Outcasts United is the true story of a soccer team in Clarkston, Georgia. The team is made up of refugee boys who have left their native countries for a variety of reasons, but they all share a passion for the sport. The team is known as the Fugees, and they are coached by a young woman named Luma Mufleh. Using soccer, Luma teaches her team to learn responsibility and cooperation. Luma also helps the families of her team members adjust to life in the United States using her knowledge of many langugages and American culture. The book follows the Fugees through a season of hard work, adjustment, bonding, and soccer.
I enjoyed reading Outcasts United, despite my limited knowledge of soccer. While the game does play a prominent role in the book, the true story lies in each boy's journey. Each member of the Fugees has a unique, often heartbreaking, tale of how they came to this country, and these stories are woven throughout the soccer game descriptions. Luma's active participation in the Clarkston community is inspirational, and the formation of her amazing charity is yet another angle explored in the book. I especially liked the touching part of the book in which the Fugees went trick-or-treating. It was interesting to see the cultural events that American-born children understand, through the eyes of refugee children experiencing them for the first time. I would recommend this book to soccer fans, pre-teens, and teens interested in non-fiction human interest stories, and anyone looking for inspiration.