By: Mark Stewart and Mike Kennedy
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: April 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2010
Soccer is simply one of those insanely exciting games whether you are playing in your backyard or in front of a jam-packed stadium in front of thousands of crazed fans. Ball games, by no stretch of the imagination, are a new invention. Archaeological digs have uncovered more than 1,000 playing fields, including some that are an amazing 3,000 years old. The Aztecs and the Mayans played and Spanish explorers introduced the game to King Charles I. In England they considered the rubber ball devilish and later kings banned the games because of numerous injuries. History notwithstanding, soccer was eventually claimed to have been invented in England. It was slow to take off in the United States, but when it did, look out!
Team sports foster not only cooperation, but also competition. In 1930 the World Cup was born and if a player could score a goal, it would forever be known as the “crowning moment in a player’s career.” Fans are certainly not immune to the excitement of watching World Cup games. Both player and fan can attest to the fact that “nothing beats the feeling of watching the ball ruffle the back of the net.” In this book you’ll read and “experience” some of the greatest moments in the history of soccer.
You’ll read about the ten best great goals, including the very unusual “Hand of God goal” scored by Diego Maradona and you’ll find out just why Brandi Chastain “tore off her jersey and dropped to her knees.” You’ll read about what it takes to become a “great goal scorer,” you’ll meet some of the best players in history, your eyes will widen when you read about some wild ‘n wacky goals, and will get a chance to look at some World cup scoring records. There are many fans who “believe that for a goal to be truly amazing, it must come under pressure,” but what about that seagull who helped score a goal? Then again there was that “soccer-playing elephant.”
If you are one of those crazed fans or simply love a good game of backyard soccer you’re going to love this book. It just sizzles with excitement and pours out facts that will bring back memories for the older die-hard fan. Numerous full color and black and white photographs, art reproductions and scattered informative sidebars lend life to this book. There are many, many portraits of individual players with some very interesting vignettes about their careers. For example, I had to chuckle when I read about how Giuseppe Meazza accidentally “mooned” everyone during the 1938 World Cup championship.
Quill says: If you want a soccer book with a lot of excitement, some interesting facts and a WOW experience, you might want to consider this one!