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Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee…
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Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Warren St. John

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5708917,442 (3.87)48
Member:eembooks
Title:Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town
Authors:Warren St. John
Info:Delacorte Books for Young Readers (2012), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Non-Fiction Read
Rating:***1/2
Tags:YA, Refugees, 2012

Work details

Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town by Warren St. John (2009)

  1. 00
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    elbakerone: Both these books tell powerful and inspirational stories about women making drastic differences in the lives of others.
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    A Home on the Field: How One Championship Soccer Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America by Paul Cuadros (Othemts)
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    What Is the What by Dave Eggers (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another great book about refugee life in America.
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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
There is so much soccer in the book that it becomes tedious if you don't know (or care) about it. I found myself skipping those paragraphs describing game play and just scanning for the score to see if the Fugees won or lost that match. Luma, the coach, is an interesting, if not entirely likable character. I really enjoyed the stories of the players and their families and their reactions and adaptations to life in the U.S. A good editing would have improved the book immensely, I think. The call to social justice is lost in the maze of soccer details. ( )
  mojomomma | Mar 19, 2017 |
This story takes place in a small town in Georgia. Conflict was and still is rampant around the world, where families lived in constant fear. This mismatched soccer team name eventually evolves to being called, The Fugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
selected families to relocate to the United States The Fugues came from Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Liberia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, among other countries. They are boys whose families were selected by the UNHCR for resettlement in a small town outside Atlanta called Clarkston. Most arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs and already in debt – owing thousands of dollars to a government agency for the cost of their one-way plane tickets to America. Once in the U.S., resettled refugees are given just three months of assistance from the government before they’re on their own, left to do the best they can to build new lives in a strange land.

This kind of transition would be difficult for anyone, but children and teenagers face special challenges. They are caught between worlds – no longer of the countries in which they were born, yet still separate and outside from the culture of their new home. They are outsiders at school, and at the same time, come under pressure from parents who see efforts to act or dress “American” as a repudiation of their native culture. Outside of school and their homes, the boys must also contend with pressure from the local street gangs who don’t hesitate to take advantage of the newcomers’ desire to belong.

A remarkable woman who emigrated from Jordan named Luma has a burden for these boys and their families. And even though she is a "girl" she knows how to coach and can certainly play soccer. She organizes a team for these diverse boys, battling language barriers, lack of funding and racial discrimination. After all, how can families afford to buy soccer shoes when they don't even have money to put food on the table. At times, the book frustrated me as Luma and The Fugees, experience such hardships, failure and disappointment. I wanted everything to go smoothly for them, but this is not a work of fiction and problems abound. But Luma somehow had the personality and heart to perservere. She does not view herself as remarkable, but she made a difference in the lives of many people who would have simply been lost in the system. Luma is still doing so today.



( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
The small Georgia town of Clarkston, outside Atlanta, went from being a small smouthern town to being a major spot for resettled refugees. From many countries. The population grew, the schools were faced with many students who didn't speak English, the refugees were settled into apartment blocks already inhabited by poor Americans and gang members. And the white old-timers were not all happy. At all.

As these changes were occurring, a Jordanian immigrant and soccer coach (who came to the US to attend college, not as a refugee), drove through one day and was shocked at the population she saw walking around town and playing soccer. After some research, she decided to start a free soccer program for kid.

This book chronicles the journey--the frustrating encounters with the mayor and town council, the sponsorship and promises from the nearby YMCA, the problems of dealing with troubled/frightened/overwhelmed kids and scared/exhausted parents, and the successes (big and small). ( )
  Dreesie | Jul 26, 2016 |
The story gives the reader some insight to an immigrant's struggle to settle in a new country and culture. ( )
  cjmidt | Mar 1, 2016 |
The underdog sports story is predictable. What drew me, a non sports enthusiast, to this book was the discussion on refugee communities. We, as a nation, need to do a better job when it comes to asylum seekers. When these people from war-torn nations, are chosen to be brought to the US, dumping them in rural Georgia is not a good resettlement plan. This book does a great job of pointing out exactly why that particular state department strategy is failing. ( )
  EmilyRokicki | Feb 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
The book is a sports story, a sociological study, a tale of global and local politics, and the story of a determined woman who became involved in the lives of her young charges.
added by khuggard | editSchool Library Journal, Sarah Flowers
 
St. John begins with an inspiring description of a beautifully played game and then delves into the team's formation, but his storytelling takes on the methodical approach of a long series of newspaper articles that lack narrative flair and progression.
added by khuggard | editPublishers Weekly
 

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On a cool spring afternoon at a soccer field in northern Georgia, two teams of teenage boys were going through their pregame warm-ups when the heavens began to shake.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385522037, Hardcover)

The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town

Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.

Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach. Warren St. John documents the lives of a diverse group of young people as they miraculously coalesce into a band of brothers, while also drawing a fascinating portrait of a fading American town struggling to accommodate its new arrivals. At the center of the story is fiery Coach Luma, who relentlessly drives her players to success on the soccer field while holding together their lives—and the lives of their families—in the face of a series of daunting challenges.

This fast-paced chronicle of a single season is a complex and inspiring tale of a small town becoming a global community—and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world's war zones--from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston's streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston's refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees. This fast-paced chronicle of a single season is a complex and inspiring tale of a small town becoming a global community--and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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