Go for the Goal! Josh and his talented travel league soccer teammates are having trouble coming together as a successful team—until he convinces them to try team-building exercises.
Thirteen-year-old Josh tries out for the United, an elite travel league soccer team, and is thrilled when he makes the cut. But once the season is underway, he discovers that the practices are grueling and the other team members are prone to hogging the ball. All the other players are talented, but they each seem to be playing for themselves and not for the team. They can’t seem to pull together enough to win a single game. Tired of always being in the losers bracket, Josh begins to wonder if he made a mistake by leaving his old team and his buddies. Should he quit the United?
But just when Josh is about to give up on his new team, he makes a discovery: While doing a homework assignment about the World Cup soccer championships, he learns that the 1999 United States Women’s World Cup team faced similar difficulties. Individually they were excellent athletes, but they just couldn’t work together. How did the 1999 team win it all that year? By using team-building exercises. Fired up by this idea, Josh convinces his coach to try the same approach. At first his teammates are skeptical, but with time they turn the United into a real team!
Fred Bowen was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, a seaside town north of Boston. Most of his family still lives there—he has four big brothers and two sisters. His dad loved sports. One of Bowen’s earliest memories is watching the 1957 World Series on TV with his dad and his brothers. Bowen’s dad was his Little League coach and his brothers were his teammates in backyard football and “driveway basketball.” When Bowen turned eighteen, he left behind his sports-happy childhood and headed to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Bowen has always loved US and world history and he made history his major in college. Bowen also loves sports history because of all the great dramas and big personalities, which is why he weaves real sports history into all of his stories.
After he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, he went to George Washington Law School in Washington, DC. Shortly after he graduated, he met Peggy Jackson, a journalist. They got married two years later and now have two grown children. Their son is a college baseball coach and their daughter works for a nonprofit in Chicago. When they were in elementary school, Bowen coached their baseball, basketball, and soccer teams—more than thirty teams in all. Bowen was a lawyer for many years and retired from practicing law so that he could write for kids full time. He gets to spend a lot more time writing and he gets more time to visit schools and talk with kids about his books. He also speaks at a lot more conferences and meets more cool teachers and librarians.