Breathing Soccer is the realistic account of Lisa who is forbidden to play soccer because of her asthma. At its core the novel reveals the plight of asthmatics who desire the challenge and thrill of sports, but who must weigh that desire against some very real health issues. Dr. Emerson, her family doctor, has warned Lisa that her asthma must be taken seriously, and that the aggressive demands that soccer places on her breathing could be lethal. Her parents believe the doctor and as a result become overly protective. Right down the line people stand in her way, even her soccer coach, Wilcox, who decides not to play her in the games because he does not want to take a chance on her getting sick and weakening the team's chance to win. But just when it seems that the world has conspired against her, while watching the Olympic Games, Lisa discovers a new source of strength in the example of Olympic Rower Silken Laumann. Lisa is inspired by Silken who, after a terrible accident, was told by doctors that her career was over, but who rose above their verdict to overcome her own barriers in order to win the Bronze medal for Canada.
With the encouragement of camp counsellor, Giant, and her new asthma doctor, Lisa finds the inner strength necessary to rise above her own obstacles and become the soccer player she always knew she could be.