Posts Tagged ‘girls’ soccer novel’

Italy vs. German: Euro Cup 2016

July 1, 2016

My name and heritage might be German, but I’ll be cheering for the Azzurri this Saturday, July 2, at 3:00 Eastern time and noon Pacific time on ESPN 2 when the Italians take on Germany in the Euro quarterfinal match. After all, once upon a time, my American son dreamed of playing for the Italian World Cup team.  He’d lived in Italy from pre-school through second grade and attended the local schools.  The whole idea of citizenship thing wasn’t quite clicking for him, and he’d once mistaken a dollar bill for a Deutchmark.

While we lived in Italy, I had the opportunity to watch a local Italian-speaking team play against a local German-speaking team while doing the research for my soccer novel, Defending Irene. So I know some of what will be shouted from both sidelines.

“Schnell! Schnell! Schnell!” from the Germans.  (Fast, fast, fast.)

Dai!, Dai! Dai!” from the Italians. It sounds like “Die! Die! Die!” which might have been a bit unsettling to English players even though they undoubtedly expected it. I don’t have a really good translation for dai, but it’s similar to “Come on!”  I’ve heard “Ma dai!” used as a protest.

If you’re curious about just how passionate Italians are about soccer, consider checking Defending Irene out of your local library. It’s also available in hardcover at Amazon.  The Kindle edition, while available for pre-order now, will be released on August 9th. I’ll include an excerpt from the first chapter in the coming days.


Finding a Way to Win

July 17, 2011

I”ve been watching the U.S. Women’s Soccer team with delight.  Less than 10 minutes after this blog post goes up, I’ll be plopping myself in front of the TV to watch them take on Japan.  Both teams arrived at this moment because of their skill, determination, conditioning and desire.

Players like Abby Wambaugh, Hope Solo, and Christie Rampone are experienced international players.  They’re used to listening to the women on the other teams shout out encouragement and orders in a different language.   The first time I experienced something like this was at a soccer match for my son’s club team when we lived in Italy.   I had become used to the sound of his coach shouing “Die, die, die!” at his players. (It was really the Italian word “Dai,” a shout of encouragement.  But it was odd to hear the German coach roar, “Schnell! Schnell! Schnell.”   (Fast, fast, fast.)  I managed to work some of this disconnect into my soccer novel, Defending Irene.   

My guess is that Japan will dominate the time of possession, but that the Americans will find a way to win.  Go, USA!

Contemporary Fiction

June 25, 2010

Editors warn authors against putting things in their contemporary novels that will “date” the books unless a project is already anchored somehow in time.  As I watched the Italians lose their final game of group playof th 2010 World Cup, I wondered whether DEFENDING IRENE had made the jump from contemporary sports fiction to historical sports fiction.  Soccer isn’t just the national pasttime for Italians; it’s the national passion.  I was pretty sure that Matteo had dissed American soccer at some point.  And naturally, he couldn’t have done that if the Americans had gone on to the group of 16 while the Italians had gone home.  But as I flipped through the pages to some of the key scenes, I saw to my very great relief that he hadn’t. 

Of course, a lot of things have changed since my girls’ soccer novel was published back in 2004.  There’s one section where my main character emails a friend.  These days, Irene would probably be updating her status on Facebook.  But overall, I think that the email still works in the context of the book.

Best of the Best

June 1, 2010

Every year the Bank Street College of Education Book Committee reviews over 6000 titles.  They put 600 of those books into their Best Children’s Books of the Year publication.    The Bank Street College of Education recently put out a list of their  Outstanding Books for the years 1997 to 2008 on their website.  Each  of the books on this list received a star for outstanding merit when it first appeared in the collection of the Best Children’s Books for the Year.   

When I scrolled through the list, I recognized an extremely high number of titles.  The short descriptions of the book would definitely give readers an idea of whether it could make a good title to recommend to a reader. Naturally, I was extremely pleased to find my soccer novel, DEFENDING IRENE, listed in the 9 and up category down in the sports category with the following description: 

Irene, a visitor from the United States, tries to single-handedly integrate an all-boys Italian soccer team.

World Cup Fever!

May 18, 2010

ILBNH, otherwise known as InsertLiteraryBlogNameHere, included DEFENDING IRENE in their list of soccer books to read in preparation for the World Cup.   My book certainly shows why Italians are so passionate for the Azurri.  Soccer isn’t just the national game of Italy; it’s the national passion.  But the bias against girls playing the game runs pretty deep.  The disapproval that Irene faces from her grandmother was actually inspired by the comments of a woman in her thirties!   

“It is rough. It is dangerous,” my friend said.
“Well, I played basketball,” I said.
“I did, too,” she answered.  “They’re different.” 

That was the first day that I ever heard “maschiaccio.”  It’s the Italian equivalent for tomboy with none of the comparatively positive connotations that tomboy currently has in the U.S.