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

Amy Bass. Hachette, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-39654-7
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. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/27/2017
Release date: 02/27/2018
Hardcover - 978-0-316-51101-8
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