Monday, September 24, 2012

Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town by Warren St. John

This is the young people's version of an adult book that was published several years ago. It's the true story of a soccer team for refugees in a town very close to where I live in Georgia. It is really the story of a Jordanian woman named Luma who immigrated to the United States and dedicated herself to helping refugees by coaching soccer teams for children and teenagers. The author, a New York Times reporter, followed Luma's teams for a season and wrote about their games, their life stories, and the community where they settled. Luma is a tough coach who cares deeply for her players but often has to make difficult decisions about who will play on her teams. The players come from all over the world and Clarkston, Georgia isn't the most welcoming place for them. For many of the players, the "Fugees" team becomes their family and their reason for living. I love the story of this team and I know this book will appeal to soccer fans. My criticism of this book is that I wanted deeper knowledge about Luma and the families she works with but this book tended to spend more time on soccer play-by-play than on the details of their lives. This book is a solid nonfiction choice for middle school students, but I suspect that adults and older teens will prefer the original version of Outcasts United.

No comments: