Do you feel like you have any fears when it comes to people who are different from you? I have a fear of the unknown, so I would say I do fear those who are different. What other aspects of their lives do playing on a soccer team help with? What assumptions did the officers who were booking Luma into jail make due to the fact that she was born out of the country? If this had been you that had been arrested do you think you would have been treated differently and why? The officers assume that she is a refugee and a trouble maker.
They assume she does not know the laws. They look up to Luma and learn from her. If it had been an American team with a few refugee players do you think it would have gone differently? It was impressive because it was quickly and easily decided to adhere to the other religions so that everyone was included. Chapter 31 and Epilogue What was your overall impression of the book? My overall impression was that Outcasts United was unique and awe inspiring. It was a very well written novel on a touchy subject.
Do you feel like you learned something about diversity and about your own biases? If so, what did you learn? I learned that I have changed and evolved a lot over the last five years since coming to college. I am more open minded and am actually in an interracial relationship now preparing our wedding.
I do think this novel helped enhance my future career. It opened my eyes to diversities in the classroom and what all they may have been through before coming here. Your final thoughts Tell me your final thoughts about the book. Was it what you expected? Outcasts United was what I expected as I have been reading similar books here recently.
I have always lived here and I know that small town way of seeing things. Did you enjoy the book? Yes, I did enjoy this novel. It was very informative and hard to put down. She was a true hero to those kids. 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 t Outcasts United, A Refuge Team, an American Town by Warren St.
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.
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. 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.
This is the kind of nonfiction that I like - plenty of stories of real people told with some historical context to help widen my view of the world. At work I am about to start working with more refugees, so this was a painless way to get a foundation for my professional work. Unexpectedly, the part that I appreciated most was actually the author's discussion about how diversity brings us together or pushes us apart, and the research that was done that showed that ignoring differences, not pointin This is the kind of nonfiction that I like - plenty of stories of real people told with some historical context to help widen my view of the world.
Unexpectedly, the part that I appreciated most was actually the author's discussion about how diversity brings us together or pushes us apart, and the research that was done that showed that ignoring differences, not pointing them out, was actually the thing that helped people get along. That's diametrically opposed to the work I'm doing on the diversity council at work, so I'm planning to chew on that further.
Even if you aren't interested in refugees, global politics, or soccer, I still think you might find something of worth in this book. 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. 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. 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.
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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. A feel good story about refugees coming together while playing soccer sounds trite, but in Outcasts United Warren St. John manages to show enough of everyone's rough edges to bring out a great story. The story avoids sappiness or oversimplification. There is no climax per se, but From http: There is no climax per se, but rather a constant fight against poverty, exclusion, and fear. Insert your "against all odds" cliche here. Nonetheless, it is very well-written and avoids black-and-white descriptions of the reactions to the refugees.
John talks to everyone, and many of the people some of the local politicians, community leaders, parents from other soccer teams, etc. From a policy perspective, the book raises the point that immigration agencies do not bother coordinating with local government. They find communities with available cheap housing and ready public transportation access to metro areas in this case Atlanta. They then bring in large numbers of people and say nothing to local officials, who find themselves in a sink or swim situation that raises tensions. John attended the single meeting set up between local elected officials and immigration agencies, he actually portrayed the latter in a negative light, as they became defensive and implied everyone was discriminatory.
John does not explore is the question of soccer itself. Clarkston's mayor kept rejecting requests to play on a city field, saying that only baseball could be played there. An undertone of the first part of the book is the idea that soccer is foreign. Yet the second half of the book gives all sorts of examples of how wealthy Americans love soccer and support it. Do people dislike soccer, or just immigrants playing soccer? If a group of Spanish-speaking kids wanted to play baseball, would baseball also be banned? This is relevant in the context of the World Cup--media commentators discuss how foreign soccer is, it is slow, we're not used to ties, etc.
Outcasts United by Warren St. John was an amazing paged non fiction book. This is a very inspiring book about families that come from troubled countries who get relocated to Clarkson, Georgia. These families have been through a lot and have managed to get transferred all the way to the US to rebuild their lives. Many of these families have teenage boys in them. And this lady named Luma who is from the middle east decided to leave her family to study in the US, after she finished college, she Outcasts United by Warren St. And this lady named Luma who is from the middle east decided to leave her family to study in the US, after she finished college, she moved to Clarkson as well.
Luma has been playing soccer all her life and when she found out that there is a large amount of refugees in Clarkson and she saw a lot of them playing soccer in the car park, she decided to start a soccer academy for them and they would be called the Fugees which is short for refugees. This amazing book tells you the story about what these young boys face being refugees in America and how Luma's soccer academy has helped and impacted their lives and their families lives as well.
I really do love the way the book is separated into different chapters that talk about each thing one at a time. The way the author wrote this book did not make it seem like it was just something that has happened in real life, he made me feel inspired and he made the book sound like a story which is what really got me hooked.
This book was written beautifully and I really do admire many of the refugees from it. It has really opened my mind to what some people are going through in their lives and it gave me hope for those people. I would recommend this book to anyone, because everybody should know what these people have gone through and how they have overcome the tragedies that have happened to them.
I would also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys watching or playing soccer because soccer is a huge part of this book. I feel like this book would be good for anyone because it is well written and it is very inspiring. This is a different style of book than I am used to reading, but I am glad I read it. I love soccer, and although am not an expert on all the rules and nuances, I was able to follow discussion on strategy and plays. I hope that non-soccer "futbol" fans weren't put off by that. I was surprised to find so much information about individual kids and their families. In retrospect, this information was obviously necessary for the story.
Details of the horrors there is no other word they experience This is a different style of book than I am used to reading, but I am glad I read it. Details of the horrors there is no other word they experienced provided a much needed framework for understanding the starting points and ever-changing relationship dynamics for all people in the town of Clarkston. Some of the writing seemed awkward to me at first - especially when the author jumped from current time and place to a family's story of their journey to Clarkston.
Eventually, either I got used to it or the segues were smoother. I say this about almost every book, but I really should have made a character map! There are so many characters, most with foreign to my ears names that were hard to remember. Overall, I appreciated the details of Luma's instinct and keen observations regarding how to create harmony within her diverse group in a firm, yet loving manner. I have taught in schools with diverse populations, but never was I so well-versed in the potential effects of mixing those with such a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
Honestly, as bothered as I was by native residents' reactions, I am humbled to admit that I don't know how loud my voice would have been in favor of the refugees were I in that situation. I'd like to think I would have been extremely open-minded, but with biases and tradition so entrenched in such a community, who can say? The story moved me in a way that usually only non-fiction can, and broke through a bit of my ignorance.
Aug 18, Mary rated it really liked it Shelves: This is the story of Luma Mufleh, a Jordanian immigrant who started three boys soccer teams in Clarkston, Georgia for refugees from a variety of African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries. Coach Luma is an inspiring strong, educated, independent female role model who defied traditional values to seek opportunities and freedoms that would have been unavailable to her in Jordan. Unfortunately, this cost her relationship with her family. The book also briefly profiles the boys who are involved with the teams, and their families, describing the conflicts in the countries they are from and the difficulties and conditions in which they live as relocated refugees in the U.
There is also quite a bit of play by play reporting of some of the team's soccer games and some amusing anecdotes from practices. Many American children will be able to relate to the struggle to find a place to practice, and to getting groups of kids to work together as a team, and readers will learn painlessly about several of the world's most difficult political conflicts and their personal tolls. Since this book leaves some questions unanswered e. I think both middle and high school aged readers will enjoy this book, though I suspect that older high school readers might just prefer to read the original rather than the adaptation.
The program is designed to increase reading and foster a sense of community, and is supplemented with several discussion programs across the valley. This book was a particularly good pick, because like Clarkston, Roanoke is a refugee resettlement community. I had no idea until I read this book. Overall, I thought this book was interesting and well-done. John shares with us a variety of refugee experiences, ranging from African civil and tribal wars to the war in Bosnia. Along the way, we learn a little about what started these conflicts, and how the refugees ended up that way.
Other problems are cultural, and are harder to overcome. The only thing I thought the book was missing was a more well-rounded depiction of Luma. We get a good idea of her background, but eventually she becomes rather one-dimensional. Several blog posts about this book and the Roanoke Valley Reads events can be found on the Roanoke Valley Reads web site. Outcasts United is the story of the vision and drive of Luma Mufleh an American-educated woman from Jordan who was determined to create an independent life for herself in America — willing to accept the disapproval and disinheritance of her family in Jordan.
They call themselves The Fugees. John skillfully weaves the individual stories of the refugee families that make up The Fugees, from the violence of Afghanistan to the horror of Bosnia and Sudan, and brings them together into the not quite open arms of Clarkston, Georgia.
Outcasts United by Warren St. John | www.juraa.com: Books
The difficulties faced by the families with assimilation and adaptation are sympathetically told. Obstinancy and indifference seem to be the hallmark of this vision of the southern small town — perhaps too easily stereotyped in the characterization of the local mayor and town council. What most of these boys had to endure, how closed and mean those in power in the South still seems to be and how, in spite of it all, there are people who rise and face the challenges in front of them, pulling along all who are smart and determined enough to follow her lead.
Did this as read aloud with my 4th grader for a Church intergenerational book discussion. Very thought provoking book and oh so timely to read this now, with the refugee controversy. She was an excellent soccer player in her school days, and one day while driving through an unfamiliar Excellent book! She was an excellent soccer player in her school days, and one day while driving through an unfamiliar town in Georgia, she comes across a group of kids playing soccer, from all different backgrounds..
She becomes their soccer coach, and the rest unfolds in this book by Warren St. Great story, featuring these kids and their challenges as refugees in this country. Interwoven in this soccer story are details behind these kids and their countries of origin: Sudan, Congo, Burundi, Bosnia,etc. If this story was written in the last few years, it would include Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Highly recommend even if you are not a soccer family, because it is eye opening. Daughter and I really got to know the characters and Luma, and really got how she was a strict coach but cared oh so much for the Fugees players and their families.
I need to note that Luma Mufleh was one of the CNN heroes featured last year and continues her good work with the Fugees all these years later She has founded the Fugees Academy. After you read the book, there is a plethora of info, videos and more on the fugees website.
Highly recommend, but parents please be aware of mentions of war and violence in this book At this point in my life, lots of my time is spent watching my 9 year old play soccer. He's pretty obsessed - when he isn't playing, he is watching it. So I was somewhat intrigued when my sister offered me this book. Written by a New York Times reporter, there is a lot of soccer - game plays, strategies, comparisons of players, etc. Still, this book is about so much more than soccer - about how these completely different people, all from horrific prior circumstances, end up all together in a tiny, little southern town and are, basically, saved by the desire of a relocated Jordanian women who gives them back soccer - Coach Luma.
I loved how she got them to support one another and play together. It made me think more critically about what these people endure when they arrive in our country - all they have to learn and do to "make it" and all they survived prior to arriving. No wonder these boys could be uber-tough on the soccer field. Reading this made me want to be kinder to strangers and to be sure my son is more aware of all the luxuries he experiences on a daily basis.
And, for that matter, all the luxuries I experience on a daily basis! Overall, the book was a little too drawn out for me in certain sections but definitely eye-opening in understanding the human experience. I was so happy those boys had soccer and Coach Luma. Despite challenges to locate a practice field, minimal funding for uniforms and equipment, and zero fans on the sidelines, the Fugees practiced hard and demonstrated a team spirit that drew admiration from referees and competitors alike.
Outcasts United explores how the community changed with the influx of refugees and how the dedication of Lumah Mufleh and the entire Fugees soccer team inspired an entire community. A Conversation with Warren St. What is Outcasts United about? How did you hear about the Fugees? How did they get here? Where do they live and how do they build new lives here?
So I called the coach and went to a game. Luma was this mysterious, intense presence. And without giving too much away, his response was remarkable.
The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town
So I was on my way. How were you received by the refugee families in Clarkston? They want things explained. It can give them something to care about, to be passionate of. When it talks about the practices it talks about the group of kids that were formed at the beginning, each group was from kids from the same country and spoke the same language.
One of the challenges was to get them all to work together. The discipline was another big issue, with the gangs hanging around practice Luma had to make some harsh rules for the ones that wanted to stay in the team. Reading the book I learn some really important things to help me in my freshman year. The role that Luma played in the story is not an easy task. Also when she started the soccer program everybody was telling her that she was crazy and nobody at the beginning wanted to help her. She fight against all that to do what she loved that was soccer, and that teaches us that no matter what you should do what you love and what you want to do with the rest of your life.
And from the other issues in the book I learned that the world is not even close to perfect, and is far from being neither perfect nor good. But you can find some good people that are willing to go against adversity to help anybody in their way. Oct 06, Simon Lapscher rated it it was amazing Recommended to Simon by: This book is based in Clarkston, a small town in the outskirt of Atlanta, GA.
S some years ago and whose dedication helped her overcome many obstacles and made her a strong, independent leader. In a personal manner, I related to this book in a really strong way. I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. In , Hugo Chavez came into power and started changing the country into what it is now, a socialist dictatorship that keeps heading downhill as time goes by. I realized it was time to leave in search for a place where I could build a normal life, one where I can go out on the streets without worrying about being kidnapped or robbed.
I filled up my application and ended up here, in the Georgia Institute of Techology studying Industrial Engineering. The other way in which I personally relate to this story is soccer. Ever since I was 5 years old, I have practiced soccer with my school team. Soccer helped me overcome a lot of obstacles in my life; it was a way of releasing all my accumulated stress through kicking the ball. Three times a week two for practice and one for game , I left all my thoughts and all my concerns outside and let my instincts be the only thing controlling my moves.
Before every game, my coach would tell us the same speeches Luma gave this kids, we would worm up as a team the same way the Fugees did, and we would enjoy the game the same way these kids did. After every game, win or lose, we would feel relieved; then we would go talk to the other team and congratulate them on a game well played; at the end of the game, win or loose, we would shake the hand of the player in front of us as a symbol of respect, of fair play.
The Fugees need this game more than probably most people. They have so much going on in their lives, so many problems including starvation, post war trauma, becoming acquainted with gangs, that soccer seems like the perfect way for these young men to overcome these burdens, for them to become a better self.
These refugees come to a new world that they only pictured in their dreams, however now figuring out that nothing is perfect and that the obstacles are not gone; that U. S is no paradise and that they will once more have to overcome themselves. This is an inspiring story filled with youthful insight, one that I identified with a lot, making this book a really strong and one; Warren St John makes us appreciate the things we have and the life we lead and makes us conscious of the problems that people 5 miles away from us go through in their daily basis.
Nov 08, Carter Stagner rated it liked it. There are 3 age groups. The main character is Luma. The club is meant for refugees. The main things I like about this book is that it was about soccer, refugees, and it was set in Georgia which is where I live. I liked the main character, Luma. I partly liked how it was non-fiction because I could imagine everything actually happening.
The writing was basic and it wasn't very fun for me to read, sometimes. It fell too simple at times. Overall I enjoyed the book but it could have been better. Oct 07, Maricruz Bravo marked it as to-read. Luma is characterized by her determination to make the boys succeed as a team. Her determination may sometimes be confused with toughness and insensible traits, but deep inside her she has a soft and tender heart whose only purpose is to make the boys happy and successful as persons and soccer players.
The theme is portrayed through the group of refugees who have to deal with the changes, adaptations and their transitions to their new environment. After reading the book by Warren St. Things in life happen for a reason, even though sometimes that reason is not necessarily known immediately. This novel made me realize that everything is achievable if one determines oneself to achieve it. It also showed me the challenges and difficulties that people face in creating a community when having so little in common, but once again, the determination plays an important role.
The coach, Luma is a refugee in Clarkston who had to deal also with the challenges that a refugee encounters when living in another country. She had to learn how to deal with the cultural clash between her Jordanian background and the new culture in which she was being introduced to. Nevertheless, she overcomes the challenges and obstacles and learned how to coexist in her new environment.
One of the ways she dealt with her new reality was by dedicating her time to coach soccer to refugee boys who she saw playing in a parking lot of an old apartment building called the Lakes. She not only coaches them, but mentors them, educates them and helps them with their adaptation to the new environment, which she had already learn to deal with. Luma discovers that soccer is the way for the boys to distract and not think of their new reality, of their new home and environment. It is the way that boys use to connect with the other refugees. I relate myself with Luma and the boys because of my international experience here at Tech.
I left my home country to come to the United States to study. Not only did I leave my country, but also I left behind my culture, my language, my family, and my homemade food. I came into an unknown world to me, I did not know what to expect out of the university and all that it conveys. At first, the feeling of solitude was predominant all throughout my day.
I missed everything, even my cat. As like the boys playing soccer as a way to connect to others in the same situation, I got involved with several international student organizations in order to meet students in my same situation. I also relate to the book because even though my situation was not exactly like that of the refugees I can at least have a small idea of their feelings, of their confusion, of their difficulties when adapting to a new environment where almost anything, if not all, is different from what you are used to.
One day, my GT teacher said that she admired those who studied in a language other than their own. In that moment, I felt proud of myself, proud of my actions, proud of my decision of overcoming my fear and study at another country. I am actually one of those students whose native language is not English and still here I am studying Civil Engineering in one of the most honorable institutions of the United States of America.
In this experience I am learning what Luma and the boys learned in their experience as refugees. Oct 07, Mariana D'apuzzo rated it really liked it. Shannon Scott GT Outcast United represents the integration of different identities in the multi-cultured city of Clarkston. As a uniquely multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural association of people, Clarkston has reasons to be troubled by the urgency of intolerance4 and to consider its role in combating it. This merging comes with different consequences.
After coexisting every day with that person, you create a level of tolerance for the wellbeing of the relationship, especially if being from different backgrounds. It is the fact that people should have the disposition to allow freedom of choice and behavior, no matter what the color of other people is. Coach Luma makes the soccer players generate this tolerance between them.
They left aside the clashing of cultures, and focused on each one of their good qualities. They learned to communicate between on another, for it was vital during each game.
- Outcasts United.
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They were united for a common purpose, on which never left their minds, and they even shared the same quality, that being playing soccer. Coach Luna did teach them loyalty between themselves, however she also taught them that to be a good player, besides having the skills, requires having sportsmanship. This fellowship was determined on getting there, always with their values and principles going first. With this determination came one of the most important things in life, discipline. United States Marine crop defines discipline as " the instant willingness and obedience to all orders, respect for authority, self reliance and teamwork.
The ability to do the right thing even when no one is watching or suffer the consequences of guilt which produces pain in our bodies, through pain comes discipline. Discipline had an immense roll in the part. However this can only be done if that will of doing things includes love and passion for it. The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
The key was having a love for soccer and a will to win that no other team had. It is a mix of the values: I believe that the importance of these values was transmitted throughout the book. With these values, St. John also demonstrates the difficulties of adapting to such a city and how the clashing of cultures affects each one of the habitants. This group of kids face challenges, not only on the soccer field but also at school and home.
At the end they realize we are all human, and despite of our race and ethnicity, there is always the possibility of simply getting along and finding what positive qualities each one of us possess. Mar 20, Ethan Kulinski rated it really liked it. In the midst of a time where refugees can be attached to countless negative reputations, Outcasts United by Warren St. John shines light on the gritty and sometimes relentless experience of young refugees. The story begins with Luma Mufleh, a native of Jordan, who previously decided that she would spend the rest of her life in Georgia.
Instead of falling into the cate In the midst of a time where refugees can be attached to countless negative reputations, Outcasts United by Warren St. Instead of falling into the category of a sports story, Outcasts United can be seen as a statement of diversity and resiliency. The team starts with a slim amount of equipment and a group of kids who slip into the habit of engaging with only their teammates that are similar to themselves. Luma assumes the job of not only head coach of the Fugees, but as a personal tutor and caregiver.
By building unbreakable relationships with refugee families from Clarkston, she teaches more than just soccer. Mufleh becomes less of a coach and more of an individual that her players look up to as a lifelong influencer. She treats her players as her own children; doing things like purchasing groceries for their families and driving them to practices and games.
As refugee children, these athletes are in need of someone like this who sees more in them than a group of poor and unstable Africans. This book will remembered as more than just a sports story, but a wake up call of diversity and the brutality that refugees find themselves involved in. It carefully displays the collective efforts of Luma and her players to become better players, better students, and above all, better people.
John has written an informative masterpiece that should be read by all. This book made me feel like a spoiled first world moron, some of the time. Because I have so much, and most of the people in Outcasts United have nothing. I know the pain of being separated from my family and living in a foreign country, but I also know that I can call anyone in my family at any time, and could get on a plane tomorrow and go and see them, if I needed to.
Refugees don't have that - they are completely cut off from their home countries by war, dictators, and the fact that for many This book made me feel like a spoiled first world moron, some of the time. Refugees don't have that - they are completely cut off from their home countries by war, dictators, and the fact that for many of them, there's nobody left there to call or go back to anyway. And then to end up in the godforsaken corner of the world that is the outer suburbs of Atlanta, surrounded by other refugees who know as little about navigating the US as they do.
Sorry, Georgians, but it's true. And yet, Outcasts United isn't depressing or a downer. It's pretty funny and uplifting, much of the time. Luma is a hard-ass coach, but her approach really works with most of the boys who want to play for the Fugees.
Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town
They truly respond to her rules, and flourish in a structured environment. It sounds like such a cliche, but she really gives these kids something to look forward to and work towards. And it's not just the sport. The deal is they also have to do well at school, and Luma created a network of volunteers to help with that.
Such an awesome and inspiring story and Warren St John tells it so well, you don't even have to be a soccer fan to enjoy it. I know about as much about soccer as I do about underwater hockey, but it wasn't hard to follow at all. Just a note to say thank you to the Common Reader committee at Missouri State University for picking such an excellent book.
I love the idea of a common reader and think Outcasts United is a great pick for our students. Luma and the Fugees are currently trying to build a facility so that refugee children will have a place to study, play sport, get help, and build a community. You can find out more here: Sep 14, Tyler Doliber rated it really liked it.
Outcasts United is a story about a misfit, rag-tag team of refugee kids coming from places far and wide, trying to escape war torn and poor countries, each one of the kids on the team has a unique backstory of where they came from. Some came from countries that were attacked by corrupt government officials that used the them as slaves. Their families, looking for new hope, move to America through a refugee agency and are taken to Clarkston, Georgia, once a prominent white town now houses a mult Outcasts United is a story about a misfit, rag-tag team of refugee kids coming from places far and wide, trying to escape war torn and poor countries, each one of the kids on the team has a unique backstory of where they came from.
Their families, looking for new hope, move to America through a refugee agency and are taken to Clarkston, Georgia, once a prominent white town now houses a multitude of different cultures. One day a women named Luma Mufleh noticed some kids playing a small game of soccer for fun in the parking lot of an apartment complex she gets an idea to create a soccer team for all of the refugee children living in Clarkston. Coming from a multitude of different cultures and speaking many languages, the kids of Clarkston are the new kids on the block. I am personally not a fan of soccer myself, I just never found interest in it.
When I picked up this book and read that is was about a misfit soccer team of refugees from all over the world, it kind of touched my heart in a way that made me think, this might be a good book, and man it was, the heartwarming but yet scary stories of where these refuge children have come from makes me think, wow it is nice to live in the country that I do.
Every short story about each kid kept me turning the page and wanting more. When I hit that last page, I wanted to know more, I wanted to know where these kids end up in their future, and what coach Luma does with her future. Outcasts United really shows how not every country in the world is perfect and there are many people living in places where not is all good and well.
Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to read this book over considering how well written it was. The middle school I work in chose this to be the summer reading book, and unfortunately I think that purpose for reading affected my enjoyment of the book. If I had read it on my own, maybe I would have given it 3 stars, or at least 2. John creates by telling this story. However, reading it with the lens of whether or not middle schoolers would enjo The middle school I work in chose this to be the summer reading book, and unfortunately I think that purpose for reading affected my enjoyment of the book.
However, reading it with the lens of whether or not middle schoolers would enjoy it and whether or not I would be able to use it in my class brought this down. This version is adapted for young people, but none of the young people that I have talked to so far enjoyed it. It seems like it's a book about soccer, but really it isn't.
It's about the aforementioned social commentary on immigrants and American culture, which isn't really that appealing to middle schoolers, even with the dumbed-down writing. Middle schoolers can see through the dumbed-down writing, by the way. They know that this is not a book that is meant for them, and no amount of "Woo! Not only is the writing dumbed down, it's just generally poor. The first 91 pages are written in the third person, and then all of a sudden on page 92 it switches to the first person.
If one read the introduction which most young readers skip over one can assume that it is the reporter telling the story, but it's not obvious. This mysterious reporter only inserts himself in one other chapter; the rest of the book continues without nary a mention of his role in telling the story. This is confusing for middle schoolers and shows that this is not a very strong adaptation for young people and not very strong in its writing overall.
Sep 21, Doug Beatty rated it it was amazing. I read this book for the maryland One Mayland One Book campaign. I was pleasantly suprised. I thought it was going to be more about soccer and I am not a sports fan. But although it was a bit about soccer, there was enough description to keep me involved but not too much to lose me.
What the book was really about was a woman from Jordan named Luma who comes to this country and only wants to play or coach soccer. She moves to a small town in Georgia that is home to communities of refugees from al I read this book for the maryland One Mayland One Book campaign. She moves to a small town in Georgia that is home to communities of refugees from almost 50 different ethnic backgrounds. She forms a team and collects kids from many different nations, many of these nations fight among themselves, but the kids get along.
And they place soccer. She is faced with many speedbumps on her way. She needs to find a good field for the kids to play. There is a wonderful field she can use, but the mayor refuses to allow the field for soccert. She ends up on a dirt field in a heavy crime area. The program does not have money so the kids need uniforms and shoes. They have no soccer goals with which to practice.