Behind the Books Blog Entries: Q & A about the origin of iplaysoccer! Part 1
We do soccer themed children’s books. Like Step Into Reading books, but specific to soccer, and specific to youth player development. We pick topics, or concepts from the game that children struggle with, then we put them into a story, told from the child’s perspective, and try and help kids understand how to overcome these same challenges when they play. Check out our first few titles and download the free companion app to the iplaysoccer series by clicking here!
Q: What sets you apart as authors of soccer themed children’s books?
A: Fact is, we’re not the most qualified nor authoritative academics in the field. We know our limitations, and that may well be that’s exactly what qualifies us! Obviously, we’re not formally trained authors by trade, although Seth does do a fair amount of persuasive writing for his day job. We simply attempt to write as pragmatically and efficiently as possible in an instructional manner that we try to keep fun and engaging by weaving in fictional stories based on our own coaching and parenting experiences. We literally and honestly wrote each of these titles directly for our own kids, in a manner we hoped they would understand and find entertaining. Our kids have always been our first and most important critics and editors.
If we were to attempt to make an argument that we are somewhat authoritative to author titles on these subjects, we do have some “street cred”. We are both active parents that love many sports, and have played soccer growing up ourselves. We both studied in the education field. Seth duel-majored in Spanish & Physical Education Coaching, and now works as a personal injury attorney while Lindsay works in law enforcement. We have three beautiful girls that each play soccer, and we’ve always put our lower-level coaching licenses to use and coached each of our girls’ teams at different times along the way.
Lindsay was a very gifted and successful soccer player in her own right having achieved many accomplishments. She was captain of her soccer teams at both the NJCAA and NCAA D1 levels. She won the 2000 NJCAA National Championship with Dixie State. She was a creative midfielder, and she was great at it – her teams won a lot of soccer games with her helping pull the strings. Since finishing her playing career at Souther Utah University, she’s always continued to play or coach at one level or another.
Similarly, Seth also excelled as a student athlete for Dixie College as a captain of the football team. He was awarded NJCAA All-American status and played one season for the University of Utah before injuries began to decimate his playing career. After a brief break from football due to injuries, he finished his playing career at Southern Utah University, where he somehow convinced the star of the soccer team to marry him. He played youth soccer growing up prior to specializing in American Football, but was formally “baptized” into the game during to the 1994 World Cup. By the 2002 World Cup, the beautiful game had become his passion, and his love for the game has not waivered since. He has become a tactical nerd, thoroughly enjoying analysis of soccer theory and systems of play. He has been fortunate to have worked professionally with clients in different aspects of the game, including risk management and best practices, policies, and procedures. As part of that work, he had to develop an understanding of many of the resources provided by the USSF, USYSA, SAY, and AYSO distributed to their coaches that purport to establish minimum best practices.
So, even if academics in the fields of coaching soccer, child development, and education contend we are not authoritative, we would not disagree with them and we are okay with that conclusion. Nonetheless, we remain bullish about this project. We believe that it can really help kids. We’ve seen it help our own kids. We are committed enough to put ourselves into the arena and risk the embarrassment of failure. Ultimately, the marketplace will determine whether parents and children like the books and the project proves successful.
Q: How do these books fit into the soccer education landscape?
A: As far as we can tell, we are the first of our kind – instructional illustrated children’s story books focused specifically on youth soccer player development. Our books are teaching tools. They are ancillary to the coach, and practice time. They are something that if a player wants to read on their own, away from their teammates and away from the field, to improve and better understand basic concepts, they can. Hopefully, our books can allow them to do it in a fun way and at their own pace!
The youth soccer market is so big the industry execs have a hard time keeping track of it all. This is mostly due to the fractionalization of regulating bodies, associations and leagues nationwide. It is estimated that there is anywhere between 4 and 10 million kids playing organized soccer of some sort during a calendar year. We think there is certainly room for us to fit in without stepping on anybody’s toes! We believe there are plenty of parents and children that can enjoy and benefit from reading our titles, regardless of what league or association they play in.
Whether its a parent that wants thier child to get a head start on more macro level tactical understanding of the game, or a new parent and athlete unfamiliar with the sport that needs a little assistance off the pitch to progress, we can very honestly tell you that these books have helped our own children and their friends develop a better understanding of the game. This understanding makes it easier for the coaches to coach new concepts and the player to enjoy the experience. After all, we don’t want any kid to ever forget – soccer is supposed to be fun!
Finally, we do have a long-term game plan for the company. Part of that plan is that once we prove sustainability of the concept, we want other coaches/authors to write with us and produce a library of books in the series! If any aspiring author or contributor has serious inquiries into writing for LearnSport Books Publishing Co., or has an idea for a new iplaysoccer! title, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly, if you are a credentialed coach looking to get involved with the project we have plenty of opportunities to work with the company from content review and supervision to editorial work. Please do not hesitate to submit any and all genuine inquiries.
Check out our titles and download our free app by clicking here!