Summer Reading Assignment

the-other-wes-moore-bookOutcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference

By Warren St. John

Every first year student will be required to read Outcasts United prior to the start of the fall semester. There will be a quiz on the themes of the book and extensive discussion in your First Year Experience course. Discussions surrounding the book will also be held on campus during New Student Orientation. The book may also be used in courses in sociology, global studies, and English. As a result, it is crucial to read the book before coming to Becker in August 2015.

You will receive a free copy of the book during New Student Orientation. This is your copy, so feel free to make notes and mark up the book as you identify important themes, quotes, and discussion topics. Please bring the book with you when you come to your fall 2015 English and First Year Experience courses.

Book Synopsis

The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.

Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach. Warren St. John documents the lives of a diverse group of young people as they miraculously coalesce into a band of brothers, while also drawing a fascinating portrait of a fading American town struggling to accommodate its new arrivals. At the center of the story is fiery Coach Luma, who relentlessly drives her players to success on the soccer field while holding together their lives—and the lives of their families—in the face of a series of daunting challenges.

This fast-paced chronicle of a single season is a complex and inspiring tale of a small town becoming a global community—and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.

More information about the book can be found at:

Warren St. John discusses Outcasts United with Matt Lauer on the Today Show

Warren St. John and Coach Luma Mufleh on NPR’s All Things Considered

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Mosier,
Director of First Year Experience,


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