7 Must-Read Books For The Soccer Lover in Your Life!
As the world unites for the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer, soccer fans everywhere—like me–are excited to watch their favorite teams in action. Because I’m a children’s author and a MASSIVE soccer fan, I can think of no better way to get into the full spirit of the Women’s World Cup than to share some children books that celebrate fútbol.
Through my books, I alway manage to sneak in my passion for soccer. For example, in my award-winning novel, LETY OUT LOUD I named several of the furry friends at the shelter after some of my favorite soccer players (See photo below: Messi!). When I had the chance to write a soccer book with American Girl Dolls called LEAD WITH YOUR HEART, which tells the story of young soccer player, I named the main character Maritza Ochoa after my favorite Mexican soccer player: Memo Ochoa.
This list of books may be my all-time favorite list so far because I love soccer + I love books. These books not only entertain and inspire, but also educate, giving readers a deeper understanding of soccer’s profound influence on societies and its positive impact on individuals. So, as we cheer on our favorite teams during the Women’s World Cup, please consider picking up some of these goal-hitting books that celebrate the beautiful game! Go USA!
Courage in Her Cleats: The Story of Soccer Star Abby Wambach
by Kim Chaffee | Illustrated by Alexandra Badiu
As a child, Abby Wambach was loud and clear about what she wanted and what she didn’t, and she didn’t want to be left out of any competition―especially soccer.
In this heartfelt biography, readers will get a glimpse of how Abby scored her way from school league leader to U.S. Women’s National Team star.
Maritza: Lead With Your Heart
by Angela Cervantes
Maritza is Bolivian on her mother’s side, Mexican on her fathers’ side, and 100 percent American soccer player. She dreams of playing for the U.S. women’s soccer team and even coaching it one day. Her teammate Violeta has those dreams too, but she worries she may never reach them because her family immigrated to the United States from El Salvador and may be sent back there. Maritza believes that families belong together, and with her new friends Makena and Evette by her side, she makes a plan to help.
Can she find the courage to lead with her heart? Learn more!
Pelé, King of Soccer/Pelé, El rey del fútbol
by Monica Brown | Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
Any kid who loves soccer should know the legend of Pelé. A Brazilian boy who practiced soccer barefoot because he couldn’t afford shoes grew up to be one of the greatest soccer players on earth, leading his team to the World Cup finals. Not ONCE, but THREE times! Bonus: the book is bilingual (Spanish and English)
The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope, and Apartheid in South Africa
by Phil Bildner | Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson
In this heart-warming picture book based in South Africa, soccer is the backdrop for lessons about apartheid, Nelson Mandela, and how the love of sport can bring us together, regardless of race.
Soccer Show Off
by James Maddox
Young Gina loves playing soccer, and she can’t wait to join the team at her new school. But when Gina tries to be the star of the team, her new teammates don’t exactly appreciate it.
Gina has to learn that teamwork is more important than winning before she can get back on the field.
Play Like a Girl: Life Lessons from the Soccer Field
by Kate T. Parker
In this non-fiction profile of soccer, the love for soccer is explored and shown how it can teach valuable lessons to young women. Whether these young soccer stars are getting up at dawn to kick ball after ball into the net, teaching a younger sister how to dribble, or falling asleep in their soccer jersey, these chicas understand what it means to be fearless, dedicated, confident, proud, and persistent. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 3 or 63––that’s what it means to play like a girl.
by Yamile Saied Mendez
Young Adult book (ages 16+) that tells the story of Camila Hassan who lives a double life. At home in Argentina, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.