Today we are joined by Amy Bass
, author of the book One Goal: A Coach, A Team, and the Game that Brought a Divided Town Together
(Hachette Books, 2018). This is the fourth book for Bass, who is director of the honors program and a professor of history at the College of New Rochelle in New York. One Goal
is the story of a high school soccer team in Lewiston, Maine, that helped bring together a racially divided city. Lewiston, overwhelmingly white, became the home base for thousands of Somali refugees. Longtime residents of Lewiston were uncomfortable with people whose language, religion and customs were markedly different. A popular saying in Maine was "You're always from away," and yet Lewiston's citizens were having trouble adjusting to this latest group of immigrants from far away. Enter longtime Lewiston High School soccer coach Mike McGraw, who saw the potential in the young Somalis playing in pickup games in the city. Molding the group into a cohesive unit, McGraw and his squad weathered racial taunts from opponents and a less-than-ringing endorsement from Lewiston's mayor to bring an elusive soccer state championship to a traditionally hockey-mad area. Bass shows how trust, faith, hard work and some uncanny soccer ability helped bring glory and pride to a town that still struggles with coexistence between very different cultures.
Bob D'Angelo is working on his master's degree in history at Southern New Hampshire University. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida and spent more than three decades as a sportswriter and sports copy editor, including 28 years on the sports copy desk at The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit Bob DAngelo's Books and Blogs.