Outcasts United

Outcasts United

An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make A Difference

Book - 2009
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Random House, Inc.
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.

Baker & Taylor
Documents the lives of a wildly diverse group of young kids who miraculously unite as a team, against the backdrop of a fading American town struggling to make a haven for its new arrivals--refugees.

Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2009.
ISBN: 9780385522045
Characteristics: 320 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.


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bibliotechnocrat Jul 31, 2016

The beautiful game of soccer becomes a kind of metaphor for the competition for resources, for respect, for the right to self-determination, in this ensemble-cast book. Cheap rents and settlement services agencies made Clarkston a destination for new waves of huddled masses, but not everyone is comfortable with the new arrivals. Luma, a dynamic Jordanian woman (with her own issues), takes on the coaching of the refugee children surrounding her. She inspires, cajoles, and pushes these kids to better themselves through education and the discipline required for successful team sports. A very enjoyable read about a small Georgia town that ends up as the melting pot on low boil.

Oct 19, 2010

True story about a young woman from an affluent Jordanian family who starts a free soccer program for refugee youth in an Atlanta community that is rapidly being transformed by immigration. Touches on fear of change, challenges of coming to a new country, living in poverty, and the importance of competitive sports for youth who lack other positive outlets. The author is a reporter for The New York Times and can tell a good story.


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