Sports romance novels have always been a beloved genre of mine, but thanks to Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, I’ve been craving even more love stories grand enough to fill the stadium. Luckily for me, there’s no end of variety! Soccer, rugby, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, baseball, and racecar driving have all featured in romance novels. Through my favorite books you can find me rooting for all teams and sports. You can catch me on the soccer pitch, cheering in the stands during a touchdown, sipping hot cocoa during a hockey game–cheering for all my fictional teams. Suffice to say, if you are a fan of a sport, there is likely a book out there—and on this list—giving those players a happy ending that’s even better than winning the big game.
It only takes one viral video featuring an altercation with a mascot to send Adalyn Reyes back to the “farm team”—or at least back to a small town in North Carolina—to turn around a struggling children’s soccer team. However, when she arrives the nine-year-olds are more interested in chasing after pet goats than soccer balls. Luck seems to be on her side when she discovers ace goalkeeper Cameron Caldani is also living in the town. Unfortunately, their first meeting doesn’t go quite as planned. Helping this team succeed is her only ticket back to the city and her job with the Miami Flames FC. Adalyn is bound and determined to get Cam on her side.
A disgraced soccer exec reluctantly enlists the help of a retired soccer star in coaching a children’s team in this smalltown love story in the vein of Ted Lasso and It Happened One Summer —from the New York Times bestselling author of The Spanish Love Deception.
Adalyn Reyes has spent years perfecting her daily routine: wake up at dawn, drive to the Miami Flames FC offices, try her hardest to leave a mark, go home, and repeat.
But her routine is disrupted when a video of her in an altercation with the team’s mascot goes viral. Rather than fire her, the team’s owner—who happens to be her father—sends Adalyn to middle-of-nowhere North Carolina, where she’s tasked with turning around the struggling local soccer team, the Green Warriors, as a way to redeem herself. Her plans crumble upon discovering that the players wear tutus to practice (impractical), keep pet goats (messy), and are terrified of Adalyn (counterproductive), and are nine-year-old kids.
To make things worse, also in town is Cameron Caldani, goalkeeping prodigy whose presence is somewhat of a mystery. Cam is the perfect candidate to help Adalyn, but after one very unfortunate first encounter involving a rooster, Cam’s leg, and Adalyn’s bumper, he’s also set on running her out of town. But banishment is not an option for Adalyn. Not again. Helping this ragtag children’s team is her road to redemption, and she is playing the long game. With or without Cam’s help.
If The Cutting Edge was a sleepover movie night staple for you in the 90s, then you’ll love Hannah Grace’s ICEBREAKER. Hockey players and figure skaters may have to share the ice, but there’s usually little else they have in common. This couldn’t be truer than for University of California Maple Hills’s hockey captain Nate Hawkins, and figure skater Anastasia Allen. Anastasia has dreams of making Team USA, but when her skating partner is injured, Nate is regrettably her best option to fill the role. You don’t have to have watched The Cutting Edge to predict what happens next….
A TikTok sensation! Sparks fly when a competitive figure skater and hockey team captain are forced to share a rink.
Anastasia Allen has worked her entire life for a shot at Team USA. It looks like everything is going according to plan when she gets a full scholarship to the University of California, Maple Hills and lands a place on their competitive figure skating team.
Nothing will stand in her way, not even the captain of the hockey team, Nate Hawkins.
Nate’s focus as team captain is on keeping his team on the ice. Which is tricky when a facilities mishap means they are forced to share a rink with the figure skating team—including Anastasia, who clearly can’t stand him.
But when Anastasia’s skating partner faces an uncertain future, she may have to look to Nate to take her shot.
Sparks fly, but Anastasia isn’t worried…because she could never like a hockey player, right?
Once an Olympic hopeful, gymnast Avery Abrams returns to her Massachusetts hometown to heal from a breakup with her football star boyfriend and the betrayal of her former best friend. She soon finds herself reluctantly pulled back into the world of gymnastics when the new coach in town, Ryan, asks her to train a promising young gymnast. Sparks fly between Ryan and Avery as she rediscovers her love for the sport. However, a scandal brings her past somersaulting back to the present.
Named a best beach/summer read by O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Parade, PopSugar, Marie Claire, Bustle, and more!
From the author of the Love at First Like and Playing with Matches, an electrifying rom-com set in the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics, full of Hannah Orenstein’s signature “charm, whimsy, and giddy romantic tension” (BuzzFeed).
The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.
Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.
Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jasmine Guillory, Head Over Heels proves that no one “writes about modern relationships with more humor or insight than Hannah Orenstein” (Dana Schwartz, author of Choose Your Own Disaster).
BLINDSIDED by Amy Daws is a trope-packed and sexy read that I have found myself revisiting multiple times. In this TikTok sensation, midfielder Maclay “Mac” Logan plays for the Bethnal Green F.C. His best friend Freya could not be more opposite. She’s a plus-sized seamstress who came barreling into his life, but they have settled into a deep friendship of Netflix-and-Bickering. When a game of Never Have I Ever reveals Freya is a nearly 30-year-old virgin, Mac agrees to help her gain the experience she feels she needs. Soon, their lessons in seduction have these friends developing very real, not very platonic, feelings for one another.
If you love Ted Lasso and ever wondered “what if teammates Roy Kent and Jamie (but with the personality of Ted) got together?” then EVERYTHING FOR YOU by Chloe Liese is the book for you. Oliver Bergman is the shiny new star on the Galaxy’s soccer roster. Ollie has admired his captain, veteran player Gavin Hayes, for years. But when they start sharing the captaincy and become next-door neighbors, the rivalry becomes hard to ignore. For that matter, the attraction can’t be hidden between these two either! Ollie and Gavin realize that working out their issues on the field can also lead to a happy ending off of it.
After getting her heart broken and her dreams of being in the music industry crushed, working as an assistant for an NHL player is the easy gig Pippa Hartley needs—even if the player is her former high school crush. However, Jamie Streicher is anything but easy. He’s grumpy, he has a massive ego . . . and he’s hot enough to melt the ice he skates on. When Jamie finds out that Pippa’s last relationship left much to be desired, his competitive streak comes in handy and he vows to show Pippa what she’s been missing. Soon Pippa is writing music again and fighting against her growing feelings for Jamie.
Photo credit: iStock / Albert Cabezas