“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”
When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.
It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.
Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been
5 fantastic stars!
Let me start off by saying that I’ve read this book three times, and each and every time I read it, I’ve enjoyed it more than the previous time I’ve read it.
When I initially read this story a couple of years ago, these there the thoughts that were going through my head.
1) Wow, what an AMAZING story!
2) Why is this author not more well known?
3) Why the hell haven’t I read her work before now?
This story was so well written, and the character development was SO good that you could have sworn that these characters were real.
I loved Sal and Reiner’s characters!
Reiner is a retired soccer legend who has been hired to be the assistant coach for Sal’s women’s professional soccer team.
Sal knows who exactly Reiner is because she’s idolized him since she was a small girl. He was her favourite player. She knows ‘everything’ about his life and career, and he was her inspiration while she was training. She gives him credit for making her one of the best players in the league (possibly the world) because he motivated her to have the discipline to train and stick to a vigorous routine.
… and she’s also had a huge crush on him since she was as a child.
When Reiner finally shows up to coach, he is nothing like the man she’s put on a pedestal.
He’s crude and rude. He has no manners, and instead of sharing his wealth of experience and knowledge, he’s just indifferent with the team… which seems to be worse than anything.
When a situation arises and Sal has to help Reiner, she decides to give this incredibly pompous ass a chance.
Their relationship starts out as a very shaky friendship with lots of trials and tribulations.
It is these trials that they go through together that make this incredible journey from friendship to something more precious, and what makes this story such an amazing read.
What I loved the most about this story was that their relationship slowly built.
It was by far not easy, but then again anything worth fighting for is never easy.
.. and even though there is a 13 year age difference between the two, they are so well matched that the reader doesn’t even notice it until it is mentioned in the story.
This story is not so much about the sport of soccer, but that of two people who have a lot in common. Who find one another, like one another, and start a friendship that is solid and strong, and in the end a beautiful love for one another.
This is probably one of the best stories I’ve read.
I will definitely re-read it.
Kudos Ms Zapata for your amazing story-telling, characters, and writing of this story!