Jeremy V. Jones' Toward the Goal: The Kaká Story follows the life of famed Brazilian soccer star Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, known to the world as Kaká. The book details some of Kaká's more famous games, as well as explains the decisions he made along his journey from elementary school soccer to professional status. In addition, Jones also explores some of Kaká's role models, dilemmas of faith, and life outside of soccer, in order to better illustrate the whole of the star's life.
The book peers into Kaká's life from every imaginable angle, providing interviews with everyone from players on rival teams to childhood coaches, and even the occasional word from the man himself. It reads similar to most biographies, tracking the star's life, both on the field and off, but also provides a thorough background to the game, so relative newcomers to soccer will not be confused. Jones' own amateur experience in soccer, as well as his thorough knowledge of Christianity, place him in a perfect position to comment and relate to the personal and spiritual aspects of Kaka’s life.
Rather than attempt to compartmentalize Kaká's faith, the book boldly shows its influence in his life and makes no apologies for his open proclamation. As Kaká himself says, “More than anything else, I need Jesus in my life. All my blessings are a gift of grace from him.” One sees throughout the book, no matter how successful, wealthy, or famous he becomes, Kaká is never too proud to reflect the Scriptures: “Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” (Psalm 105:3-4).
That being said, the book itself is nothing new or overly powerful. Whereas Kaká's spiritual life is mentioned from time to time, the book seems far more concerned with detailing who passed to whom, or the life story of other famous players. Seemingly random, long-winded facts and descriptions of games often make the account feel more like an almanac or a game record rather than a biography. Although there is nothing objectionable in the book, neither is there anything that ought to inspire a reading by anyone other than the most dedicated fans of world class soccer. In fact, a 30-second search online will turn up the same information, presented more concisely. So, unless you've got a 12-year-old soccer fanatic at home or a strong hatred of Google, you may want pass on this one. Toward the Goal: The Kaká Story shoots, but doesn't score all that well. – Ryan Dennison, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
“I learned that it is faith that decides whether something will happen or not.” At the age of eight, Kaká already knew what he wanted in life: to play soccer and only soccer. He started playing in front of his friends and family, but when he suffered a crippling injury, doctors told him he would never play again. Through faith and perseverance Kaká recovered, and today he plays in front of thousands of fans every year. As the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and winner of the Ballon d’Or, this midfielder for Real Madrid has become one of the most recognized faces on the soccer field.