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The Keeper: Soccer, Me, and the Law That Changed Women’s Lives

Appearance Date: 10/29/2022

A beautifully illustrated coming-of-age graphic memoir chronicling how sports shaped one young girl’s life and changed women’s history forever. Growing up playing on a top national soccer team in the 1980s, Kelcey Ervick and her teammates didn’t understand the change they represented. In 1987 when Ervick’s team competed at the U.S. Girls National tournament, there was no Women’s World Cup, no women’s soccer at the Olympics, and she’d never heard of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Title IX was enacted with little fanfare in 1972, but to seismic effect; 50 years later, girls’ participation in organized sports has exploded more than 1,000 percent. For Kelcey and her teammates, it meant the world. Braiding together personal narrative, pop culture, literature, and history, The Keeper tells the story of how her adolescence was shaped by this boom. Ervick also explores her role as a goalkeeper—a position marked by outsider status and observation—and reveals it has drawn some of the most famed writers of our time. Gorgeously illustrated, with wit and poignant storytelling, The Keeper brings to life forgotten figures who understood the importance of athletics to help women step into their confidence and power—and push for equality.

Full of 1980s nostalgia and heart, The Keeper is a celebration of how far we have come, and a reminder of how far we have to go, in the 50th anniversary year of Title IX.

Meet the Author

Kelcey Ervick

Kelcey Ervick was a goalkeeper for a nationally ranked soccer team before playing for Xavier University. She is the author of three award winning books, including LILIANE’S BALCONY, which Publisher’s Weekly described in a starred review as “a symphony of histories both real and imagined.” She is co-editor, with Tom Hart, of the forthcoming Field Guide to Graphic Literature. Her stories, comics, and essays have been published in The Rumpus, The Believer, LitHub, and elsewhere. She has received grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities at Indiana University. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and is a professor of English and creative writing at Indiana University South Bend.