Tom has always lived for his soccer. He plays in the park with his dad, his dad watches his every school and club match and they never miss a game on TV. One day he knows he’ll play for his dream team, FC Barcelona. But then his dad has to move away. It’s sudden and unexpected and Tom is at home with his mom, her ‘new friend’ Seb and chores are shockingly replacing soccer. If it wasn’t for his friend and neighbour, Lindsay, Tom would probably run away. He starts writing letters to his favourite soccer star of all time, Leonardo And surprisingly Leonardo writes back. Tom’s soccer coach tries to help out but Tom, feeling desperate, does run away. Who will bring him back? Could it be Leonardo, Diego, Harvey, or even the new boyfriend, Seb. Let’s see how this story pans out.
Chapter One – The news is not good
Tom hated his parents fighting. It had gotten so bad lately that as soon as he got home from school and soccer practice he would go straight to his room and close the door. He would peel off his soccer clothes, especially muddy now that it was rainy season, throw his dirty boots into the cupboard, and then jump into a hot shower. He would shower for ages, not because he was so sweaty and dirty, but because the sound of the water drowned out his parents yelling.
‘Maybe they will get a divorce,’ he would think to myself, terrified at the thought of it. The fighting had got especially bad lately and he was worried. How would he ever cope? How would mum cope? And Dad? He was Tom’s whole life and hero. They shared everything together but especially shared a love for soccer. Their soccer club was FC Chiefs, and there wasn’t a single game that they ever missed on television. The captain and striker Leonardo was their hero. Their passion did drive mom a little bit mad although sometimes she joined in with their soccer madness!
After the shower Tom lay on his bed, staring at the pics on his walls. They were all of soccer stars. Gosh, he really wanted to be a star one day If he could keep practicing like he did every single day, then maybe there was a chance. His school coach Harvey believed that he could do it. He and his Dad would sit together, scheming and talking about soccer colleges and potential scholarships. Tom played every single day, before school, after school and even in his bedroom.
Soccer was his dream.
But it was pretty hard now to focus on his dreams with the constant yelling. He was sure he could hear his Mom accusing his Dad of some pretty bad stuff. He didn’t think it could all be true.
‘You’ve got us into this financial mess,’ she was yelling. ‘You should never have quit your job just like that. Now I have to work like crazy while you just take Tom to and from soccer. You don’t leave a job without having another one, what where you thinking?’
‘The job was really bad Mally. I didn’t leave, you know that, they forced me to to quit. I’ll find another job, I’m out there looking. And yes, I love Tom’s soccer and I’ll watch every game if I can, but I am looking for more work. I know how hard it’s been for you..’
‘You don’t care about anyone except yourself,’ Mally was screaming at him.
Tom pulled the covers over his head. His mother could be extreme and he knew his Dad was trying to find work; it wasn’t easy for him. Tom didn’t like it that mom had to work so hard. And he knew that his Dad was doing his best to find work, he was sure of that.
Tom felt a bit bad for loving that his Dad had all this time to play soccer with him. They would play every single day together, practicing skills. His dad took him to club soccer and school soccer and he never missed a match.
Tom had to get away from this noise; it made him feel bad. He got off his bed, left the room and quietly shut the door. He tiptoed downstairs. He could see his parents out of the corner of his eye, in the kitchen, still yelling. They had no idea he could hear. They also didn’t seem to care. Tom went outside and jumped the fence to next door. Of course he was agile, that was from his soccer!
Once he was across the fence he picked up a stone and aimed it at Lindsay’s window. He knew her parents didn’t let her go out in the evenings, also that she was supposed to be studying for exams.
Lindsay came straight to the window.
‘What is going on?’ she asked. ‘I can hear your parents from here, this seems much worse than usual. I am so sorry, it’s just horrible for you.’
‘Yeah. I had to get away. Hang on, I’m coming up…’
Tom really was agile. He climbed his way up the ivy, using the gutters as steps. Lindsay let him in.
‘Shhhh,’ she said. ‘’If my parents hear you, you’re out quicker than one of Ronaldo’s goals..’
Tom laughed. Lindsay also loved soccer. She was the perfect neighbour. They could hear Tom’s parents still shouting and arguing in the distance. Lindsay put on some music. In the same way Tom was passionate about soccer, Lindsay was passionate about Justin Bieber. The two of them hung out for a while. Once the arguing ended, Lindsay gently suggested that Tom go back home.
‘Your parents probably need you around right now. Go home. And if I don’t study my maths my mom will kill me!”
Tom slid down the ivy and went back home. His parents were waiting for him in the lounge. But it was not to welcome him back with a hot meal or some good news.
‘I’m so sorry Son,’ his dad said. ‘We won’t be watching the game tonight. I have to leave for a while. It’s a hard time for your mom, well, your mom and I have some things to sort out . I’m going to give her some space and move out for a few days. But I’ll come to every one of your games this next week and we will catch up then.’
Tom sat, stunned. His dad was leaving? It had really come to this. He suddenly couldn’t stand up. And he certainly didn’t feel like watching tonight’s game on his own. Even if Leonardo was playing.