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One Goal
Cover of One Goal
One Goal
A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together
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In the tradition of Friday Night Lights and Outcasts United, One Goal tells the inspiring story of the soccer team in a town bristling with racial tension that united Somali refugees and...
In the tradition of Friday Night Lights and Outcasts United, One Goal tells the inspiring story of the soccer team in a town bristling with racial tension that united Somali refugees and...
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  • In the tradition of Friday Night Lights and Outcasts United, One Goal tells the inspiring story of the soccer team in a town bristling with racial tension that united Somali refugees and multi-generation Mainers in their quest for state—and ultimately national—glory.

    When thousands of Somali refugees resettled in Lewiston, Maine, a struggling, overwhelmingly white town, longtime residents grew uneasy. Then the mayor wrote a letter asking Somalis to stop coming, which became a national story. While scandal threatened to subsume the town, its high school's soccer coach integrated Somali kids onto his team, and their passion began to heal old wounds. Taking readers behind the tumult of this controversial team—and onto the pitch where the teammates become state champions and achieved a vital sense of understanding—One Goal is a timely story about overcoming the prejudices that divide us.

About the Author-

  • A professor of history in New York, Amy Bass lived in Lewiston, Maine for four years as a student at Bates College. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Salon, and CNN Opinion, and her work for NBC's Olympics coverage earned her an Emmy in 2012 for Outstanding Live Event Turnaround. One Goal is her fourth book.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 27, 2017
    One of the whitest states in the U.S. also boasts one of the country’s most ethnically diverse high school soccer programs, explains Bass (Those About Him Remained Silent) in this relevant and rewarding narrative. Bass followed the Lewiston High School Blue Devils and the team’s tireless coach, Mike McGraw, during its 2015 pursuit of a state title. In the early 2000s, Lewiston, Maine, emerged as a popular destination for Somali refugee families due to the city’s low crime rate, cheap housing, and solid schools. The Somalis had an impact on life in Lewiston (sambusa, a savory Somali puff pastry, is served by snack bars at games alongside hot dogs), but, as Bass reports, the wider community was slow to accept the Somali population. Bass immersed herself in the town’s culture and got to know players and families both black and white—as well as the prejudiced Lewiston residents who told Somali families to “go back to Africa.” McGraw emerges as the book’s true hero, a man able to put aside his own preconceptions about Muslims for the good of his players. He, along with the Lewiston High School boys’ soccer team, eventually bridged a divided community on their way to winning the finals. Bass’s effective portrayal of Lewiston as a microcosm of America’s changing culture should be required reading for coaches, teachers, and those working with diverse populations.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2017
    United by a common dream, high school soccer players overcome racism in a town in Maine.Lewiston was once a nearly all-white mill town on the verge of economic collapse. Then hundreds of Somali refugees poured into the city, creating new growth in the community. Despite racial tensions, the Somalians forged ahead, with their youth leading the way on and off the soccer field. With the help of the high school soccer coach and his assistants, the team led the school to its first state championship in 2015. Bass (History/Coll. of New Rochelle) delivers a lively, informative, and entertaining account of the years leading up to the game, and she includes in-depth coverage of the players and their respective refugee stories, the coach and his assistants, and the overall state of racism in Maine and across the U.S. Minute-by-minute descriptions of the games build tension as the team steadily progresses from a devastating defeat to their ultimate victory. The back stories of the Somalian refugees are often heart-rending and brutal, but they also demonstrate an awe-inspiring resilience. The concern of the people of Lewiston who helped integrate the refugees into the community offers hope and guidance to those who also face a steady influx of immigrants. This is a multitiered underdog story that skillfully blends elements of human compassion, passion for a sport, determination, and endurance with overtones of societal pressure and racism. It's an exhilarating narrative that shows how perseverance and the ability to disregard the narrow-mindedness of xenophobia can lead to victory. "The team's success embodies a negotiation between an immigrant community and its chosen home," writes the author, "an often difficult conversation about language, religion, culture, education, and family."An edifying and adrenaline-charged tale of how immigrant soccer players were able to translate "tight-knit family and community connection to success on the field."

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2018

    On the surface, this debut by Bass (history, Coll. of New Rochelle, NY) seems to be a soccer story, chronicling a high school soccer team in Lewistown, ME, as they try to win the state championship. But the community has a larger story to tell, and Bass does this masterfully. During the course of a decade, beginning in 2001, Lewistown had more than 7,000 Somali refugees as residents. Bass provides necessary context to the history of Lewistown and documents the pushback that some citizens of the town had to new members of the community. Where the book shines is in the author's ability to tell the story of a number of the soccer players, their families, and the obstacles they had to go through to find a home in Maine. Bass uses the game of soccer to relate the changing Lewistown community, where several Somali refugees have since settled. The majority of the soccer team are members of the Somali community, and they not only helped create a new Lewistown but also a greater understanding between different cultures. VERDICT A touching account that is highly recommended for all readers.--Pamela Calfo, Baldwin Borough P.L., PA

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • AudioFile Magazine Amy Bass's deep dive into Lewiston, Maine's high school soccer team is about more than sports. It's about immigration and acceptance. The author examines the wave of Somali immigrants that hit this small city in the early 2000s, focusing on the boys who join the soccer team. As they experience outright racism, the refugees bond with the local players through the leadership of the team's longtime coach. Narrator Will Collyer had a choice: He could read this audiobook straight or create voices for the players, coaches, and others whom the author cites. He chose the latter, and it brings the production alive. Treating everyone with dignity, he uses a slight New England accent when appropriate and creates inquisitive lilts for the Somali players. Both author and narrator take a "Friday Night Lights" approach to looking at the team, the city, and its residents through both sociological and sports lenses. The story culminates with an exciting state playoff run. M.B. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
  • Booklist

    December 1, 2017
    Given soccer's global popularity, the sport provides a natural assimilation experience for immigrants and refugeesand there's a growing shelf of books about that. Yet newcomers' often superior skill at the game can be challenging for communities who find themselves struggling to understand the social changes taking place. This was the case in Lewiston, Maine, a mostly white, down-at-the-heels mill town where waves of Somali refugees brought new life to the downtown and new strength to the Lewiston Blue Devils, a high-school soccer team coached by veteran Mike McGraw. In this gripping account of Lewiston's journey to its first-ever high-school soccer state championship, history professor Bass vividly tells the stories of the Somalis and Lewiston, exploring the resistance and racism the refugees faced in town and on the field. It's all threaded together with Coach McGraw's own journey as he learned to deal with, for example, athletes fasting for Ramadan. While divisions undoubtedly remain, the Blue Devils' success is a heartening example of sport's ability to bring people together when it's not pushing them apart. Engrossing and informative.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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One Goal
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A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together
Amy Bass
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