"If your son or daughter scores a goal, world peace will not transpire."

In recent years there has been no shortage of articles, books, and documentaries on the exciting world of youth sports. The thrills and letdowns of a small grouping of students who sign up for various teams and compete for little league glory have a certain appeal. As the author of this book notes, though, all enthusiasm for such a process seems to evaporate once a child turns thirteen. Jonas believes that it is the pressure parents place on their children that causes them to slowly pull away from the game.

Jonas's book looks at the sport of youth soccer and the various types of parents the author has interacted with as his son played the sport. In his excellent study, the focus is not just on the game or even the players. It is also reserved for that subspecies of sport participants, the parents. They are all here: the screaming parent trying to out coach the coach, the mother or father desperately trying to live out their unrealized athletic dreams through their frustrated children, and the parents who seem to be hell-bent on transforming their below-average child into the team's MVP.

This book skillfully portrays the almost primal instincts that govern these people's absurd habits. Their lack of self-awareness is, at times, shockingly hilarious. Yet, it's the story's less flashy elements that stand out the most: the parents who are willing to drop everything for their child's interest in a sport, the circle of parents and players who form friendships through their shared experiences. and the palpable enthusiasm these young children have as they take part in something independent from the rest of their family. Overall, this is an engaging and humorous work of nonfiction that any sports fan, player, or parent will find relatable.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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