Soccer Trophy Mystery: Interview with Author Fred Bowen

“Soccer Trophy Mystery” is a new chapter book by author and kid’s sports journalist Fred Bowen.

“Soccer Trophy Mystery” is a new book by author and kid’s sports journalist Fred Bowen. This story is the latest in the popular middle grade Fred Bowen Sports Story Series. This book focuses on thirteen-year-old twins named Aiden and Ava and their good friend Daniel. All of the children are avid soccer players and, when they learn that their county league soccer trophy mysteriously disappeared from the town library forty years ago never to be recovered, they set out to solve the case…while also trying to make it to the championships. It will be released on September 1, 2021.

Fred Bowen weaves exciting play-by-play sports action with real sports history, including a chapter in the back of the book of “The Real Story” behind the disappearance of the original World Cup trophy that was never recovered. The bestselling series now contains 24 books and close to a million copies sold. Fred recently discussed this series via an interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for writing?

Fred Bowen (FB): I think I “discovered” my love for writing because I got noticed for writing things. In my sophomore year of high school, I wrote a short story for an assignment in English class. My teacher (Mr. Curran) liked it so much he had me read it to the class. Several kids, including a girl named Karen Howells, said they liked it. Later, I won an essay contest with a local newspaper and wrote for the school newspaper and the Yearbook. The essay and an interview with me and the other winners were featured in the local newspaper. Again, I was getting noticed for writing. In college, I kept in touch with friends by writing letters.  I would tell stories in the letters, and everybody (including some girls) seemed to like the stories.  So, I would say I discovered my love for writing because it was something I did well and got me attention.

MM: Why did you gravitate into writing books for kids and why does soccer feature so prominently?

FB: I began writing books for kids because I was reading kids sports books to my son when he was about six or seven and didn’t think the books were very good. I thought … I could write a better book than this.  And so, I did! I also was coaching my son and daughter’s baseball, basketball and soccer teams and could see how important sports were to them and their friends.  In addition, I could see all the possible characters and themes for my books in their seasons and games. As for soccer, I am not sure the sport features that prominently in my books. My latest book is Soccer Trophy Mystery and is my fourth soccer book. I now have twenty-six books in all – ten baseball, seven basketball and five football titles. Still, I enjoy soccer and think that any kid who likes soccer or mysteries will enjoy Soccer Team Mystery.

MM: What’s your favorite book in the series—and aspect of the series—and why?

FB: That’s a hard question to answer.  I am proud of all the books, and I am particularly proud of the consistent quality of the stories. A few years ago, I received three fan letters on the same day.  They were from kids from three different parts of the country telling me they loved one of my books.  What was interesting to me was they were writing about three different books.  It seems my readers enjoy all the books and not just one or two. The aspect of the series I like the best is the history chapter at the end of all the Fred Bowen Sports Story series books.  I put the chapter of sports history in the books because I want to teach my readers something about the history of the sports they love.  I hope this brush with sports history will get them interested in the subject of history in general.

SoccerMM: What other topics and themes might you like to address in future books, especially those geared towards children?

FB: I recently signed a three-book contract with Peachtree Publishers to write three more Fred Bowen Sports Story series books. A basketball book for 2023, a baseball book for 2024 and a football book for 2025. I am writing the basketball book. The story is about a kid who wants to be a starter like his older brother but is stuck on the bench. The history for the story will be the great players who have been the “sixth man” on their teams. I am not sure what the other books will be about, but I have a picture of a college baseball championship game that I saved from a 2009 Sports Illustrated.  It shows a pitcher who had pitched 11 1/3rd innings of a 3-2 game walking off the mound in defeat as the other team celebrates in the background. I saved the picture because I always wanted to write a book about that picture.  Maybe it is time I do.

MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

FB: My latest Fred Bowen Sports Story series book is being published in September 2021.  It is called Soccer Trophy Mystery.  And, as I indicated above, I will be writing three more series books in the coming years. I also have a history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) that will be published in January 2022 with Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.  The book is called – Hardcourt: Stories From 75 Years of the National Basketball Association.  It is illustrated by the fabulous James E. Ransome. James and I teamed up for another book that was published in 2020 called Gridiron: Stories From 100 Years of the National Football League.  I would love to do more sports history books with James.

One more thing.  I am still writing my weekly kids’ sports column for the KidsPost page of The Washington Post.  I have written the column since April 2000.  That means I have written more than 1000 columns!  But I don’t see myself running out of things to say because there is always something happening in the world of sports.


To learn more, visit the official website and Twitter of Fred Bowen. To learn more about his books, visit the official Peachtree Publishing website.