Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fugees v. All Comers

Warren St. John has an an absolutely superb story in today's New York Times: the tale of a club composed of refugee kids in the Atlanta suburb of Clarkston. Some version of this story could probably be found in every major city in America, but its Southern locale gives it special resonance. The Fugees face everything from passive-aggressive harassment from pink-in-the-neck municipal officials to open racial taunting (and where is FIFA?). And yet from the sounds of it, they bring joy and invention to an otherwise mundane league of well-funded soccer-mom outfits.

I'm sure the team will be besieged with offers of help after this. The article's worth reading even if you're not philanthropically inclined.


Anonymous said... found the city's contact page with phone and email addresses - something tells me they'll get an earful over this.

I found some additional articles (at bottom of post) about the Fugees and Coach Mufleh as well. I'm surprised it took this long for a big media outlet to cover them.

Unfortunately, you know the Fugees are not a unique case - I'm sure it's more common than we want to admit.

Lynda said...

Wow, that is a great piece. I grew up in Northeast Georgia and I know all the little towns and places this article was talking about (and as a Southerner-born-and-bred, have a larger-than-average chip on my shoulder about the way outsiders portray "my" region, so I was delighted to see this was free of the usual stereotypes and simplifications).

The little town I grew up has seen quite an influx of Latino immigrants since I grew up and moved away, and during the World Cup my cousin mentioned to me she often sees Latinos playing soccer in the park there. This news does my heart good. Here's hoping that not only does soccer win in this country, but that the soccer-mad immigrant communities with all their talent and enthusiasm will FINALLY be integrated into the mainstream of the sport.

Zach Dundas said...

I recall the Oregonian did a very good story about a somewhat similar club in Portland called Santos a few years back. In that case, if I remember right, the club's emphasis was on getting low-income Hispanic players involved in the pricey high-level youth system.