Goof-Off Goalie

Goof-Off Goalie

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Goof-Off Goalie by Betty Hicks, Adam McCauley

SOCCER DREAMS AND PLENTY OF ACTION this second book in the Gym Shorts series scores high with new readers.

There's nothing Goose wants more than to play goalie for his soccer team. It looks like such fun – and so easy! – on TV. But to say Goose has a little trouble focusing is a bit of an understatement. Luckily, his friend Henry agrees to train him. Just as Goose starts to improve, Henry gets grounded for slipping grades. Can Goose make it to goalie? Can he help Henry who has helped him so much already?

Goof-Off Goalie is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596432444
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: 05/27/2008
Series: Gym Shorts Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 64
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 280L (what's this?)
Age Range: 7 - 10 Years

About the Author

Betty Hicks is the author of this season's Basketball Bats (see page 16) and several sports novels for older readers, including Busted! (see page 28) and I Smell Like Ham . She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Adam McCauley is the illustrator of this season's Basketball Bats (see page 16). He lives in San Francisco, California.

Read an Excerpt

Goof-off Goalie

By Betty Hicks, Adam McCauley

Roaring Brooks Press

Copyright © 2008 Betty Hicks
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59643-244-4



Goose made the wish on his birthday.

He closed his eyes. He blew out ten candles. And he wished that Alex Winkler would vanish.

One week later, Alex did.


Just like that. Poof.

He was gone.

Alex and his whole family packed up and moved to Vermont.

Goose was excited. Because that meant Alex couldn't be the goalie on Goose's soccer team anymore.

Goose wanted to be goalie.

He loved being on a soccer team, but he hated all that running. Goalies didn't run as much. They got to stand still a lot. And dive into the dirt.

But Goose felt guilty. He had made something strange happen. After all, Alex was in Vermont.

Goose asked his friend Henry, "Do you think I might be a wizard?"

Henry sat on Goose's front steps, rolling a soccer ball from one foot to the other. "No," said Henry. "Why?"

"Because I wished Alex Winkler gone."

"You did?"

"Yeah. I wished it on my birthday cake."

"That was awesome cake."


Goose pictured his birthday cake. Chocolate with Tootsie Pops stuck all over it. Goose loved Tootsie Pops.

He pulled an orange one out of his pocket and popped it into his mouth.

"On my birthday," said Henry, "I wished I was the greatest soccer player on earth."

Goose grinned his famous goofball grin. "Didn't come true, did it?"

"No," said Henry. "But next year you can wish that I'm the greatest soccer player on earth. Then, if it happens, we'll know you're a wizard."

"You're crazy," said Goose. "I'm not wasting my wish on you." He swirled the Tootsie Pop on his tongue.

"Do you think coach will let me be the new goalie?"

Henry didn't answer. He seemed to be thinking.

Goose flung his arms wide open. "Look at me," he exclaimed. "I'm tall. My arms are long. I can fill up more goal space than anybody."

Henry still didn't say anything.

"And," Goose added, "I would never get bummed if guys blamed me for losing. You know me." Goose blew a giant spit bubble. Then he stuck the Tootsie Pop back in his mouth. "I don't care what people think."

Henry nodded. He picked up the soccer ball and held it. "I don't think Coach will go for it."

Goose blipped the Tootsie Pop out of his mouth. "Why not?"

"You goof off," said Henry.

"I do not!" cried Goose.

"Coach thinks so," said Henry. "He says you don't focus."

"I do too," Goose argued. But he knew it was true. Sometimes he spaced out. He didn't mean to. It just happened.

"Besides," said Henry, "you've never even played goalie."

"But I can," said Goose. "I know I can. I watched the World Cup on TV. All the moves. I can do them."

"Yeah? Show me." Henry kicked the ball straight at Goose.

Goose dove for it. He landed in a boxwood bush. He never touched the ball.

"Goose?" said Henry.


"You need a better plan."



The next day, Goose arrived at soccer practice early. He went straight to Coach's office. He stuck his head in the door. "Coach?"

"Yeah?" Coach raised his head from the papers he was grading.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," said Coach.

Goose stood in the doorway. He pulled on each of his fingers. He jerked his head one way. Then he jerked it the other way.

"Is anything wrong?" asked Coach.

"No," said Goose. He twitched one shoulder.

Goose wanted to be the new goalie, but he didn't know how to ask. He couldn't just say, "Can I be the new goalie?" That might sound like he thought he was hot stuff.

Coach hated kids who thought they were hot stuff.

"Can I be the new goalie?" Goose blurted.

Man. He'd blown it already.

Coach raised his eyebrows. The look on his face said, Goalie? You? Are you kidding me?

But all Coach said was, "Well ... Goose. You know Marcus is our back-up goalie. He already knows how to play the position." Coach rubbed the back of his neck. "Of course," he added, "you're welcome to try out."

"Great!" shouted Goose.

Coach shifted in his chair. "Uh, Goose ..."

"Yes, sir?"

"It's hard to play goalie."

"Yes, sir. I know."

"You have to be quick."

"I'm quick." Goose nodded eagerly.

"You can't blame yourself for losses," said Coach.

"I never blame myself," said Goose.

Coach laughed. Then his face got serious again. "Goose," he said, "you have to focus."

"I focus."

Coach looked at him. He started to say something. But he stopped. He rubbed his neck some more. Then he pushed his chair back from his desk. He stood up and said, "Sure, Goose, let's see what you can do."

Goose ran all the way to the field. It was the fastest he'd ever run in his whole life.

Coach got there a week later. Maybe it was only three minutes. But it seemed like a week.

Goose stood in front of the goal. Feet apart. Arms out. Ready for anything.

Coach kicked the ball to his left.

Goose dove for it. He stretched his body straight out into the air — just like he'd seen the pros do.

He landed face-first. His mouth full of dirt.

The ball landed in the back of the net.

Goose touched his front teeth to see if they were still there. They were.

He wiped blood off his chin. He spit out a pebble.

"No, Goose, no," said Coach. "You were too close to the goal. Move out. Narrow the angle. Are you okay?"

"Yeah," said Goose. But he didn't feel okay. He felt stupider than dance lessons. Half his team had arrived for practice. They were all watching.

"I'll say one thing," said Coach. He shook his head and laughed softly. "You've got guts."

"Thanks!" said Goose. He hopped to his feet.

"But you don't have to knock all your teeth out. There are safer ways to land, you know."

Goose didn't know.

"And easier ways to stop most shots," said Coach. He walked over and patted Goose on the back. As if he were a puppy. A puppy that could never learn anything. One that would pee on the rug forever.

Goose sneaked a look at his teammates. Most of them were laughing.

Goose smiled his famous goofball grin.

Because he didn't know what else to do.

Besides, he didn't care what they thought.

He'd show them.


Excerpted from Goof-off Goalie by Betty Hicks, Adam McCauley. Copyright © 2008 Betty Hicks. Excerpted by permission of Roaring Brooks Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


1. A Wizard?,
2. Hot Stuff,
3. The Wrong Wish,
4. Soccer Every Second,
5. A Problem,
6. Bring Band-aids,
7. Scabs,
8. A Better Reason,
9. Helping Henry,
10. Steak Knives,
11. Focus!,
12. A New Wish,

Reading Group Guide

One of the best ways to explore the themes of a books—the author's "messages"—and to enjoy a book is to discuss it with others who have read the book. Organize a weekly GYM SHORTS book group in your classroom. Any student can participate, as long as they've read at least one of the books in the series.

Provide the group with a list of possible discussion questions, and allow one of the students to lead the discussion. We've prepared this list of discussion topics so that the week's discussion leader can select those she or he wants to discuss and use them as is.

1. Cooperation or team-work (since the books are sports centered) is a major theme of the novels. Introduce the subject of cooperation by citing an example of how the kids in the books cooperate. A good place to start is to identify the goal in one of the books. Then ask: What did the kids do together to reach the goal? Have any of your classmates read other books, seen any movies or television shows, or heard a real-life story about how cooperation helped achieve a purpose? Can any of them talk about a personal experience with cooperation that made a job easier to accomplish?

2. Competition is another theme in the GYM SHORTS books. Betty Hicks tells us how she feels about this subject: "Win or lose, I think competition should be fun, fair, and exciting. It helps young people learn how to be part of a team and how to handle victory as well as defeat—all things which come in handy in many areas besides sports." With this in mind, talk about competition and winning. How do you and your classmates feel about it in the sports you play yourselves? How about the sports you watch? Are you true to your teams whether they are on a winning streak or losing?

3. Another theme in the books is that success/winning is never guaranteed, but it's a sure thing that you can't succeed unless you work hard and try. Which characters learn this lesson in which books? Have your classmates ever tried really hard, but still didn't succeed to the level they hoped? Talk about the way the characters in the book feel and react to this? How did the kids in your class react to this in their own lives?

4. Another important theme in the GYM SHORTS titles is being true to yourself. Friends are important—in your life and your classmates' lives, and in the lives of the characters in the books. But it is even more important for each person to understand who he or she is, and to be the best person possible. Certainly, Rita learns this lesson in Swimming with Sharks. Sometimes you can't just fit in with everyone else—but that doesn't mean you all can't be friends. What experiences have your classmates had that showed them the truth of this lesson?

5. Friendship is the most important theme of all in the GYM SHORTS books. Talk about the kinds of friends your classmates have and the kind of friend each of them is. Kids often say, "I'll do anything for my best friend." Do your classmates agree? Would you lie for your best friend? What are the most important qualities of a friend?

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Goof-off Goalie 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A she cat walked along the sandy floor and stared at the cats sleeping. Her eyes were like kaleidoscopes, shifting colors and light. Her fur constantly changed colors and images formed on her fur. Changing, always changing. Her scent shifted as well: one heartbeat the salty smell of the ocean, then the dry hot smell of the desert. Another she cat walked up to her. Her fur changed from dark violet to black from time to time. Her eyes were solid purple- no whites or pupils. This cat radiated loss and sadness. She spoke to the changing cat. "Dream, do not be sorrowful. I cannot placate you, as I am only the whisperer of sorrow:the blackest thought-bringer. But I am your friend." The other, Dream, hissed angrily. "But Sorrowwhisper, these cats take me for granted. I allow them to have peaceful dreams while I fight off Nightmare. They are ungrateful. Why shouldn't I be?" Sorrowwhisper sighed. "I have only one solution- let Nightmare take over for a bit. Then they will truly see what you do for them." Dream nodded and the two cats vanished into the night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Screams, "IMPOSTER!!!!!!" Leaps and mercellesly claws the cat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*drops the herbs, startled* Icefire is okay. Shes probably busy in rl. She'll be able to walk again in about 2-3 moons. ~Runningstream
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crowpaw dont worry im here. Are you still sick