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Maverick Mania

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176 pages
The disappearance of his soccer team's leading scorer during the championship finals leads sixteen-year-old Matt to investigate and entangles him in a possible kidnapping. If the Mavericks win just a few more games, they'll make it to the national soccer championship. There's only one catch. Their star player, Caleb Riggins, has disappeared. Matt Carr is determined to find his teammate and solve the mystery. He just didn't realize it would involve attack dogs, a mysterious golden bridge, the internet and a family who may not be who they seem. And the big game is only days away.
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Maverick Mania
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Maverick Mania
Sigmund Brouwer
Orca Book Publishers
Copyright © 2008 Sigmund Brouwer
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Brouwer, Sigmund, 1959 Maverick mania / written by Sigmund Brouwer.
(Orca sports) ISBN 9781554690473
I. Title. II. Series.
PS8553.R68467M4 2008 jC813’.54 C20089030230
Summary:The disappearance of his soccer team’s leading scorer during the championship finals leads sixteenyearold Matt to investigate and entangles him in a possible kidnapping.
First published in the United States, 2008 Library of Congress Control Number:2008928554
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover design by Bruce Collins Cover photography by Getty Images Author photo by Bill Bilsley Orca Book Publishers Orca Book Publishers PO Box 5626, Stn. B PO Box 468 Victoria, BC Canada Custer, WA USA V8R 6S4 982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada. Printed on 100% PCW recycled paper.  010 09 08 • 4 3 2 1
c h a p t e r o n e
Fourteen minutes into the îrst half of our soccer game, a big blond-haired woman in-terrupted play. Wearing a loose Nike track-suit, she ran from the stands onto the îeld, screaming and waving her arms above her head. She was being chased by a man with a shaved head who wore a white T-shirt, a red Scottish kilt and hiking boots. And if all that wasn’t bad enough, there was the fact that I knew the man.
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S i g m u n d B r o u w e r
He was my dad. And he was trying to yell something over the woman’s screaming. I sighed, spun around and kicked the ball out-of-bounds to stop the play. It prob-ably wouldn’t have mattered. Nobody on the îeld was thinking soccer anymore, not even the referee. He didn’t even bother to blow his whistle. He just stared at the screaming woman. As for her, she ran like a blind cat with its tail on îre. One of the players from Almont Highour opponentwas a little slow getting out of her way. I think he simply couldn’t believe his eyes. It wasn’t until she hit him with a beefy shoulder that he knew it was for real. She sent him tumbling like a bowling pin. Everyone else suddenly decided it was a good idea to make plenty of room for her. Trouble was, she didn’t run in a straight line. I once saw something like it on a televised rodeo. A bull lumbered around in all direc-tions and ran at the rodeo clowns, who were trying to distract it from the fallen cowboy. 2
M a ve r i c k M a n i a
Just like the bull, this running, screaming woman with ailing arms seemed to aim at the players, who dodged and ducked in different directions so she wouldn’t run them over. And behind her, my dad kept chasing and yelling, with his Scottish kilt apping around his knees. There were about two hundred fans watching this game, and they were on their feet screaming too, so it was hard to hear my dad. The big blond woman in the Nike track-suit stampeded toward my side of the îeld. As she got closer to me, so did my dad. I înally heard what he was yelling. “It’s only Larry!” he shouted. “It’s only Larry! Slow down! It’s only Larry!” She didn’t listen to him. She rumbled past me like a freight train as players wisely scattered. “Hi, Matt,” Dad said, slowing down as he got near me. “Keep up the great work.” “Sure, Dad,” I said. Dad’s left eye was red and puffy. I didn’t get a chance to ask him about it before he picked up speed again. 3
S i g m u n d B r o u w e r
“Uh-oh. Watch out!” he yelled. I followed his eyes. The woman had turned around and was headed right back at us, still screaming and waving her arms. I dove one way. Dad dove another way. She brushed between us and kept on running, arms in the air, high-pitched voice hollering. On my knees, I watched as Dad got up and began to chase her again. “It’s only Larry!” he shouted at her broad back. “It’s only Larry!” I shook my head sadly. This was just another day in the Carr family.
Let me explain my family this way: Dad has a zoo. Mom calls the police at least every ten minutes. My sister surfs in her bedroom. And I’m a sweeper. But I’m the normal one. Sweeper is the position I play on the Thurber High School soccer team here in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The way I explain it to people who don’t know much about soccer is that I’m like a free safety in football. Our team plays a 4-3-3 formation, with four defenders, 4
M a ve r i c k M a n i a
three midîelders and three forwards. I’m the fourth defender, the last guy between the other team and our goalie. Other things about me: I’m sixteen. My brown hair is not too long, not too short. I don’t have a pierced nose or eyebrow or lip. I’m not tall. I’m not short. I wear the kind of clothes that make me look like part of a crowd. I make everybody call me Matt, but my real name is Teague, which is Celtic and means “man of poetry.” Just so you get a picture of what I’ve had to put up with my entire life, there is not a single Celtic person in either my mom’s or my dad’s entire family history; they just liked the name because it was different. I don’t like different. My goal in life, besides playing in the national championship game, is to be normalunlike the rest of my family. Mom is a dispatcher for the local police. She’s the one who takes incoming calls and radios the messages to the ofîcers in their cars. She applied for the job because she has always dreamed of being a detective, and she’s a mystery freak. One entire room 5