From School Library Journal
Grade 6-10 Beginning with the history of the sport, Gifford covers the basic rules as well as skills such as defending the ball, goalkeeping, and attacking. He includes brief bios of the legends of the sport, both men and women, organized by their positions. Fascinating tales of great teams and memorable competitions in events such as the World Cup and the 2004 Olympics will entertain fans of the sport. The font tends to be small, creating a dense look to the pages, but the large as well as thumbnail color photos appear often and break up the text. This book could be used as a reference guide for reports or to answer specific questions. A solid purchase where an all-encompassing encyclopedia is needed. Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
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Gr. 6 and up. This deceptively slim volume packs a considerable amount of information. The introduction traces the genesis of kicking games through rudimentary forms of soccer into current professional and Olympic competitions. Subsequent chapters address basic rules, physical tactics and skills, brief biographies of legendary players, profiles of well-known coaches and coaching strategies, summaries and win-loss records of national and club teams, and descriptions of major international competitions. The chapter "Soccer Fortunes" looks at public and commercial aspects of the game, such as the typical career path and subsequent demands of becoming a professional athlete, technical aspects of playing fields and stadiums, club politics and salaries, and fans as well as cheating scandals, stadium riots, and other "soccer nightmares." A final reference section provides facts and figures on soccer in the U.S. as well as recommended Web sites, books, and magazines; a glossary; and an index. Information is current through 2004.
Articles are divided into subsections that span two-page spreads. Subtitles, brief paragraphs, and fact boxes offering trivia, tables of statistics, diagrams, and more accompany numerous photos, primarily in color. Images spill across pages in a graphic-intense, dynamic presentation. An additional appealing feature is that coverage of women's teams and players is integrated throughout and not relegated to separate chapters or footnote status.
Keir Radnedge has authored two recent resources intended for adults: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Soccer (Carleton Books, 2002) and The Complete Encyclopedia of Soccer (Carleton Books, 2004). This current offering is aimed at a younger audience but will appeal to fans of all ages. The glossy cover will attract browsers, and the international coverage will appeal to a wide audience. Public libraries, middle schools, and high schools may want to consider offering both circulating and reference copies of this reasonably priced, accessible overview. Kathleen McBroom
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