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Mercer Islander’s book celebrates soccer culture in Seattle
Writing books is not exactly a new venture for longtime author Clare Hodgson Meeker. The Island resident has published several books, but her most recent is one that touches the community of soccer in Seattle.
Meeker’s latest piece of fiction is called “Soccer Dreams: Playing the Seattle Sounders FC Way.” It is a fictional story of a boy learning about teamwork and soccer.
Meeker said the book was inspired by another project she did with a sports community, only in San Diego instead of Seattle. She said about two years ago she wrote a fictional story about football commissioned by the San Diego Chargers team, which was then taken out and given to the community and read by the players to various groups.
“It turned out wonderful, and I really enjoyed learning about football,” said Meeker. She said after coming home she wanted to find a way to do something similar in Seattle, and after seeing how quickly the Sounders took root, she felt it was a natural fit.
“The Sounders are such an interesting team. They became hugely popular, and I was curious how a team could do so well in their first year with players from all over the world,” she said. “That really takes teamwork and that was what I wanted to focus on. How do you build a team, and what goes into it.”
The book, while aimed at kids ages 7 to 12, is really for readers of all ages, Meeker said. But specifically she wanted to write for kids in the third to sixth grade range who are just starting to play sports and learning about all the aspects of those teams.
“I liked the idea of teamwork, not just what it takes to win, but winning in that they are enjoying themselves on the field and as a team,” said the author. The process took about a year and a half, but only eight months for the writing and research. She said a large part of the book taking as long as it did was working through the Major League Soccer (MLS) system and learning how the organization does things.
Meeker said it took some working through red tape, but once she was through, the players and management were great.
“The players could not have been nicer,” she said of their interviews. The book features tips and thoughts from many members of the Sounders team. “They were very enthusiastic and it got them thinking about their childhood. They were very forthcoming.”
As a longtime soccer fan, but never someone who has played the game, Meeker said she learned a great deal while writing and talking to the players.
“I learned a lot in the process,” she said.
While nothing is currently in the works to get the book out into the community as was done in San Diego, Meeker certainly hopes there will be opportunities. She said programs like Seattle Scores, an after-school program that brings together athletics with writing, would be a great match.
“The Sounders are hugely involved in the community, and I think it would be a perfect marriage,” she said.
This latest project for Meeker was also an adventure in learning about self-publishing, another first for the author. She said the project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Island Books owner Roger Page.
“He was an advisor and mentor,” she said. “He was so helpful; he’s a treasure.”
Last weekend Meeker and Seattle Sounders Patrick Ianni discussed and signed the book at Elliot Bay Books. Meeker said a local launch party on Mercer Island is in the works.