Professional soccer has been slow to catch on in the U.S., but it’s finally attracting an impressive following, especially with women. It’s been a mainstream youth sport for the last couple of decades, so naturally kids look for it in the books they read. Though not as prevalent as basketball, football, or baseball, there are great books to be found.
Booked by Kwame Alexander
Nick loves soccer and hates books. His dad is a linguistics professor and requires Nick to read the dictionary. That doesn’t help Nick enjoy the books his teacher assigns. Besides, he has more important things to think about. The upcoming soccer tournament in Dallas. The bully twins who steal his bike. His dream girl April. And his parent’s separation.
King of the Bench: Kicking and Screaming by Steve Moore
Soccer doesn’t exactly fry Steve’s burger. He makes the mistake of saying that within earshot of Becky, the best girl athlete at his school. To redeem himself, he joins the JV soccer team. He can’t bench this one because the team doesn’t have enough players. He is one sad case on the field, and actually improves the odds of the other team winning.
Shoot-Out (Comeback Kids) by Mike Lupica
Jake likes everything about his new town, except his new soccer team. They’re bottom dwellers. On top of that, Kevin hasn’t mentally been in the game since his mom died and Coach wants Jake to work with him. Kevin thwarts all of Jake’s attempts to involve him in the game. Eventually, Jake’s persistence pays off and Kevin comes around, setting the team up for a major comeback.
Beyond Lucky by Sarah Aronson
Ari believes his friend Mac has all the luck, especially when it comes to soccer. Then Ari finds a rare trading card for his hero, Wayne Timcoe, and his luck starts changing. He gets the starting goalkeeper position and he’s playing better than ever. Then the card goes missing and Ari feels his luck going down the drain. Two of his teammates claim the other one took it and he doesn’t know who to believe.
Braced by Alyson Gerber
On the same day Rachel is told she is being moved from defense to offense on her soccer team, she gets the news that her scoliosis has worsened and she will need to wear a brace. She tries to hide it, but the team knows something is up and soon the gossip is unrelenting. Even her best friends are finding it hard to stand by her. How can she possibly go to the 7th grade formal?
Million Dollar Kick by Dan Gutman
Whisper Nelson hates sports, especially soccer. When she gets the chance to win a million dollars by writing a poem, she can’t resist. She wins the poetry contest. Now the only thing standing between her and a million dollars is a successful penalty kick against the goalie of the Oklahoma City Kickers.
Saving the Team (The Kicks) by Alex Morgan
Things are going well for Devin at her new school. Unfortunately, the soccer team is a chaotic mess. The coach coddles the girls and makes all decisions based on keeping the sport fun. They’re losing every game. When Devin gets up the nerve to tell the coach how she feels, the coach changes tactic and they beat the best team in the league.
Out of Bounds (Soccer Sisters) by Andrea Montalbano
Makena, Val, Jessie, and Chloe are soccer sisters. The new player is clearly not one of them. She plays dirty on the field, faking injuries and interrupting plays to tie her shoelaces. Even worse, she convinces Makena to engage in risky behavior. The other teammates aren’t impressed and eventually Makena realizes she’s been misled.
Ten by Shamini Flint
Maya is obsessed with soccer, but in Malaysia, girls are expected to be “proper,” and focus on doing things that will attract a good husband. Maya doesn’t listen. After her parents give her a soccer ball for her birthday, she takes it to school, and girls begin joining in. Once they have enough girls to form a team, Maya gets to experience the excitement and pressure of her first game.