Ryan's United ISBN: 9780192751201
Published by O.U.P., 2001
Ryan is a good at football. He is also a bit of a no-hoper. Passed from children's home to foster parents, back to a home again, he has fights and is difficult and rude. At ten, when his football talent is discovered, he is being fostered by a new couple, and everything seems to be going well. Then foster dad gets a new job, and a move to a new school proves disasterous. Social Services sends him back to his old town up north, where he is again fostered. When he meets two families of football-mad kids - youngsters who love the game, but can't play well - he becomes their coach and takes responsibility for them. In doing so, he takes responsibility for himself as well. There isn't much in the story about Ryan's relationship with his various foster families; it is more about his self-esteem and his own ability that makes things come right in the end. Football loving children will love the detail - and girls play on this team too! A short novel with black and white drawings.