From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up Gifford updates his 2006 encyclopedia. The changes are minimal beyond updating the stats. Chapters and page numbers are almost identical to the previous version. There is a slight change in the colorful, action photographs, some to-be-expected website adjustments, and new statistics added to charts such as The Longest Unbeaten League Runs. For the most part, the same superstars are highlighted with the identical biographical paragraphs from the previous edition. The author added only one sentence to update David Beckham's profile to include him joining the LA Galaxy in 2007. Compared to the World Soccer Books series (Rosen), this guide more clearly delineates the teams that play in various competitions such as the World Cup, the European Championships, the Olympics, and Regional Competitions, such as the Asian Cup, Soccer Leagues, and Club Cups. In a year with strong competition in soccer books, this single volume still stands out. But refresh a worn, older copy knowing that there were few revisions made to the earlier edition. 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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