Outcasts United: A Refugee Soccer Team, an American Town – A Book Review

You don’t always have to get on a plane to travel around the world.  My first trips were taken through books.  Reading opens up doors and gives us eyes into places and people we may never be able to see face to face.  Books can take us to different places and different times that we might never experience any other way.  My recent read took me to Jordan, Liberia, Bosnia, Mozambique, Burundi, Kosovo, Somalia and many other places that, because of their histories, are not typical travel destinations.  I was able to peek into a world of  ethnic conflict, civil war, refugee camps, displaced people, war-torn families and other terrible realities.  And this book isn’t fiction.  These aren’t just words on a page, they are people’s lives.

All of these countries and histories are woven together in the story of The Fugees, a soccer team started in Clarkston, GA.  Clarkston use to be just a typical southern town but over the years it has been transformed by refugee resettlement.  It still remains one of the most diverse places in the United States.  This book shares some of stories from the lives of the children and what brought them to Clarkston.  It also details the journey of the Fugee’s coach, Luma and the struggles the Fugees faced getting started.  Such a diverse group of boys coming together through such adversity is an amazing story in itself.

This isn’t a book that sugarcoats the realities and hardships of life as a refugee in America.  Instead it shows just how hard and unpredictable life can be.  But soccer can make a difference and it ends with hope.  I would recommend Outcasts United by Warren St. John to anyone who wants to read about the realities of war on our world, true hardships, soccer and lives being changed.

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