wife is studying for her Ph.D. This is Paolo's first complete book, though he previously contributed a chapter about Dennis Bergkamp for So Paddy Got Up: An Arsenal Anthology.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:
SIZE:
PAGES:
LANGUAGE:
GENRE:
PUBLICATION DATE:
ISBN:
EBOOK ISBN:
PRICE:
6” x 9” Hardcover with full color dust jacket
240
English
Sports autobiography
September 2011
978-0-9856314-8-2
978-0-9856314-9-9
$24.95
*Cover subject to change

Upcoming Releases:

Life is Fun. Baseball is Serious!:  A Journal for Players, Coaches, and Fans of the Game

Now the perfect gift for lovers of our National Pastime. Life is Fun…Baseball is Serious! is THE notebook, list keeper, goal-setter, to-do lister, general reminder notebook for the baseball lover in your family or on your gift list. There is plenty of room for general thoughts and random notes, but this is the journal for players, coaches and fans. Loaded with pages to record your most important thoughts and reminders, but also quotes from your favorite players, coaches and sportswriters. Here’s where you’ll find deep baseball questions to ponder.

>> Learn More
Kansas Jayhawks ABCs and 1-2-3s:  Second Edition
By Rob Peters


Do you know a future Jayhawk who’s old enough to begin learning their alphabet and numbers? Kansas Jayhawks ABCs and 1-2-3s is an alphabet and counting book that teaches kids ages 2-7 all about KU! The university’s well-known mascot, the Jayhawk, guides the child reader through the book, teaching numbers, letters, colors, and points of interest about KU. For example, “A” is for Allen Fieldhouse, KU’s legendary basketball arena. “B” is for Blue, one of the school colors and “L” is for Lawrence, the Jayhawks’ hometown.

>> Learn More
Mutt’s Dream:  Making the Mick
By Howard Burman


The threads of Mickey Mantle’s feats, his persona, and his unsettled adult life all trace back to his early years in rural Oklahoma, and the influence of his obsessed father. There continues to be considerable interest in Mantle, but no previous book treats his youth in detail. This book is written in a theatrical style and is based on actual events, before he became fa¬mous, and before he became a legend. This is not just a baseball book, it is also an engaging coming of age narrative.

>> Learn More
Bop Bop Dinosaur
By Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove
 Illustrated by Dana Regan

When Jimmy’s parents doubt that his toy animals are singing and dancing in their underwear on his nightstand every night, he devises a plan to help his parents believe him. A fun and silly rhyming story perfect for a read-along or sing along.

>> Learn More
The Thin Line Between Cupcake and Bitch:  Taking Action, Driving Change, Getting Results
By Joni Wickham
 Teresa Bruns Sosinski

With humor and insight illustrating her experiences, Joni Wickham details the strategies and best practices she found to take action, drive change and get results in politics or the boardroom. Joni offers strategies and best practices for managing conflict, overcoming imposter syndrome and learning to lead effectively and with emotional intelligence.

>> Learn More
Life is Fun Football is Serious!:  A Journal for Players, Coaches, and Fans of the Game

What’s the gift for the players, coaches or fans of the most popular sport in the country? This book is THE notebook, project-keeper, goal-setter, to-do lister, and general-reminder notebook for the football lover in your family, on your team or on your gift list. There is plenty of room for general thoughts and random notes, but this is the journal for the Football Lover. Loaded with pages to record your most important thoughts and reminders, but also quotes from your favorite players, coaches, and sportswriters.

>> Learn More
Sullen Sally
By Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove


Sally woke up feeling blah, so she swallowed her smile, but her best friend Josie was there to help Sally through the day and help turn that frown upside down. The story reminds readers that nobody is expected to feel happy all the time. It provides an opportunity for adults and children to talk about feelings and the meaning of true friendship.

>> Learn More
Unhitch the Wagon:  The Story of Boomer and Sooner
By Toby Rowland


Two ponies on the Oklahoma prairie have a dream to become the ponies chosen to pull the Sooner Schooner at a football game at the University of Oklahoma. Through hard work and perseverance, the ponies achieve their dream. An officially licensed book of The University of Oklahoma..

>> Learn More
Trust Your Next Shot Legacy Edition:  A Guide to a Life of Joy
By Meadowlark Lemon & Cynthia Lemon


A newsreel of the Harlem Globetrotters captured Meadowlark Lemon’s heart when he was 11 years old, giving him a dream to play for the team. Though he had no money for a basketball, he was determined. His first hoop was made out of a coat hanger and an onion sack nailed to a tree in Wilmington, NC. His ball was a Carnation Milk can. It was a humble beginning for a legendary career that would change the face of basketball forever.

>> Learn More
TwitterFollow Ascend Books on Twitter