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

de Warren St. John

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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8479519,846 (3.9)51
American-educated Jordanian Luma Mufleh founds a youth soccer team comprised of children from Liberia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkan states, and elsewhere in the refugee settlement town of Clarkston, Georgia, bringing the children together to discover their common bonds as they adjust to life in a new homeland.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 96 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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 |
Outcasts United, A Refuge Team, an American Town by Warren St. John (pp 300). This imminently readable book is about a Young Jordanian-American woman coach and members of several of her soccer teams comprised of recent immigrants, a polyglot of Iraqis, Burundians, Liberians, Bosnians, Somalis, Afghanis, and others. As newly relocated immigrants, these young kids were dealing with torn apart families, poverty, prejudice, assimilation, cultural differences, language barriers, and more challenges than most of us can even imagine. To a large extent the players and their families were not particularly welcome where they landed in American (outside Atlanta, though it could have been anywhere). However, they persevered, as did the town’s residents who begrudgingly and unevenly accepted them. The author did a good job of withholding judgement about the various supposed bad actors in the story, doing his best to explain different perspectives and reactions to uninvited change that tested the tolerance and understanding of many of the people in the community. Above all the story is inspiring, but it is also aggravating, frustrating, nauseating, and enervating, even across the chasm separating reality and the written word. The coach, Luma Mufleh, is an amazing woman who devoted her life to soccer and young people in desperate need of the sport, friendship, leadership, strict discipline, and structure she offered. Her efforts taxed her, her players, players’ families, the town as a whole, and many of the community’s members. Despite many successes by a variety of measures, there is no wonderful, fulfilling ending. Rather the struggle continues, and this tale underscores the need for all of us to do the extremely hard work of building our own communities, including all residents and constituencies. ( )
  wildh2o | Jul 10, 2021 |
My library director asked me to read this book so I could potentially discuss it's eligibility for a Community Reads book.

I went in skeptical. I like very specific kinds of nonfiction, and I didn't think this was any kind of what I liked. I dragged my feet on reading it too (I checked it out over a month ago, had to renew it).

I shouldn't have worried. A narrative that focuses on a highly independent woman from Jordan who saw a community need and fed it slowly, building up her reputation and building that of her teams.

She saw kids who needed to do something to keep them safe (not just from the world, but from themselves: as is repeatedly mentioned, refugees often suffer from PTSD or other emotional fallout from simply having to leave their home and come to a new place, where they don't always speak the language fluently at first, among other things.). She saw, also, kids who liked to play soccer, but had no formal training. She saw kids who needed a small, manageable habit, that needed friends desperately, who needed leadership, who needed something to do while parents were out working at ungodly hours to keep their kids eating and in a home.

This woman went from one team of varying ages to three in the space of a couple years, and managed to see one of them almost to a regional WIN against teams that had been playing together for about a decade.

This was a vastly satisfying book and I highly recommend it. ( )
  m_mozeleski | Aug 22, 2020 |
"...it is also a story about the challenges facing resettled refugees in this country. More than 900,000 have been admitted to the United States since 1993, and their presence seems to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others." NYTimes article, January 2007

The subtitle is perhaps grander than the story: the soccer team (actually three teams, divided by age) is indeed made up of refugees from all over, who have been resettled in Clarkston, Georgia, but they remain separate from the town's mostly white population, and have to fight even to use town fields. Coach Luma, a Jordanian immigrant herself, is tough on the kids but helps their families. Her expectations for her players are high, and half of every three-hour practice is a tutoring session, with volunteers she finds to help the kids with their English and other subjects.

I read the version "adapted for young people," and there seemed to be a few editing errors and inconsistencies. Told mostly in third person, the use of first person crops up about halfway through, then disappears again until the end, a jarring interruption. One of the families' stories describes a mother grabbing her two youngest sons and fleeing, but at least one of her older sons reappears later, with no explanation. It's a bit unclear how Coach Luma makes a living (though in the article above, it mentions the cleaning company she starts to hire refugee women), and there's no resolution with her family back in Jordan (although that may be that they are still not in communication). A basic understanding of the rules of soccer is expected.

The book was fine, but it doesn't really tackle the issues it raises - particularly the resettlement of refugee families and education of refugee children - nor does it explore the characters' lives in depth (there are, after all, so many characters).

Quotes/notes

For reasons he rarely revealed, he was separated at some point from his parents and taken in by his uncle... (99) - Rarely? Or never? Or just not to the author?

"And if you keep getting beat up on the same road, take a different road." (143) - Luma's advice to the Fugees on avoiding gangs

"It kept our minds from thinking about what happened....We made friends - kids from different cultures. It broadened our minds, and we weren't the only ones going through hard times. That's why the team is so close. It became our family." (Shamsoun, 178)

A few minutes later, Jeremiah added another [goal] with a cannon shot from fifteen yards out. His teammates responded by getting on the ground and kissing his shooting foot. (209)

But there are still challenges....the local public schools continue to fail the refugee population - and American students as well. (222)

"No one person can do everything. But we can all do something." (Tracy Ediger, Fugees' team manager, 226) ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 25, 2017 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 96 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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.
adicionado por khuggard | editarSchool 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.
adicionado por khuggard | editarPublishers Weekly
 

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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Warren St. Johnautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Reitsma, Jan WillemTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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American-educated Jordanian Luma Mufleh founds a youth soccer team comprised of children from Liberia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkan states, and elsewhere in the refugee settlement town of Clarkston, Georgia, bringing the children together to discover their common bonds as they adjust to life in a new homeland.

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