All sports require resilience and perseverance. Women's soccer requires more than most. Two U.S. leagues have disappeared in the past decade. Players have put in countless hours of work for limited opportunities.
For this book, veteran women's soccer writer Beau Dure tracked the Washington Spirit through its debut season, from the first league draft to chilly early-season practices and the frustrations of a long winless streak. He watched a young team react to a coaching change, injuries, bus rides that were longer than they should have been, hundreds of autograph-seekers at every game, the occasional stray dog on the practice field, and the challenges of playing at a professional level. He watched as fans grew attached to the players, mourned the losses and eventually cheered the Spirit's success at the end of the season.
Featuring interviews with everyone who played for the Spirit, plus coaches and several people outside the club, the book goes behind the scenes to show the team on the practice field, on the bus and in a team-building exercise. Players talk about their love of the game and what they've done to pursue their dreams -- the travels to isolated spots overseas, the second jobs, and the endless quest for self-improvement.
The Spirit didn't win the league title or make the playoffs. But the team inspired thousands of fans through its first year, and players and fans finished the season already looking forward to the next one. The team restored professional women's soccer to Washington, laying a foundation to make sure the Spirit will endure.
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About the Author
Beau Dure is an alumnus of Duke University and USA TODAY. He lives in Vienna, Va., with his wife, two sons and two dogs. He spend his weekdays at Starbucks and his weekends on soccer fields.