Monday, November 09, 2015

The Keeper

This is a Cybils book, but the opinion expressed in this review is just mine, and not the committee's.

The Keeper: The Unguarded Story of Tim Howard Young Readers' Edition by Tim Howard with Ali Benjamin

Tim Howard plays keeper for Everton FC in Liverpool, and the US Men's Team. He also has Tourette's Syndrome and OCD. The biography starts in his early years and moves through the aftermath of the 2014 World Cup.

There are a few things that really stand out in the book:

1. Howard's experiences with TS and OCD. He explains really well what it feels like, and how hard it can be with people who don't understand, but he's pretty adamant that they are what help make him such an amazing player. His hyper-focus and demand to get everything just right is what helped drive him to greatness. He also does a lot of work with kids who have TS to offer support and a role model.

2. The importance of a good coach and a good team environment. Howard has played for a lot of teams and understands what the role of good coach is at all levels of play and really focuses on what made different coaches so helpful and spectacular. He also talks a lot of team dynamics, which was really fascinating when he went from Manchester United to Everton and how different the two teams were and what allowed him to flourish at one and not the other. (He talks about this so much, coupled with his work with kids with TS, I have a feeling he would be a really great coach after he retires from active play.)

3. The changing place of soccer in the US over the course of his career. He started playing professionally right when MLS started in the US and it didn't seem like anyone in the US cared about soccer and no one expected US teams to go anywhere, and through the phenomenon of the last World Cup (I believe that we will win), professional soccer has come a long way in the US and he's been on the inside the whole time, and it was really interesting to see that change from his perspective.

Overall, it's a really readable, great book. It's not one I would have picked up on my own, but I'm glad I read it. It is a Young Reader's Edition, and I'd be interested to see if the language in some of the conversations changes in the adult version. There's a lot of "oh my goodness!" in here that I think might have been something more salty in real life.

Book Provided by... my local library

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