Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Wild Soccer Bunch, Book 1, Kevin the Star Striker Hardcover – May 20, 2010
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Landon Donovan U.S. soccer, MLS MVP
'The Wild Soccer Bunch, book 1 is a mash-up of 'The Mighty Ducks' and 'The Seven Samurai' that every soccer mom will want on her child's reading list!'
Steven E. de Souza, screenwriter, 48 Hours, Die Hard
Just in time to capitalize on World Cup fever, a soccer-centric middle-grade series that’s been making waves abroad is arriving in the U.S. The Wild Soccer Bunch series by Joachim Masannek, illustrated by Jan Birck, follows the adventures of a young, coed soccer team, with each book focusing on a different player. The series was originally published in Germany in 2002 under the name Die Wilden Fußballkerle, growing to 13 books in three years’ time. There are now more than nine million copies of the books in print in 29 countries, yet they hadn’t been translated into English until now. The first book, Kevin, the Star Striker, went on sale in late May from Sole Books, a new Beverly Hills-based venture that is owned by Wild Soccer USA, which has rights to the series in English-language territories, as well as film and merchandising rights.
Why the series had yet to be brought to English-speaking countries is a mystery to Yitzhak Ginsberg, publisher of Sole Books, who first became acquainted with the soccer series at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2008 (the books spawned five movies in Germany, which Masannek wrote and directed). As to why the Wild Soccer Bunch has become so popular in other markets, Ginsberg believes soccer is just a “backdrop” and only a part of the equation. “The spirit of the Bunch, a lot of it is about the world ‘wild.’ Kids want to be a little bit out of the box. The other reason is that everybody on the team has a voice,” he says. “I think it’s very appealing for kids to be able to relate to different characters [and think], ‘Maybe I’m not the star of the dteam, but I have a voice, I have a book, and I’m telling my story.’ ”
After tracking down Hebrew editions of the books in Israel, Ginsberg set about acquiring rights to the series from the German publisher, Baumhaus Verlag, and, with Wild Soccer USA, created Sole Books to publish the books here. “I created an entity that is almost virtual, with people working in America, Australia, and Israel,” Ginsberg says. “You could call it micropublishing in a way. The printer is in Michigan, the distributor [Pathway] is in New Hampshire. It’s really a new age kind of operation.”
In addition to translating the books into English, the stories are also being “localized”: the Wild Soccer Bunch is set outside of Chicago, while the original stories took place in Munich (other translations of the books are set in other cities, as well). The process, Ginsberg says, involves getting the vernacular right—“not only putting it in an American city.”
In terms of marketing the Wild Soccer Bunch, Ginsberg says that Sole Books is “heavily investing” in online marketing and will eventually be running TV and radio advertisements. The series also has a very high-profile face promoting it: soccer star Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy, who is a paid endorser of the books (and who is having a very good week at the World Cup). “Landon is really carrying the campaign in the next 12 months,” Ginsberg says. “I knew that he was one of the biggest soccer stars in America and I knew he was a very eloquent person. He comes from a family of teachers, and it’s appealing for him to endorse something that’s nontraditional for athletes. He’s doing Nike, he’s doing Gatorade, he’s doing the Wild Soccer Bunch.”
Ginsberg says Sole Books is only now getting orders from bookstores, though the books are for sale online. A second book, Diego the Tornado, will be out in December, with subsequent books in the series to follow. Ginsberg, whose background is in the film industry (he founded independent film company Dream Entertainment 17 years ago) hopes to remake the Wild Soccer Bunch films for an American audience. He also says that, while the Wild Soccer Bunch is his main focus, Sole Books is also investigating a handful of other children’s properties with film potential.
Publishers Weekly'Wild Soccer Bunch' Lands in the U.S.
About the Author
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
What makes the WildSoccer series so special are the books' themes: team sports, diversity, friendship-- even if your child is not a soccer fan, he/she will love the characters and the storylines. I am not surprised that the author, Joachim Massanek, is a huge success overseas-- the WildSoccer series has already sold millions of copies in Europe!
The Wild Soccer Bunch is funny and it's a light read, but the book will challenge your kids too. My kids can't wait for the next book in the series to come out. My daughter has asked me to signed her up for soccer-- we can't wait!
This is an energetic book full of kids who love soccer. However, the thing I don't like about it is the fact that all the kids are rude, disrespectful, and bold-faced liars. All they want to do is play soccer, and they treat their parents as idiots. I'm not even a parent, but a teacher. I bought this book for my class, but I will not buy the next one. I don't want my students reading this. I wish I could get a refund, and I'm disappointed as soccer and LA Galaxy fan that Landon Donovan has endorsed this book.
The main premise of the book is that the `Wild Bunch' is a group of boys that just love to play soccer, it's their entire world. The main kid in this book is Kevin, and his brother and their friends make up the `Wild Bunch' team. I could tell you all their names and introduce them to you, but that would ruin the first chapter for you, which does it in a real fun way. They want to play soccer all spring break, but they have a real challenge getting past their parents and battling with the fact that winter won't quite let go. When they finally do manage to get to the field, they're beaten to the punch by `the Unbeatables', a group of older boys who are a lot bigger and a lot tougher. They make a bet that they'll all meet back at the end of two weeks, and whichever team wins get's the field for their own from then on out. Now they need to practice up for the big game, but will it be enough time for them to get good enough to win?
It's very well paced and never gets dull or tiresome, and it's written quite simply, but it never reaches the point of talking down to its key audience.
Something that was a nice surprise were the illustrations by Jan Birck.Read more ›
Reading the book will involve kids and parents alike - the writing is that good. But the author's goal is far greater than entertainment. He succeeds in motivating kids to get involved on team sports, wins them over to sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership, self acceptance, and the joy of the game. The writing is infectious and bodes well for a continuing series by this talented duo of Messanek and Brick. Grady Harp, August 10
In that way, the book appears well-positioned to captivate a child who's reading it - the book speaks a child's language, looks at the world through a child's eyes. I've read plenty of children's books at this point, and this book is one of the few that really accomplishes that feat.
The result is simple - my son has a hard time putting it down. Period. And given that he doesn't usually like to read, and he can't stand some of the books that are assigned to him in school, that's quite an accomplishment.
I would further note that although this book was originally written in German, to German kids, it has been seemlessly adapted to an American audience. It reads as if originally written in English, and it's set in Chicago.
Another nice aspect of the book is that it definitely encourages activity - via soccer, of course, but I think that kids who play other sports might be inspired as well.
The only concern I might have would be for younger girls - this is really a boy-oriented book, as a whole. If you are considering getting a book for a 9 year old (or maybe younger) boy, then you can't go wrong with this, especially if he's a soccer player. For girls, I think it's more of a judgment call.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gave as a gift and he loved it! I bought 1 and 2 and his mom asked where I got these because he wants to read them all! I guess that a good review.Published 1 month ago by Janet Schultz
Our seven year old's comment "if you like soccer you are going to love the book! It was funny and a good story". He also immediately asked for the next book in the series.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
My 10 year old is NOT a big reader, but he really enjoyed reading this book.Published 10 months ago by Amanda
Cute book. I read it with my 7 year old soccer loving son. Plan to read the series with him.Published 11 months ago by Mrs M
7yo nephew was very pleased to show me that he had read 1/3 of the book within 12 hours of receiving it. A success I would say!Published 13 months ago by dstone
That book was cool. It was simar to when I play soccer the book needs one more thing entertainment don't you think!!!!Published 14 months ago by Michael S. Fuggetta
My Grandson really enjoyed this book, and has requested more in this series. Well written, great illustrations, and an enjoyable story. Arrived quickly and well-worth the money. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Judeela