Goal! by Catherine Chambers

Pinpointing the origins of football is rather like scrambling for the ball itself. “It’s MINE! I got here FIRST!” Many claim it, but few can prove it. Kicking a pebble may well have been born in a prehistoric cave; we’ll probably never know for sure. But with regards to a more structured game, there are written histories, archaeological finds and artworks from ancient China and Japan to Egypt, Greece, Rome, Australia and the Americas. As archaeologists work their way around the globe, they’ll probably find that football’s web of roots reaches almost everywhere. and while the games may vary from country to country, city to city, and school to school, the name “football” has been used for centuries, while the name :soccer” is a much more recent invention.

Australians have mostly known football to be the game that uses the Sherrin, features marks and long kicks and has four posts at each end of the playing field. But the world knows football as the game Australians once called soccer. Catherine Chambers suggests that football owes its world popularity to its roots in almost every country. In Goal!she explores the history of football from early documentation to current statistics. And like the global coverage of the World Cup, no country or individual element is forgotten. Discover why a king called the game dangerous, one mayor thought playing it would contribute to the spread of foot and mouth disease and some churches declared playing it a sin! See how the rules evolved to those used today and why umpires are now called referees. ‘Goal!’ includes player profiles and statistics, chapters on female football, politics and money, and many info bites with anecdotes and oddities.

Catherine Chambers also wrote ‘A History of Cricket’ and employs the same engaging conversational style in Goal. She invites the reader to come take a chair and discover why football is the sport for everyman (and woman). From seed-filled cloth balls to the challenges of World Cup qualification, Goal!is jam-packed full of football. There is a list of contents, glossary and extensive index, making navigation easy for the can’t-sit-still, dip-in reader. The progression from ancient to modern times entices sequential reading. There are ball-shaped bios that pass from one to the next featured player. It’s like a ‘choose your own adventure’ for sport. Recommended for upper primary, early secondary readers, and anyone who wants to know more about football with the round ball.


Goal! Catherine Chambers
Black Dog Books 2010
ISBN: 9781742031576

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

A History of Cricket, by Catherine Chambers

Millions of people across the globe play the game and watch it for hours, days or even weeks at a time. They sweat under an Australian December sun, or shiver through cool English summers. Sometimes players run themselves ragged until the sun turns red in the sky. At other times, they hang around the outfield with the starry hope that they will make a match-winning catch.
So what is about this sport that makes it so popular? Why do athletes suffer these agonies and endure these conditions? Well, there is only one answer. Cricket just hast to be the mightiest, most noble game. The pinnacle of all physical, mental and emotional tests.

A History of Cricket is just that. It searches for the origins of the game in Egypt, Germany and India as well in Britain. It finds no definitive answer but introduces many possibilities. Was the game we now know as cricket once called ‘kegeling’ or Gilli-danda? A History of Cricket moves from these speculations to more verifiable facts in Britain and her colonies. The growth of cricket as a national and international sport is not without its setbacks, whether they be urbanisation, or civil war. It is a story of passionate players and advocates, of rules and endless statistics, of tea and tradition. It’s also a story of a game that continues to change in response to changing times and tastes. Cricket can be played anywhere from the backyard to the grandest playing field. Equipment ranges from plastic bats and tennis balls to the finest willow bat, helmets and safety gear. It is team sport, although personalities add colour to the games.

Cricket has enough rules to confound all but the most dedicated follower. And the rules are constantly changing. There are different rules for each form of the game. But it continues to garner support, and excite passion around the world. A History of Cricket looks at some of the reasons why. It speculates on the origin then moves to firmer ground with the facts and figures that only cricket could amass. Game greats are introduced and controversies examined. The birth of women’s cricket is documented, rules are outlined, warm-ups suggested. Rules are discussed, and of course statistics. There is something here for every young cricket fan, and perhaps for the parent who wants to share the passion.

A History of Cricket

A History of Cricket, Catherine Chambers
Black Dog Books 2009
ISBN: 9781742030586

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Goal! How Football Conquered the World, by Catherine Chambers

In 1746, Derby’s Mayor Humphrey Booth banned Shrovetide football, saying it might spread foot-and-mouth disease among the local cattle. Nearly 100 years later in 1846, another mayor who came bounding in on horseback to break up the games was stoned by a screaming mob, and got so angry that he called in the troops. The next year, no-one bothered turning up to play.(p24)

Many countries would like to lay claim to ‘inventing’ football but proof is difficult to establish. It is clear that, worldwide, balls have been kicked since very early times. Balls have been made from rubber, hair, sponge, animal skins, cloth and animal bladders. Football has been called ‘marn-grook’, ‘tsu chu’, ‘kemari’, ‘aqsaqtuk’, ‘episkyros’ and ‘soccer’. Football competitions have waxed and waned in different parts of the world, but always there has been passion. Passion to play, passion to follow. Football has grown into an sport played everywhere from backyards to the grandest stadium. It boasts over 250 million registered players and 30 billion followers. FIFA, the game’s governing body, recognises 207 national teams – more than there are countries in the UN.

Goal! How Football Conquered the World tracks the evolution of football (more commonly called soccer here) from earliest times. It is a history citing archaeological evidence, a collection of statistics and a compilation of anecdotes. There is an extensive index of players, teams and countries. Fans will eat up the statistics as well as the stories and legends that accompany any sport. The style is conversational and the language accessible to most readers. ‘Goal’ is pitched at upper primary – early secondary readers. Though there is a small section detailing the involvement of girls/women in football, the book will have most interest for boys.

Goal! How Football Conquered the World by Catherine Chambers
black dog books 2006
ISBN: 1876372982