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Outcasts united : an American town, a refugee team, and one woman's quest to mak
Warren St. John
Adult Nonfiction GV942.7.L86 S75 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

St. John (Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer) builds on his 2007 New York Times article about the Fugees, a soccer program for boys from families of refugees from war-torn nations who have been resettled in the town of Clarkston, Ga., 13 miles east of Atlanta. Led by the founder and coach Luma Mufleh, a strong-willed, Jordanian woman who turned her back on a privileged past to stay in America after attending Smith College, the three youth teams are a conglomeration of players from Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East. The challenges they face are many, including an ongoing fight against city hall for a field on which to play, and getting by with subpar equipment. Their biggest challenge, however, is the difficulty immigrants face in learning the ways of a strange land and living with the memories of tragedy (some players had lost a parent to violence or imprisonment). In spite of it all, the Fugees compete admirably with mostly white, better-funded suburban teams. 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. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

St. John (Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania) tells the tale of the Fugees soccer team and their enigmatic coach, Luma Mufleh. The members of the Fugees were refugees from all over the globe, rescued by the UN's High Commission for Refugees, living together in a crime-riddled settlement center in Clarkston, GA. The stories of their escapes are harrowing. For example, Paula Balegamire and her five children fled civil war in Kivu through Rwanda, Tanzania, and Congo before accepting resettlement in Clarkston six years later. Her husband was jailed along the way. Not merely about soccer, St. John's book teaches readers about the social and economic difficulties of adapting to a new culture and the challenges facing a town with a new and disparate population. Despite their cultural and religious differences and the difficulty of adaptation, the Fugees came together to play soccer. This wonderful, poignant book is highly recommended for libraries collecting on the role of sport in people's lives and for those with an interest in immigration.-Todd Spires, Bradley Univ. Lib., Peoria, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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