This is a captivating story of a football (soccer) coach who is a woman and her charges who are refugee boys. Some are mere children and some are teenagers. They hail from all over the world from war torn regions of the globe. They all arrived here in America with their families in a predominantly white town outside of Atlanta Georgia.Many lacked even rudimentary skills English.
The coach Luma grew up in the Middle East and came to America for collage. After observing that the boys lacked a positive way to interact she decided to create a football team. She had a lot to deal with as the boys understandably had issues that they were grappling with.
Both preserved and friendships and close bonds were formed. The story goes beyond football. Luma also assisted in other matters also. If one of them did not have adequate food she would buy some. She had her own business and hired several of her charges mothers. She also set up a tutoring program to make sure all did well in school.
This is a perfect example of a woman making a tremendous difference in a group of lives. Not only her football players but also their families. In what could have turned out to be more gang members, because of her they have a real chance of being successful.
I felt that the author Warren St John captured this in his book beautifully. It was well written and illustrated how when a group comes together in a positive way good stuff can take place. It wasn't all roses in the book, the author presented a balanced portrait of the hardships many endured. For example, the lure of gangs. Without providing any spoilers let me just say this, sometimes the “glamour” of being a gang member won out over the hard work Luma demanded. All in all it is worth the read.