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Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town (2009)

by Warren St. John

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0169819,454 (3.92)52
Sociology. Sports & Recreations. Nonfiction. HTML: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
… (more)
  1. 00
    What Is the What by Dave Eggers (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another great book about refugee life in America.
  2. 00
    A Home on the Field: How One Championship Soccer Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America by Paul Cuadros (Othemts)
  3. 00
    Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Both these books tell powerful and inspirational stories about women making drastic differences in the lives of others.
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» See also 52 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
3.5 stars. The story of not just a soccer team of refugees from around the world in America, but also of a small town's reaction to the refugee resettlement. ( )
  CarolHicksCase | Mar 12, 2023 |
Outstanding storytelling in this nonfiction book for young readers. Does a great job weaving the life experiences of the boys together with Luma's life. I felt like the incident with Luma's arrest was left unresolved -- did she ever find out why she was pulled over? Was it just profiling? It certainly seemed to be. Altogether an incredibly inspiring story about an individual's ability to make a huge positive change in the world. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
This book is fantastic. A great piece of journalism about immigration in America. A great story about young boys growing up. A great exploration about the greatest game on earth (soccer)! ( )
  nrfaris | Dec 23, 2021 |
This book documents the lives of a youth soccer team made up of refugees, their female coach, and the southern American town in the process of becoming a resettlement center. Epilogue, Contact Resources.
  NCSS | Jul 23, 2021 |
Eye-opening story dealing with refugee life in America, told primarily by following a youth soccer team in Georgia. By following the soccer games of the boys, we're introduced to the hardships faced by the mix of refugee boys and their families from war torn nations around the world. Many of the boys have lost a father or other family member to war or terror in their former countries, and have to deal with being displaced, learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, often in an inhospitable environment. The volunteer soccer coach, also an immigrant, is an admirable character who overcomes unwelcoming elements of the town and its leaders, as well as her own difficult background to help the boys learn and adapt to their new life in America. Not all the boys succeed, but enough do to keep the book more uplifting than depressing.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (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
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Warren St. Johnprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reitsma, Jan WillemTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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Sociology. Sports & Recreations. Nonfiction. HTML: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

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