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... read more
With all the high-profile football clubs scrabbling around for new managers right now, it is perhaps surprising that Luma Mufleh's name has not entered the frame for one of the vacancies. What ambitious chairman would not be interested in a young boss with a proven track record for producing... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
With all the high-profile football clubs scrabbling around for new managers right now, it is perhaps surprising that Luma Mufleh's name has not entered the frame for one of the vacancies. What ambitious chairman would not be interested in a young boss with a proven track record for producing fast results on constrained budgets? Added to this, Mufleh is an uncompromising disciplinarian who is unrivalled in bringing the best out of awkward characters and myriad nationalities and has a mastery of psychology that may leave even Alex Ferguson feeling undermined.
“The head coach of the North Atlanta team was a screamer... Luma paced silently on her side of the field and occasionally glanced over at the opposite sideline with a perturbed look on her face. She was all for instruction, but her method was to teach during practice and during the breaks. Once the whistle blew, she allowed her players to be themselves: to screw up, to take chances, and to create. All the shouting was wearing on her nerves. (pg 4)”
“When I think about Clarkston, I sometimes visualize the town as a lifeboat being lowered from a vast, mulitlevel passenger ship. No one aboard chose this particular vessel. Rather, they were assigned to it--the refugees by resettlement officials they never met, the townspeople by a faraway bureaucratic apparatus that decided, almost haphazardly, to put a sampling of people from all over the world in the modest little boat locals thought they had claimed for themselves. In an instant, the boat was set upon a roiling sea, its passengers left to fend for themselves. Everyone on the boat wanted the same thing: safety. But to get there, they would first have to figure out how to communicate with each other, how to organize themselves, how to allocate their resources, and which direction they should row. (pg 10)”
“Inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television. (pg 40)”Robert Putnam (author of 2007 Harvard study that surveyed 30K residents of 41 ethnically diverse US communities)
“... refugee boys ... were caught between worlds, first as teenagers moving from childhood to adulthood, but also as resettled refugees, transtioning from one culture to another. Social scientists refer to the state of being between worlds as liminality ... (pg 221)”
“We have a saying. Everything in the world starts small and then becomes bigger--except bad things. They start big, and then get smaller. (pg 292)”Hassan (Luma's father)
“Putting Luma on a pedestal is counterproductive. Luma is really a normal person doing what she can for the people around her. If people can look at her and see that, that she's human, not a saint or a super-hero, and that she doesn't--can't--do everything or effect miracles, then maybe they can say to themselves, 'I need to look around myself and see my neighborhood, and what is going on here and five streets over, and what I can do in terms of investing myself and my time, to be present for the people around me, and to do something positive for change in my community.' (pg. 299)”Tracy Ediger (Fugee's team manager)
“No one person can do everything, but we can all do something. (pg 299)”Tracy Ediger (Fugee's team manager)
Part One: Changes
2. Beatrice and Her boys
3. "Small Town... Big Heart"
4. Alone Down South
5. The Fugees are Born
7. "Coach Says It's Not Good"
8. "They're in America Now- Not Africa"
9. Get Lost
Part Two: A New Season
10. "I Want to Be Part of the Fugees!"
11. Figure It Out so You Can Fix It
13. "How Am I Going to Start All Over?"
14. Alex, Bien, and Ive
15. Trying Again
16. The Fifteens Fight
17. Go Fugees!
19. Getting Over It
20. The "Soccer People"
21. Playing on Grass
Part Three: Full Circle
22. Who Are the Kings?
23. Showdown at Blue Springs
24. Coming Apart
25. Hanging On at Home
26. The Dikoris
27. "What Are You Doing Here?"
29. The Fifteens' Final Game
30. My Rules, My Way
31. Tornado Cup
A Note On Sources