Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 409
Luma Mufleh is 31 years old and comes from a privileged family in Jordan. After completing her studies in the United States, she opts not to return to Jordan. It is for this reason that her father decides to disown her. As an enthusiastic soccer player, she takes up coaching programs in Atlanta to sustain herself. She stumbles upon boys of various nationalities playing soccer on a parking lot in Clarkston, Georgia. In them, she recognizes both talent and passion for the game. She goes back to Clarkston with the intention of helping the refugee boys. Through the YMCA, she is able to secure playing facilities and come up with soccer programs. The city government and the non-refugee community oppose her efforts, eventually leading to the loss of the training facilities. The children train under poor conditions until the city council gives them a good field, which is later revoked.
During her interaction with the boys, Luma is able to learn about their troubled pasts. She learns how Beatrice, together with her three sons, had fled the dangers of Monrovia. She also learns that one of the boys had been forced to kill a close friend. The boys used to fight over their differences, as they were from different races and nationalities. Tracy Ediger, a young woman from Nebraska, later joins Luma's effort to help the boys. Together, they work to ensure that the children are well-tutored and receive necessary soccer instruction.
Luma is a tough coach, cancelling the season for the under-15 Fugees team when the boys fail to show dedication to their study and practice. She also kicks Prince out of the team when he refuses to obey her rule about shaving. It is Liberian refugees by the names Kanue and Mandela who convince Luma to have new tryouts for the team. Later, though with a heavy heart, Luma kicks Mandela out of the team for not living up to the stipulated rules and expectations.
Luma tries to bring levity and joy to the boys despite their tough experiences. She organizes team parties and takes them to movies. During one Halloween she gets them costumes and takes them to a nice neighborhood for a treat. Eventually, several of the Fugees go to college and end up being successful students. Mandela and Luma make up, and she helps him plan his future. Later, Luma moves her programs a notch higher to include a full-time school known as Fugee Academy.
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