Book 5 in the Football Academy series.
James is a brilliant central defender. The best player at United and he has a great pedigree: his dad used to play for England. When the team go to play West Ham United, his dad’s ex-club, everyone is telling James he is going to be an England player too.
But James doesn’t want to be a footballer. He wants to be something else. And before he tells that to his dad, he has to admit it to himself.
Read the first chapter of Free Kick here.
Watch me read from Free Kick and ask quiz questions here.
Find out more about the other books in the Football Academy series here.
Published by Puffin Books.
Name: James Cunningham
Position: central defender
Best friend on team: Ben
Interview with Tom Palmer about writing Free Kick
How can James not want to be a professional footballer?
I’m not sure. If I’d had that chance I’d have given up anything to be a footballer.
So is it realistic to make up a story like that?
I think so. I sometimes try to write about people who would do and think things very different to me. It’s not easy. That’s why I always try to find things about people before I write. I knew a person who had a friend who gave up football. I spoke to him. To see how he felt. That helped me to make James’ character more real. I hope.
Do you ever make up characters based on real people?
All the time. I use names of people I know all the time. In fact, on page 106 of Free Kick there’s a man called Jim in the story. A West Ham fan. He is based on my friend, Jim Sells, who works for the National Literacy Trust. He loves to play guitar, so I gave him a guitar in the book too.
Reviews of Free Kick
“I got all these books this summer. Now this is the latest one. It is really good. James’s dad is a former pro footballer. James plays for United and he doesn’t want to be a footballer any more. Its about how he tells his dad.” A kid’s review, Amazon
Tell me here what you thought about Free Kick.
Football Academy 5: Free Kick Amazon
Submit your review
Free Kick is a wonderful book. I love the tournament. It is my favourite out of all of them.
We found this series whilst searching for books for our 9 year old son. He is football mad but absolutely hates reading. These books have made a huge difference to us. Now he can’t wait to do his 30 mins reading each evening and often reads independently. The stories have strong role models and characters that engage the reader.Each gives sound advice and tackle childrens concerns.These books have really contributed to an improvement in our sons learning.
James was a really good character in the book