If you haven’t been linked to the New York Times article on The Fugees, a soccer team made of refugees in Georgia headed up by Luma Mufleh — well, take some time and read it.
The Fugees are indeed all refugees, from the most troubled corners — Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burundi, Congo, Gambia, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. Some have endured unimaginable hardship to get here: squalor in refugee camps, separation from siblings and parents. One saw his father killed in their home.
The Fugees, 9 to 17 years old, play on three teams divided by age. Their story is about children with miserable pasts trying to make good with strangers in a very different and sometimes hostile place. But as a season with the youngest of the three teams revealed, it is also a story about the challenges facing resettled refugees in this country. More than 900,000 have been admitted to the United States since 1993, and their presence seems to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.
They have a few months to find a new grassy place to keep playing soccer, due to the Mayor’s decree that there will be no soccer played in Clarkston, Ga. (Which, honestly, sounds so insane to me. I’m not super-sportsy, but I played soccer for a few years growing up. Almost everyone I knew did.) Find out more about their program, and if you’re so inclined — financially and emotionally — you can donate here: http://www.fugeesfamily.org/