From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-In this young adult adaptation of Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference (Spiegel & Grau, 2009), St. John presents the remarkable, inspiring story of a persevering female coach, a soccer team of refugee boys, and the Georgia town that is their home. With conviction and skill, Jordanian Luma Mufleh established and coached three soccer teams known as the Fugees. Her players were haunted by memories of war-torn homelands and personal tragedies and were struggling to adjust to life in the United States. However, her high expectations and willingness to help families impacted her young players. 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 even their competitors. Featuring pivotal soccer games and anecdotes about interactions between a coach and her players, tension among the boys, family responsibilities, and a town wrestling with its changing identity, St. John delivers a vivid, cohesive story about hope and determination. Profiles are enriched with background information on the conflicts that drove the players from their homes in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Respecting cultural differences, building a global community, and the importance of getting involved are powerful, motivating messages that will resonate with teen readers, not just soccer fans.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Respecting cultural differences, building a global community, and the importance of getting involved are powerful, motivating messages that will resonate with teen readers, not just soccer fans."--Starred Review, School Library Journal
"An uplifting underdog story that will appeal to readers interested in the immigrant experience and the surprising role sports can play in people's lives."--Kirkus Reviews
"Exciting youth soccer action blends with politics . . . filled with fast kicks, scrimmages, dribbles, crossses, corners, shots, and misses on the field that will grab kids, as will the harrowing stories of what the families fled from their continuing struggle."--Booklist