Magazine / People

Children’s book series explores the world through soccer

"Soccer World" book coverDavid Rosenberg thinks soccer can connect the world.

“It’s a universal language in a way,” he says. “You can bring a ball to a field anywhere in the world and you can connect.”

That’s the message Rosenberg (BA mass communications and psychology ’78) and co-author Ethan Zohn relay in their Soccer World books, a series aimed at 7- to 10-year-olds that explores soccer in different countries. Soccer World: South Africa — Explore the World Through Soccer and Soccer World: Mexico were published in April 2010; Spain will be released this
April. Three more titles are on tap.

Each book explores different aspects of its corresponding country, Rosenberg says. South Africa is described as the “rainbow country”; the Mexico edition spotlights environmental issues; and the book on Spain celebrates the area’s “enjoy life” mantra.

“The books mean a lot to me because the process of writing them with [Zohn] meant a lot,” he says.

Rosenberg was a staff writer for the children’s TV series “Rugrats” when he met Zohn, a former professional soccer player and reality TV star who won the third season of “Survivor.” Zohn used his million-dollar prize to start Grassroot Soccer, a program that uses soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. After hearing about a literacy project through the organization, Rosenberg contacted Zohn about donating “Rugrats” scripts to the cause.

Shortly thereafter, a book idea was born.

For Rosenberg, publishing his first book at age 55 is just more proof that he’s a self-described “poster child for perseverance.” After graduating from DU in 1978, Rosenberg moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He held a series of odd jobs before selling his first TV script to a Nickelodeon show called “On the Television” when he was 39. Around that same time, he also sold a freelance script to the NBC series “Empty Nest.”

“I wrote a spec script to show that I could write for a show and really nail it,” he says. “I had a really slow climb up the mountain.”

Three years after selling his first script, Rosenberg jokes that he became “the oldest living staffer” for another Nickelodeon series, “Rugrats.” He since has written for “The Wild Thornberrys,” “Rocket Power” and most recently, “90210.”

“It was really about staying the course,” Rosenberg says of living out his dreams. “I’ve been all over the place, and it makes me happy.”

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