All You Will Ever Need To Know About Soccer

About the Book


Awards, Promotions & Film Reader Comments  

Posted by Beverly Crane
Fri, Feb 20th, 2009

I loved this book so much that I bought it for my grandson to encourage him to read. He loves soccer but not reading and this was a real incentive for him when his parents told him he must read every night. It was the fastest he had ever completed a book! As a teacher myself, I can see how this book with short paragraphs and new trials the team experienced in every chapter would encourage both boys and girls to improve their reading. Good job, Gil.

Posted by Dan Bressler
Sun, Feb 22nd, 2009

Great inspirational article and story!

Posted by Nitu Vasani  
Sun, Feb 22nd, 2009

My grandson Sarik has this book and when he finishes reading he is going to let me borrow the book. He likes it so much that he does not want it out of his sight until he finishes reading it !!! So I will comment on it later.

Posted by Wendy Jane Carrel
Sun, Feb 22nd, 2009

Thank you Dan for the inspirational story of the volunteer (unpaid) soccer coach who encouraged 15 boys and 5 girls, (from mostly low-income families, I gather), to take an interest in the game and then lead the Valle LIndo Eagles to a championship season. So great that the coach, Gil Sperry, wrote a book about their achievements, and, that two Hollywood screenwriters are interested in bringing the story to screen life!!! And how wonderful to hear young readers are discovering the book!! Good going indeed!!

Posted by Allie Barnum 
Mon, Feb 23rd, 2009

This book is a easy read for kids and adults! I love this book because it talks about where the history of soccer came from and the amazing journey of the author's soccer team! I think that kids and adults would love this book s much as I do!

Posted by Pablo
Mon, Feb 23rd, 2009

Finally, a book that recognizes the hard work of Latino youth in South San Diego county. These students are part of a long soccer tradition in Latin America.


Posted by Howard Sperry  
Tue, Feb 24th, 2009

Having known my brother's lifelong dedication to sports, as both a participant and coach, there is no one better suited to write about soccer and this amazing story. The student players at Valle Lindo Elelmentary were fortunate to have Signor Sperry as their coach, but rallied around him because of the dedication and motivation that he instilled in his players. A GREAT read and truly an inspiring tale of true grit and determination in the face of constant adversity.

Posted by Theodore Bennett 
Tue, Feb 24th, 2009

Having been coached by Gil Sperry since the age of twelve, I see that not much has changed in the growth and development and preparation of soccer players and, more importantly, in the area of character development. Some of my best days to this day are memories from the age of twelve on the Jaguares, an AYSO outfit, and Fram SC, a Pacific Soccer League entry. The above article accurately describes the book. I have read it. It will make a fine screenplay/movie and it will be particularly instructive as the characters take on real, full-bodied roles, such as the helpful assistant coach, the backsliding principal, and the well-meaning parent who searches for gloves WHILE the championship game is being played. In addition, the book may be instructive to anyone interested in becoming a successful coach. The most important ingredient in the book is the man himself, Gil Sperry. His clear, unwavering character shines forth as it did for me some 35 years ago and shines brightly even now for me. For me, it is the person who is the most important part of the equation and Gil Sperry teaches this in a uniquely team sport that requires absolute individual commitment.


Posted by Doug Friedman  
Tue, Feb 24th, 2009

It's not just about soccer, it's about drive and motivation. Well done!

Posted by Andrew Smith 
Tue, Feb 24th, 2009

I enjoyed the book with its trivia and its inspirational tale. I'm intrigued by the possibility of a movie, should be good stuff.

Posted by Ed Adler
Tue, Feb 24th, 2009

My cousin Gil has always been an inspiration to me, so it is no surprise that he is the same to all.

Posted by David Rodriquez 
Tue, Feb 24th, 2009

Gill Sperry is such a wonderful person and is very kind hearted. After reading this article and reading Mariachi for Gringos he amazes me even more.

Posted by Sergio Alonso 
Tue, Feb 24th, 2009

As a music teacher, I am always in search of tools that will help motivate my students in the classroom. While this book presents the lives of young soccer players, it is truly less of a "sports story" and more of a story about children excelling (as opposed to simply surviving) in the face of adversity and conquering seemingly insurmountable challenges. These life realities are ones that ALL children, athletes and otherwise, can relate to. I commend Gil for his fine work and for providing us this story ; a story that will surely motivate and inspire other children to create success stories of their own. 

Posted by Robert Shoen  
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

Anyone who knows Gil Sperry will not be shocked to read this inspiring success story. He has the rare talents necessary to organize and motivate kids and their parents as well as administrators and teachers. And it's all for the good of the kids! A true Renaissance man, Sperry uses a wide range of skills, knowledge, and talents to help students benefit from improved nutrition, exercise and study skills. Winning is just one aspect of the game--success on and off the field is what Sperry helps his kids achieve.

Posted by Adam Behar  
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

What an incredible story -- I can't wait to read this book...and see the movie!!. Congrats to everyone involved. 

Posted by Joseph Crotty  
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

I applaud Gil Sperry for his work with children. I have known him for a number of years and I support him,100%

Posted by Jessica 
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

Gil Sperry is a wonderful person. Great article by the way!


Posted by Rich Scott  
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

Great article. Can't wait to read the book. I have young children who are just getting into reading and playing soccer. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story. 

Posted by Frank Pruett
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

Gil does amazing stuff for his community. I am glad to see that he continues beyond Mariachi for Gringos (a great book in its own right) to bring some help to our schools and chronicle the kind o involvement he both relishes and inspires in others. Thanks for covering this, Dan! 

Posted by Keith Sky  
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

GET THIS BOOK! GIL IS A HERO and an INSPIRATION! Loved the article too, AND don't forget his dedication to the Mariachi artform. Ole!

Posted by Patricl Oslo  
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

I had the opportunity of interviewing Gil on my radio show a few months back. We discussed his soccer background and book plus the work he is doing with kids. It is truly a great story, but Gil is much too modest to realize that he is the story, choosing instead to make the kids and his books be the story. The author and his work are to be congratulated and supported. Patrick Osio



Posted by Serafin Paredes
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

Great story hopefully this will serve as motivation to a lot of adults to work with the youth. We need more people like Gil in the communities to motivate students not only sports but also in music and what’s more important in education. Great job.

Posted by Stan Nemeth  
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

Very happy to hear such wonderful things about Gil. I hope his book is a huge success and a movie in the works for him. I look forward to reading the book, when my AMD eyesight make it possible. Until then my wife will read it and share it with me. wed Feb25th,2009

Posted by Paul Romano 
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009

As always, Sperry (my amigo for almost 30 years) has awakened in his kids, high personal values and great spirit , that they can use everyday of their lives and not when they are just on the field. Can't wait for the movie. Grazie, Gil.

Posted by Yesi
Wed, Feb 25th, 2009


Posted by Joan Bonvicini
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009 

Thanks for a great article! This is an outstanding book written by a wonderful guy who immersed himself into the soccer world and a group of very special kids. You will be inspired by this quick read!

Posted by Joel Kornblatt
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

It is with heart felt and sincere congratulations to Gill on his success as a motivator, writer, and now a possible big screen career. As business associates for many years I have had the utmost respect for Gil’s ethics and acumen in dealing with issues. Although we did not always agree, we always respected each other’s opinions. Gil will always be missed in our industry, however he is on to a far more gratifying life. Can't wait to see the movie!!

Posted by Steve Gehrke
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

Why this book? What is so special? It's a compelling story on many levels. It's not about a game, or a sport, it's about a journey. A journey is not complete without its pitfalls. Hollywood could not write this story. The great kids at Valle Lindo Elementary School and Coach Gil Sperry wrote it along the way. What's so special? The kids, the coach, the league, the drive, the will to compete. The kids believed in the teachings on the field. They believed in each other, and they believed they could win. Winning is not scoring the most goals, winning is being the best TEAM. The real winner is the Chula Vista School District. Their heart, compassion, and dedication have provided an outlet for these young minds to grow and flourish. Through soccer, these youths are tested and enriched with values which will carry them through their lives and make them responsible members within their community. Gerardo Morales, Denis Vargas, and Gil Sperry are but a few individuals who have placed the game and their teachings above all and are to be commended. It truly is “The Beautiful Season, A Beautiful Game.” 

Posted by Donald Patterson  
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

Gil Sperry has a heart for kids and a desire to advance the sport of soccer. His story will inspire coaches, to keep at it even when the going is bad, kids to learn a love for the game and readers to get involved themselves. 

Posted by Michael Stanley
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

I worked with Gil Sperry for a number of years some years ago and thought his entire life was driven only by the lighting industry. After retiring and meeting up most unexpectedly with him again I find that there is far more to him than I first thought. He is truly multi-talented and shows his uncommon enthusiasm in every project he gets involved with....... no matter how different they are. From being an expert on lighting to Mariachi music and now to coaching a soccer team in his school. One can only wonder what will be next. He and his equally talented and energetic wife Priscilla are one dynamic team. Both of them inspire everyone they come in contact with. I wish the very best to them both.


Posted by Herman Rodriquez  
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

Gil Sperry is a wonderful person, he has demonstrated this trait in his writings and interviews with people and the media. The Chula Vista Elementary School is very lucky to have Gil as their part-time coach, He is a humanitarian for our world today, I personally want to congratulate all the children and their parents for their accomplishments with soccer for you have the right person to help you win in any sport and in life. Herman Rodriguez, "Si Se Puede"

Posted by Armando Ramos
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

When I first read the draft I was impressed with the tenacity and commitment that the author demonstrated toward his soccer players. I was sadly reminded of one or two teachers I have had and the inspiration they provided me. I say sadly because if there were more Gil Sperry's in the educational world then perhaps all "soccer players" in the world would be so inspired to achieve beyond their perceived limitations. I admire Gil for his work ethic, consistency, and heart and know that these qualities will continue to bring astounding success. Also, I know the project took equally great dedication from his wife Priscilla whom I admire greatly. Best regards, a friend and neighbor, Armando Ramos 

Posted by Bob Conder
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

When you hear about a book like this you think, Oh a soccer story, which it is. But this soccer story is about the kids, the coach, the community that supported them, and how a few hours a week can make a positive change in so many people. Ethnic barriers were erased as kids, coaches, and their community came together to enjoy an international sport. The personal victories of these kids and their families are the life-changing ones. Thanks for writing this, Gil.

Posted by Richard Steir
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

I am definitely looking forward to reading this book.

Posted by E. Kathy Suagee
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

Gil's enthusiasm for life and people is evident in all he does. This story of his commitment to helping kids learn to succeed is a testament to his gift for teaching. Way to go, Gil! We will continue to welcome your books and you at Singing Wind Bookshop.

Posted by Luciano
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

What a great rags-to-riches sports story. I have always felt that in my personal life, and in this story, sports was and is the great equalizer. Sports takes us out of our little cocoon and introduces us to larger world.

Posted by Eddie Iriqui
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

It comes from the heart!!!! I love the book and I am so glad that the author is donating proceeds to a really good cause-the shining stars who play on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and who represent the Chula Vista Elementary School District. Way to go Gil!!!!! I highly recommend you read the book with a child. It will inspire them to, one day, play the most beautiful sport in the world.

Posted by Helanne Marmor
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

A great story about character development and the game of soccer! Soccer is very popular all over the world and this will make a great movie!

Posted by Nicole Johnson
Thu, Feb 26th, 2009

Gil is such an inspiration to the community! Keep up the amazing work! Thanks for doing so much to recognize the kids and their talents. I hope we see many more books to come. 

Posted by Denis Vargas
Fri, Feb 27th, 2009

Gil, your book is fantastic and it is exciting to be mentioned in it You have done so much for youth and you continue to do so by helping the CVESD SL in fundraising for the league. It would be great to see a movie about the book. 

Posted by Sarah Myers
Fri, Feb 27th, 2009

Gil Sperry is a heartwarming author and Soccer's Story is one to share with family and friends. Read with a child and walk through the trials, tribulations, and motivations together. Then, go play a great game of soccer! 

Posted by John Shableski
Fri, Feb 27th, 2009

What I enjoyed most is that the story really is about heart and inspiration. Gil is a fantastic human being who recognizes that kids desperately need more coaches like him who can inspire. There are many more men and women like Gil Sperry across the country who give of themselves, and kids like the ones on this team who simply need someone who cares. As with anything Gil teaches, coaches, writes and inspires in a way that should be the standard. Thank you for covering the story.

Posted by Bill Barnum
Fri, Feb 27th, 2009

Having grown up playing AYSO as a child and coaching my daughter I found the book informative and inspirational. It was well written and I found myself not being able to put it down. Great job Gil!

Posted by Marilyn Scott, Medio Camino, Mexico
Fri, Feb 27th, 2009

I had a hard time putting the book down! I am a big football fan but knew nothing about soccer! We were visiting our son in Barcelona the year the European Soccer Championship was held there and the cheers from the crowd echoed all the way from the arena down town! I am going to have to watch a game on TV!!! Thanks for your book, Gil. The story was fascinating!

Posted by Mimi Roth
Fri, Feb 27th, 2009

Great book and so inspiring. Great job and good read. Nice to have something positive in these times. 

Posted by Petey McCune
Sun, Mar 1st, 2009

This is a wonderful inspiring book. Thank you so much Gil. 

Posted by Larry Margolis
Mon, Mar 2nd, 2009

For someone with no kids, and not into soccer, I found this book to be a lesson in life, sports, and the human spirit. Everyone can be a winner if led in the right direction with hard work and a fearless leader. These types of teachings should be passed onto everyone, it would make our society a much better place for all to live. 

Mon, Mar 2nd, 2009

I have been involved with Field Hockey in the USA for a long time and I can relate to this story. It is just amazing and extremely inspiring . I will be recommending this book to all youngsters who play soccer or similar team sports. Keep up the good work Gil.

Posted by Bonnie Weber
Mon, Mar 2nd, 2009

Gil, As a Children’s Librarian, I know how much kids love books about soccer- Grown-ups too! This terrific and inspiring story will find a wide audience. I look forward to the movie!

Posted by Nora Codina
Mon, Mar 2nd, 2009

My family and I had the honor to attend Mr. Gil Sperry's "premiere" book signing of his spectacular book entitled "Soccer's Story & A Futbol Fable". Personally, I was not a soccer fan but, quite honestly, after reading the story of these amazing children in this book, I became quite interested. I learned about the sport itself, but more than that I learned how soccer and a dedicated coach (Gil Sperry) brought this team together and made these kids believe that they can reach even the dreams they believed to be unreachable. It is an inspirational story for everyone about perseverance, believing in yourself and achieving what you thought was never possible. Truly a lesson many of us at any age need to learn. I highly recommended this book and his previous book entitled "Mariachi for Gringos". Excellent content and an excellent author, definitely Five Stars!!! To you, Mr. Gil Sperry - Thank you for always inspiring children and for motivating and supporting them in many wonderful ways. You are truly admired and our family is forever grateful for the personal support to our daughter. May God Bless you and this wonderful project. 

Posted by Brenda  
Tue, Mar 3rd, 2009

Nice article. Thanks to Gil for all his support in our community. I'm buying the book for my 6th grade girl's soccer team at Los Altos Elementary.

Posted by Gerardo Morales
Tue, Mar 3rd, 2009

An inspirational story to say the least. I was fortunate enough to be present at two of the games mentioned in the book, and I knew then, that it was a special moment. Kudos to Gil for capturing the magic of that miraculous season. Definitely a read-in-one-sitting book! A 5 stars book!!!!

Posted by Scott Loughney
Tue, Mar 3rd, 2009

This is a wonderful example of what teachers are doing for kids. Gil has created a memory of a lifetime for all of those student athletes involved. Those student athletes have left a legacy for the families of Valle Lindo Elementary School in Chula Vista. I really hope to see this book do well.

Posted by Jonathan Herrera
Tue, Mar 3rd, 2009

Anytime one has the opportunity to share the legacy of a community and the story of the students is wonderful. Chula Vista is a diverse community with different backgrounds and cultural "mochilas" in other words what they bring from home. It's a story that I will share with my players here at Salt Creek Elementary.

Posted by Irwin Gebroe
Tue, Mar 3rd, 2009

Gil Sperry is very knowledgeable and is quite entertaining. He has some great ideas and is able to put them on paper. 

Posted by Gil Sperry  
Wed, Mar 4th, 2009

I'd like to thank and Dan McLellan for calling attention to our book, The many comments left by visitors to this site have not only been gratifying for the author but they have been substantive for the Chula Vista Elementary School District's Interscholastic Soccer League. In the two short weeks since this article was posted, we have raised over $1,000 for our worthy cause. If you would like to find out how you can contribute and what major fund-raising events are imminent, please contact me via e-mail. Once again, muchisimas gracias, amigos!

Posted by Steve Adair
Wed, Mar 4th, 2009

I really enjoyed reading this book. Having worked with Gil at Tiffany Elementary as teachers and as grant writers, it was great to see him find success in another publication. If you read the book and wonder if this guy ever slows down - the answer is no and the book is no different. From the beginning I was hooked. The story moved at such a quick pace it seemed like no time had passed and I arrived at the end. The whole time I was reliving Gil's experience, I was remembering right along with him, the highs and lows of that season. Thanks Gil for highlighting one of the great elementary experiences of the students of Chula Vista.

Posted by chris
Thu, Mar 5th, 2009

Great job Gil. Keep spreading the word about the beautiful game!

Posted by Jena N. Ritchey
Thu, Mar 5th, 2009

Thanks for supporting our teams!

Posted by FRED BAIER
Fri, Mar 6th, 2009


Posted by Stacey Barnum
Thu, Mar 12th, 2009

I have the honor of having Gil in my family! I’m so happy to see his literary skills be recognized. The passion and joy he brings to so many topics is contagious. Such a talent with such a big heart can bring nothing but success!

Posted by Priscilla Sperry
Fri, Mar 13th, 2009

In the three weeks since Dan McLellan's article first appeared, visitors to this website have donated $1600 to the Chula Vista Elementary School District Soccer League. Many have asked where the money is going so here's the answer. Denis Vargas, the League's Director of Referees has trained and certified enough high school age students to cover the games that will be played by the 63 teams in four divisions that make up the largest league of its kind in the country. The young officials will be paid $30/game. In these tough times that money will come in very handy for many households that would gladly have both parents working to keep their heads above the economy. The youngsters have also been taught a profession that they can choose to practice as long as they continue to lead a healthy and active life. As Gil says, "this is a win-win situation." Please contact either:,, or if you'd like to contribute to this worthy cause. 

Posted by S. Floyd
Wed, Mar 18th, 2009

I also bought the book for my son. Thanks Gil, great things happen in the community by great people like you. Sheri Floyd

Posted by Gary Callihan
Thu, Mar 19th, 2009

What a wonderful article about your book Gil, congratulations! I'm looking forward to getting a copy and have my stepson who is a huge soccer fan read it followed, of course, by me. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Fran Watt
Wed, Mar 25th, 2009

I want to take this opportunity to tell you that you are a gifted writer and a gift to mankind. I believe in miracles and I believe that you were in the right place at the right time. The fact that you were asked, and agreed, to coach these children tells me that what you gave by coaching this team was far more than how to win. Your morals, values and integrity are needed today not only for the young ones, but for the parents & community as well. I have never seen a soccer game in my life. I don't know any of the rules or jargon, but due to your writing skills, you took me into the game anyway. Having been married to a coach for 23 years, I fully understand what that is all about. You captured the mechanical and emotional sides of it so well that it put me back up in the bleachers as the coaches "prowled" the sidelines. Your sense of humor is delightful and your new book is now placed among my treasures.

Posted by Marsh Cassady
Tue, Mar 31st, 2009

Great story and good article


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