Sunday, December 13, 2009

Soccer's Story & A Futbol Fable

Soccer's Story & A Futbol Fable by Gil Sperry is a two-fold story. In the beginning of the book, Gil details the history of this beloved sport, including some fascinating facts. For example, the game has existed in one form or another for over 2500 years!

The second part of the book is dedicated to the story of a losing team of mostly Mexican kids and their unlikely gringo coach. Gil Sperry wasn't looking to coach the young soccer team. He had only agreed to do so if the school couldn't find anyone else to do it. As fate would have it, no one else claimed the job, so it became his.

He was faced with multiple challenges. At the young age of the participants, 4th, 5th and 6th graders, not all had previous experiences playing competitive sports, let alone soccer. Also, regulations for elementary school play had a range of size regulations for fields and goals, but there was no consistency amongst the schools. Other schools simply had dangerous fields. In the beginning, the principal of the school had less support for the team. Infractions of school rules cost the team players during certain games.

Nevertheless, he worked toward teaching the children not only the techniques involved in the sport, but also a new mental attitude toward playing.

The team had its share of ups and downs throughout the season, but with the guidance and persistence of their coach, they manage to come back from behind to secure a second place trophy at the end of the season.

The intensity of the games and practices described in this book seems more appropriate for older children, and you often forget that you are reading about children ages 9-11. Some are going to question Gil's techniques.

Coaches can probably learn from the techniques used in coaching the children, as well as commiserate with the roller coaster ride. Some kids may wish to read the book for inspiration.

Stay tuned for the movie version and for an interview with Gil Sperry.

Purchase Soccer's Story & A Futbol Fable. The Beautiful Game. A Beautiful Season

I requested and received a copy of this book from Gil Sperry for the purpose of reviewing it here on my blog.

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