How did you learn soccer? If you ask a child today, they will likely say it’s through playing with a friend/family member, watching highlights online, or playing video games. Probably none will say they learned by reading a book, which is how some of us learned about the game especially if we grew up without it on TV. As kids spend more time than ever in front of screens, a non-screen resource on the game is a nice resource.
The Everything Kids’ series has been around for a while and is written on a number of topics. Simon and Schuster recently released a fifth edition of their soccer version updated through the pandemic. The authors, Carlos Folgar and Deborah Crisfield, are both experienced soccer writers and coaches. Their book, The Everything Kids’ Soccer Book, is a short teaching guide for children just entering the travel path of youth soccer.
Like all good children’s books, The Everything Guide is brief with short chapters designed to keep kids’ attention. The chapters highlight the basics of playing the game, starting with footwork and physical training before moving to the different parts of the game. There is a chapter on playing keeper – to not leave out those inclined to that position! – but also focuses on attacking and defending, rather than playing midfielder versus attacker. The book ends with discussing the different levels of soccer plus my favorite section, which is advice for soccer tryouts. The fifth edition also includes references to COVID changes, like not being able to form a shoulder-to-shoulder wall in some places and leagues.
The book is not strictly narrative, although it is text heavy. It includes lots of drawings, written games, and small quizzes designed to help small readers remain engaged in the topic. Take the “In The Net” chapter for example. In the section discussing how a keeper catches the ball, and what she does with it, there are a number of side-bar items. One is a brief tip on a clipboard on getting used to diving saves. Another is a tip on a soccer ball on where to watch when doing goal kicks. Another soccer ball is a brief tip that keepers should play the field. The final sidebar is a picture game asking where a keeper can handle the ball, with a picture of a cardboard box. There are a number of sidebars designed to teach without saying, which is a nice touch.
While some of the text is more advanced, this is a great book for a kid 7-9 years old that is looking to become a travel soccer player. The style of writing and design is great for engaging them and helping them learn. This is a great summer gift for a young player, so they can prepare for the upcoming fall season.
Editor’s note: The Everything Kids’ Soccer Book is available via all fine booksellers including Amazon.
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