Eyes on the Goal [NOOK Book]


Just before they're due to start middle school, Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego, four sports-loving friends, all attend the same weeklong soccer camp. Diego is an experienced soccer player, and Gig has a natural ability for the sport he never realized. But Jackson and Isaac are split into another group of players--a group with younger, smaller kids. For the first time, both boys aren't the stars of their team. In fact, they can't seem to get a handle on soccer. At the same time, Jackson is having a hard time ...

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Eyes on the Goal

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Just before they're due to start middle school, Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego, four sports-loving friends, all attend the same weeklong soccer camp. Diego is an experienced soccer player, and Gig has a natural ability for the sport he never realized. But Jackson and Isaac are split into another group of players--a group with younger, smaller kids. For the first time, both boys aren't the stars of their team. In fact, they can't seem to get a handle on soccer. At the same time, Jackson is having a hard time getting a handle on his mom's deepening relationship with her boyfriend, and her suggestion that they move in with him. And Gig is worried about his father's deployment to Afghanistan.

Here is a story about how life, like sports, can be unpredictable, frustrating, and exhilarating.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
School's out, fifth grade is over and best friends Jackson, Gig, Isaac and Diego are off to soccer camp. In this second of a four-book, four-sport series, following Top of the Order (2009), Coy offers another successful story of sports and friends, which, like all good sports stories, transcends sports to represent a slice of real life. Jackson wonders about his life now that his mother has a new boyfriend, Gig worries about his father's deployment to Afghanistan and suddenly the boys are noticing girls. At camp, the difficulties provoked when Diego and Gig are placed in a more advanced level are balanced against the boys' efforts to investigate some possible ghosts. The author captures the fifth graders' sensibility, language and loyalty to each other through Jackson's direct, present-tense narration, and short, simple sentences, lots of dialogue and plenty of soccer action make this a sure hit with young sports fans. A solid, simply told sports story for readers not yet ready for John Feinstein, Mike Lupica and Robert Lipsyte. (Fiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher
Praise for John Coy and Top of the Order:


“Appealing characters and plenty of baseball action will make this a hit with young sports fans.” —Kirkus Reviews


“Coy effortlessly captures the voices of boys on the verge of adolescence. Jackson and his friends are fully developed.” —School Library Journal


“Appealing and true to life.” —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Paula Rohrlick
Jackson and his friends Gig, Isaac, and Diego head off to soccer camp together for a week during the summer after fifth grade. All the boys love sports, but only Diego really loves soccer, though Gig turns out to have a talent for the game. Jackson and Isaac find themselves struggling to master the sport, and they are placed with a younger age group, to their annoyance. Jackson, the narrator, is used to being a star (he was introduced in Top of the Order, first in this "4 for 4" series, which focused on the same boys playing baseball), and now he is annoyed to find himself making mistakes over and over again on the field: he cannot get out of the habit of using his hands. He is also trying to cope with his mother's new boyfriend, who has just invited them to come live in his house. Gig, meanwhile, is dealing with his father's impending deployment to Afghanistan. Not all is gloomy, however, as Jackson develops a crush on Diego's pretty soccer-playing cousin, and the boys sneak out of the dorms at night to investigate what appear to be ghosts down by the lake. In the end, Jackson finds satisfaction in being a soccer goalie, and the four boys team up for a final, triumphant championship match. Coy knows sports and he knows boys, and this soccer title, with its dramatic, stylized cover featuring a close-up of a boy booting a ball, will attract sports fans. The boys' concerns and emotions are honestly and realistically presented, as is their dialog, and of course there is lots of soccer field action. It is not necessary to have read Top of the Order to appreciate Eyes on the Goal, and this swift read will have lots of appeal for reluctant readers as well as soccer fans. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Jackson Kennedy has finished fifth grade, along with Diego, Gig, and Isaac. Diego, an experienced player, has convinced them all to attend a weeklong summer soccer camp at a local college. Initially, the boys are put on separate teams, because Jackson and Isaac are new to the sport. After enjoyable episodes with an alleged ghost and some girl interest, the four work together when Diego convinces a counselor to let them all play as a team for the final tournament. These friends exhibit a good sense of humor along with authentic-sounding complaints and bickering about playing and learning new skills. Personalities are further developed as Jackson finds his niche as a goalie and Diego exhibits humility as well as problem-solving talents on the field. Coy has created a story of just the right length to keep his fans engaged. It is not necessary to have read Top of the Order (Feiwel & Friends, 2009) to appreciate this one. Hints of fall football in middle school indicate that a third book is to follow.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429935777
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Series: 4 for 4 , #2
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 486,055
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 204 KB

Meet the Author

John Coy is the aware-winning author of picture books (including Night Driving, illustrated by Peter McCarty), young adult novels, and the 4 for 4 middle-grade series. He live in Minneapolis and travels to schools nationaly and internationally.

John Coy has written several books for children, including Top of the Order and Love of the Game. He spends much of his time as a writer-in-residence at elementary schools. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Read an Excerpt

I run up to midfield when the ball goes down to the other end and try to act like I know what I’m doing. I thought the purpose of soccer camp was to teach you to be a better player, not just run up and down the field in games…. In baseball, basketball, and football, I’ve always been pretty good. I never paid much attention to the kids who weren’t. Now I’m one of those. A spinning ball comes my way. It takes an awkward bounce and is about to go over my shoulder. Instinctively, I stick my hand out to stop it. “Hand ball. Hand ball,” everybody yells at once. “You can’t use your hand,” one of the little guys scowls at me. I turn away. Like I don’t know that. I walk over by Isaac as the other team lines up for a free kick. A mosquito buzzes my ear, and I wave it away. “I hate playing defense,” I say. “It feels like everything is coming at me way too fast.”
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Every time Jackson sees them, he thinks Heather and Haley are quiet and overdressed. However, he’s surprised to hear about Heather’s wilderness canoe camp. How has he misjudged her? How has he misjudged other characters? How willing is he to admit when he’s wrong about someone?

2. Different father figures, including Jackson’s dad, G‐Man, Gig’s dad, and Ted, interact with Jackson in both Eyes on the Goal and Top of the Order. How does Jackson feel about all of them? Which ones does he look up to and which ones does he doubt? Do you think he is fair to all of them? What lessons, if any, do they teach Jackson?

3. How do Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego deal with having to split up to play on different teams? What conflicts does their separation create? Are any of them jealous of each other? Do they learn anything from having to spend time teaming up with new people and seeing each other as opponents?

4. "In baseball, basketball, and football, I’ve always been pretty good. I never paid much attention to the kids who weren’t. Now I’m one of them." (p. 63)

How does this change the way Jackson sees himself or others? Have you ever felt like Jackson feels when he plays at soccer camp? How does feeling like a pro or feeling unskilled at an activity change how you interact with others who may be better or worse than you are?

5. "When it comes to soccer, I don’t know what I want." (p. 78)

How does Jackson learn how to keep his eyes on the goal and focus on what he wants in soccer? In life? Do you ever feel like you don’t know what you want? How do you find goals to focus on?

6. "They think only ‘real’ soccer players should score. So now they freeze me out." (p. 104) Why don’t Gig’s teammates consider him a ‘real’ soccer player? What consequences will excluding Gig have on his team? What should Gig do to deal with the situation?

7. How does Jackson apply his baseball skills to soccer? Why won’t the coach let him play goalie at first? How does he prove himself?

8. When Jackson’s team ties the score during their last game, why do they see it as a victory? Have you ever had the experience of a tie feeling like a victory? A loss?

9. How have the Cobras changed or improved throughout the week? What do you think was the main reason?

10. How has Jackson changed during camp? What has he learned? Have you ever been to a camp like the one the boys go to? Would you like to be at a camp like this with friends?

Overarching Questions and Activities

4 for 4 Series

by John Coy

Top of the Order: 978‐0‐312‐37329‐0

Eyes on the Goal: 978‐0‐312‐37330‐6

Love of the Game: 978‐0‐312‐37331‐3

Take Your Best Shot: 978‐0‐312‐37332‐0

Grade Range: 3‐7 grade; Age Range: 8‐12 years

Discussion Questions

1. "I don’t notice day‐to‐day changes, but when I think back to fifth grade, a lot has changed."(Take Your Best Shot p. 125)

The 4 for 4 series covers seven months, from May of the boys’ fifth grade year to November of their sixth grade year. How have Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego changed between Top of the Order and Take Your Best Shot? What specific events in each book changed them or taught them something? Who do you think has changed the most?

Think back to seven months ago. How have you changed since then? What have you learned? What events in your life have caused you to change? Have you changed as much as Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego have?

2. "You have to know what you want. Otherwise, he’ll decide for you. . . He’ll push, but if you stand your ground with him, he’ll respect your decision." (Top of the Order p. 56)

The four boys sometimes clash with authority figures like parents, teachers, and coaches, but at times they have to stand up for what they believe in or what is right for them. When do they admit that they were wrong, and admit that adults were right? When do they stand up for themselves because they know what they want? How do their decisions change them and help them grow?

3. How do Jackson’s first impressions of people change after he gets to know them? Does he ever misjudge people, and think a person is different from how he or she actually is? Why? How does he discover what they’re really like?

For example, why is Jackson surprised when Ted comes through for him? (Love of the Game p. 151‐152)

4. "Right now my best chance to start is switching to defense. I don’t care what Gig and Isaac think. I’ve got to do what’s best for me." (Love of the Game p. 77)

Throughout the books, Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego talk a lot about how important it is for them to stick together. However, they sometimes realize that they need to make decisions on their own, even if their friends disagree. How do they each learn to make decisions independently? What do they each decide to do that the others don’t approve of?

5. Do each of the boys have a different sport that they’re best at and enjoy the most? Which sport is it for each character? Do you have a favorite sport? Is it the same as the one you are best at?

6. What are their different strengths and weaknesses of each of the characters, in sports and in life? Do you find that some of the things that you are strong with in sports are also things that you’re strong with in other areas of your life? Do some of the things you struggle with show up in other areas. Or is there a difference between success in sports and success in other areas of life?

7. What new challenges do you think will face the boys during the rest of the school year? The rest of middle school? How do you think baseball will go for them in sixth grade? Will Sydney come out for the team?

8. Which of the characters do you relate to the most? Why? Do the other characters remind you of people you know? Do you think you and some of the people you know would make good characters in a book?

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Liked first one bettr

    It was ok

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012


    Scder fun

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    Posted February 28, 2011

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    Posted April 27, 2011

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