OFFSIDES by Erik E. Esckilsen


Age Range: 10 & up
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The Hood, Goatee, Blue Hair, a smoker who plays goalie so he won’t have to run as much, and Katya, a Russian girl—not your usual soccer team. In fact, Katya says, “Is there a kid on our team who isn’t a freak?” Tom Gray has just moved to town. He’s the best high-school center striker in the league, but he refuses to play for Coach Dempsey’s Southwind Warriors as long as their mascot is an Indian. Tom, a Mohawk, assembles a team of geeks and freaks, misfits and defectors to play Dempsey’s talented squad. As in Esckilsen’s debut, The Last Mall Rat (2003), this is a bit overwritten in spots, but it’s the moral tone that sets it apart from other David and Goliath sports stories. Tom is a young man who is bound to honor what he believes in. The culminating soccer game with the Warriors is a rousing model of sports-writing for young readers—even those who don’t know much about soccer will be drawn in. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-46284-8
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2004