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Children's Nonfiction Soccer

How Soccer Works

by (author) Keltie Thomas

illustrated by Stephen MacEachern

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2007
Soccer, Sports & Recreation
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7


From the How Sports Work series comes How Soccer Works, which presents a fascinating and informative look at the science behind the sport. Whether readers are first timers on the pitch or can already bend it like Beckham, How Soccer Works has something for everyone. Text that is as exciting to read as the sport is to play, delves into all aspects of the sport. Great insider information includes the personality of a soccer ball, the differences between artificial turf and real grass, the science of fitness, and how to counter basic offensive and defensive moves. "Quick Kick" factoids, "Star" highlights revealing moves of the pros, "Tips" for game improvement, "Quick Answers to Speedy Questions" explaining everything soccer, and "Legends of the Game" introduce young sports fans to some of the most inspirational players in soccer history. A "Rules and Regs" section and glossary at the back of the book provide all of the terms and need-to-know information to make any reader a master of game basics.

About the authors

KELTIE THOMAS is a passionate sports fan and award-winning children’s science writer and editor. She is a former editor of OWL Magazine, and is the author of popular sports books such as How Baseball Works; Blades, Boards & Scooters; and Inside Hockey! She lives in Toronto.

Keltie Thomas' profile page

Stephen MacEachern attended Sheridan Institute for animation and illustration and has taught in the illustration program there. He is a Web and print designer as well as an illustrator. He has illustrated more than ten children's books. He lives in Erin, Ontario.

Stephen MacEachern's profile page


  • Short-listed, Alberta Children's Choice Awards, Red Cedar Book Award
  • Short-listed, Atlantic Library Association, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
  • Commended, Ontario Library Association, Top 10 Canadian Children's Books, Non-fiction Category, Best Bets List
  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association, Silver Birch Award
  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year

Editorial Reviews

In eight well designed chapters… the facts are clearly set out and conveniently broken up into easily digestible pieces. There is a good glossary, a digest of the rules and regulation, and a wealth of excellent photographs and illustrative cartoons…Even adult readers will learn something…It is essential background for any boy or girl who wants to develop a passion for [soccer].

Quill & Quire

Lots of people love to watch and play soccer, but do they have the inside scoop on how soccer works? How Soccer Works is a kicker full of facts, tales from pros, insider tips, the science of the sport and much more. With great color photographs and illustrations this is one book all soccer lovers, from beginner to pro, will enjoy.

Need some reading material with cartoon-type illustrations to interest a boy in your family? This should be the answer for the sports guys.

Quebec Home & School News

What can be healthier than reading for the mind and active sports for the body?… How Baseball Works and How Soccer Works are presented with a droll, witty humor well blended with the author's scientifically curious point-of-view. Age appropriate explanations of concepts like curving kicks and why baseball bats are made of wood give young readers points of interest to share with friends or classmates […] Subject matter that breezily combines playtime passions with lessons tied into classroom curricula hit the nail smartly on the head.

A well organized book that packs a lot of information into a bold, image-laden package. It is a good general overview of the game of soccer…also covers a lot of the history and the international scope of the game […] Valuable to anyone entering the sport.

CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

This book answers all the questions you might have about soccer, and some that may not have yet surfaced. There is advice for the new and for the seasoned player, historical perspective on a game played all over the world, information on equipment and playmaking and up-to-date ‘gossip’ on its storied players. Well done!

The Brandon Sun

How Soccer Works does a superb job of bringing a world-renowned game to life for primary readers…A must in any balanced literacy classroom.

Professionally Speaking

How Soccer Works provides an entertaining look at the inner quirks and works of soccer while breaking down the science behind the world’s most popular sport. From explaining how the rules came to be to teaching how to bend it like David Beckham, Thomas covers the game from goal to goal.

XK San Diego Soccer News

Just in time for summer, Maple Tree Press has come out with two books that cover a couple of favorite pastimes. How Soccer Works and How Baseball Works, both by Keltie Thomas, are colorful, easy-to-read guides that answer questions about each game's history, equipment and rules. They also take a look at fitness and skills, legends of the games and offer playing tips to youngsters. They are the perfect primers for those just starting out, but they also would appeal to fans and more seasoned players.

The Flint Journal

Amid an overabundance of soccer books, Thomas offers a special hook that makes this title stand out: facts that fans will relish knowing and sharing with their friends… A welcome title where soccer is popular.

School Library Journal

This is not only an informative look at the game of soccer but a great book about the science behind the game. The book is incredibly comprehensive dealing with all elements of the game…Every page scores with a mixture of information, color photographs and illustrations…How Soccer Works is an excellent resource for soccer enthusiasts as well as those who are new to the game.

Resource Links

This book offers soccer-loving kids some depth of information about the intricacies of the game. It is small and accessible…but offers a wealth of knowledge about finer points of the world's most popular sport…This book could get reluctant tween readers who like soccer a bit more involved in reading. The sophisticated amount and quality of information offers a high reward and a nice visual package.

TD Monthly

Librarian Reviews

How Soccer Works (How Sports Work)

Learn the properties of an ideal soccer ball, explore the arts of offense and defense, and discover techniques for delivering stellar passes, curving kicks and perfect headers every time. Contains photos, artwork, glossary and index

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

Other titles by Keltie Thomas

Other titles by Stephen MacEachern