Josh and Aidan are very excited about making a travel soccer team, the United. They've both played for years with the Flames, and knew all of those kids well, so it's a bit of an adjustment. The team has a great coach, but still is losing a lot of their games. When the boys have a research project for school, they pick the World Cup to investigate, and their teacher suggests they find out more about the 1999 women's team who went on to win. They find out that the team did a lot of team building exercises. Feeling that anything might help, they ask their coach if it would be okay to try. The boys start with a "stuck on a raft" exercise on a blanket, where the whole team must stand on a blanket and move it a distance, and go on to zip lining with the team. The United ends up working better together, getting along, and finally, winning more games.
Remember, I am always biased in favor of Bowen because he wrote Hardcourt Comeback and used our head cross country coach as a character in it, which was SUCH fun. What I love about Bowen's work is that he ties in the team's action to a historic event, such as the 1999 women's championship team. There's plenty of action, a few interpersonal problems, even scores and rosters, but I like the historical notes at the end. Fans of Matt Christopher adore these.