CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 17. . . .January 3, 2014
Soccer is probably the most popular amateur and professional sport in the world. Accessible to anyone with any sort of ball, it provides entertainment for players and spectators, young and old, poor or rich. It’s quite a sight to watch talented players dance and manoeuver a round orb on their feet for minutes without dropping it.
‘The Beautiful Game’ was slow to catch on in North America, but with immigration and expanded television coverage, it’s now growing in popularity among boys and girls alike, displacing baseball as the largest organized summer activity. Children want to know how to improve their skills, and increasingly they are curious about soccer stars, just as they enjoy learning about their NHL or football heroes. “Soccer Source”, a series published by Crabtree, can satisfy their desire to polish their skills or learn about the marquee events and players.
Each book has full colour photographs of players in action. Admirably, they show both girls and women as often as boys and men, a reflection that females are quickly breaking down the boundaries in what was a traditionally male-dominated sport. Each page in the 32-page books contains useful, clearly written information, organized through a table of contents that is cleverly represented by a dreaded yellow warning card. The second last page of each volume directs readers to more books and websites to further advance their learning, and the final page contains a glossary of definitions of terms bolded throughout the text, as well as a short index.
Play Like a Pro: Soccer Skills and Drills will likely be the volume most in demand in this series. It offers tips on every aspect of the game, from individual skills such as kicking. dribbling and passing, to working as a team and sportsmanlike conduct.
Score! The Story of Soccer reminds readers that soccer is called football in most of the world, and its history goes back perhaps to the Roman times, but at least to the Middle Ages. Sadly, the scourge of soccer hooliganism caused damage and disruption then, too. The book shows the evolution of the game’s rules, dress and the different leagues over the decades.
Winning Big: World and Euro Cup Soccer showcases the different premier events in soccer, including FIFA, the Euro Cup and the Olympics. Women’s soccer receives appropriate attention, an encouragement to would-be players. The rivalry between Canada’s women’s soccer team with the United States is discussed. One two-page spread is devoted to the rules and how they are made, as well as the use of technology in deciding close calls. The book anticipates the World Cup set for Rio de Janeiro in 2014.
Soccer’s Superstars: The Best of the Best features the U.S. Women’s Professional Soccer champions on the cover, again acknowledging the growing participation of women in soccer. Great teams, outstanding goalies and great players from all over the world and their particular accomplishments are highlighted, as well as though who have made a contribution to the game off the field.
This series will find welcoming borrowers in a library collection.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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