Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 434
Outcasts United is the story of a soccer team in the Southern town of Clarkston, Georgia. The soccer team is unlike any other because it is made up entirely of refugees. These families are part of a refugee-resettlement process and are learning to make homes in a foreign town that is not always ready to accept them. The story outlines how the coach and families succeed in the face of hardship. These are some quotes that best illustrate the themes of the story:
- "The family landed in Atlanta at night. They wandered off the airplane into a vertiginous swirl of strange images, sounds, and languages. They walked through the long corridors of the airport, past moving sidewalks, blinking murals, stands of strange-looking food, and a rush of people who all seemed to know exactly where in all that chaos they wanted to go."
This quote describes some of the many overwhelming differences refugees experience entering an unfamiliar country. The players and their families are brought to a town that is not prepared to accept them and yet they are expected to make new lives for themselves.
- "Putting Luma on a pedestal is counterproductive... Luma is really a normal person doing what she can for the people around her. If people can look at her and see that, that she's human, not a saint or a superhero, and that she doesn't—can't—do everything or effect miracles, then maybe they can say to themselves, 'I need to look around myself and see my neighborhood, and what is going on here and five streets over, and what I can do in terms of investing myself and my time, to be present for the people around me, and to do something positive for change in my community.'"
In many ways the story is a call to action. It asks that every American citizen become more engaged in their community. Rather than rely on the "heroes," this story asks that every one do their part to improve their community.
- “No one person can do everything . . . but we can all do something.”
The success of the soccer team was only made possible thanks to teamwork. The coach, players, families, and town all played a key role in the player's success.
- “…a group of refugee boys who had survived the unimaginable, strangers now in an unfamiliar land, playing the game with passion, focus, and grace that seemed, for a brief moment anyway, to nullify the effects of whatever misfortune they had experienced in the past.”
This story shares the inspirational power sports has to support youth in overcoming obstacles.
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