Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Clive Toye does Roald Dahl for soccer
by Mike Woitalla, June 8th, 2012 12:47PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

TAGS:  youth boys, youth girls


By Mike Woitalla

Of individuals who have had an extraordinary impact on youth soccer in the USA, Clive Toye ranks very, very high on the list.

Toye brought Pele to the New York Cosmos in 1975. That propelled the North American Soccer League, which the Englishman helped launch in 1967, into U.S. mainstream consciousness and enabled the NASL to ignite the nation’s youth soccer boom.

During all his time of running NASL clubs, the former London journalist, besides signing the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia, sent his players and coaches into grass-roots America to spread the seeds for youth soccer: “Not letting a school go without a visit -- not letting a community miss the chance of a coaching lesson …”

His vision was an America with millions of kids playing soccer and although the NASL, for which he toiled nearly two decades, folded in 1985, the vision became reality.

Fitting then that Toye, who in 2006 wrote the wonderfully informative and entertaining NASL history, “A Kick in the Grass,” has now penned a children’s book: “Toby and The Greatest Game.”

If Roald Dahl had written a soccer book, one imagines it would read like this. The Chocolate Factory is the wonderful world of soccer. The witching hour comes when the young Cameron is doing homework on his computer. Suddenly appears – not a Big Friendly Giant -- but Toby, a magical talking soccer ball.

Toby has to “make sure all the other balls, my helpers, are in place … I am the soccer ball. The rest of them … well, they’re all part of me and I’m part of them.”

So Toby takes Cameron on fantastic journeys through the soccer world, past and present, on all continents. There’s Pele, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Joe Gaetjens, Eusebio, Michelle Akers ... Cameron gets to be a ballboy for Barcelona, witness Brazil’s first game (in 1914), enjoy a World Cup (while tortured by vuvuzelas) …

Young readers will finish the book well-educated on the history of soccer – but fear not that they’ll consider this assigned reading. There’s too much fun – and suspense – as Cameron helps Toby battle for soccer against the Mountain of Greed.

(“Toby and The Greatest Game” by Clive Toye, 2012. IUniverse, 126 pages. $11.95 softcover; E-book $3.95.)

(Mike Woitalla, the executive editor of Soccer America, coaches youth soccer for Bay Oaks/East Bay United SC in Oakland, Calif. He is the co-author, with Tim Mulqueen, of The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper
, and More Than Goals with Claudio Reyna. Woitalla's youth soccer articles are archived at

1 comment
  1. Marc Silverstein
    commented on: September 28, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.
    the book was wonderful and I'd really like to invite Clive to a local author event...can you please forward him my email address?

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Youth Soccer Insider
North Korea claims U-17 Women's World Cup title    
North Korea beat defending champion Japan, 5-4, in a penalty kick shootout in the final to ...
Should you play sports when you're sick?    
We're getting in to that time of year when people start sneezing and coughing all around ...
DiCicco and Dorrance react to USA's U-17 World Cup exit     
On Friday, Japan faces North Korea in the final of the 2016 U-17 Women's World Cup, ...
Watch out corporate America, Here come the Refs!     
A few very advanced refs can earn enough money from refereeing to make it their vocation. ...
Mallory Pugh leads USA's U-20 Women's World Cup squad    
Mallory Pugh, the 18-year-old Colorado product who has already made 17 appearances, with four goals and ...
World Cup ends early for U.S. U-17 girls    
The USA exited in the first round at the 2016 U-17 Women's World Cup with a ...
MLS newcomer already has two teens on the roster    
Atlanta United begins MLS play in 2017, but it made a bit of history by becoming ...
Please, Don't scream at the children    
Within the last few weeks, while coaching and refereeing, I observed a couple of very different ...
Under pressure: U.S. U-17 girls in danger of World Cup elimination     
One reason U.S. Soccer invests so heavily in its youth national team program is to give ...
USA starts U-17 Women's World Cup with a rout     
The USA's quest to win the U-17 Women's World Cup for the first time began with ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives