"A lively, informative, and entertaining...underdog story that skillfully blends elements of human compassion, passion for a sport, determination, and endurance with overtones of societal pressure and racism. It's an exhilarating narrative that shows how perseverance and the ability to disregard the narrow-mindedness of xenophobia can lead to victory....An edifying and adrenaline-charged tale."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A Coach, a Team, and the Game that Brought a Divided Town Together
Named a "Best Book" of 2018 by Library Journal
“Expect the unexpected,” Lewiston High School soccer coach Mike McGraw has always told his players. But even he could not foresee the changes that would envelop his team, his school, and the city he has lived in his whole life.
Lewiston, Maine, was an economically struggling, overwhelmingly white former mill town located in one of the whitest states in America. When thousands of Somali refugees resettled on the banks of the Androscoggin River there, longtime residents grew uneasy. After the mayor publicly asked the Somalis to stop coming, and a string of anti-immigrant incidents stoked the fires of racial tensions, many in the community wondered if they would ever find peace.
But as Somali youth filled this traditional hockey town’s parks with their pick-up soccer games, the high school’s longtime soccer coach worked with the refugee community to integrate the new kids onto his team. He learned how their passion for the game could help heal old wounds and provide a path forward. The quest for the school’s first state championship title in soccer by this powerhouse team would help unite Lewiston while showing Maine a kind of soccer it had never seen before.
With exciting play-by-play detail accompanying the heartwarming story of these immigrant players, their families, their journey from the refugee camps of Kenya to the New England city where they settled, and the people who welcomed them, ONE GOAL tells the story of the team that would bring the community its first soccer championship. In the tradition of Friday Night Lights, MacFarland USA, and Outcasts United, readers go behind the tumult of this controversial team and onto the pitch, where the team’s quest to achieve state – and ultimately national – glory leads to a vital sense of understanding for players and spectators alike. ONE GOAL is a timely, politically significant saga about putting fear into a context and overcoming the prejudices that divide us.
"ONE GOAL is Friday Night Lights for the 21st century."
— Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls
"In this gripping account of Lewiston's journey to its first-ever high school soccer state championship, history professor Bass vividly tells the stories of the Somalis and Lewiston, exploring the resistance and racism the refugees faced in town and on the field....a heartening example of sport's ability to bring people together when it isn't pulling them apart....Engrossing and informative."
"ONE GOAL has made me feel optimistic about the country I live in. It's about so much more than sports. It illustrates how powerful and transcendent teamwork and community can be. It is a gem of a book."
— Mary Carillo
"At a time when America seems consumed by divisiveness and hate, along comes ONE GOAL, a beautiful and important reminder that humanity's strength is its togetherness. Yes, on the surface this is a soccer book. But Amy Bass' work is so much more. It's about overcoming odds, about embracing differences, about the triumph of will and spirit. A true gem of a book."
―Jeff Pearlman, NYT bestselling author of Gunslinger
"Amy Bass tells a story that encompasses many of the things people love about sports, but also epitomizes many of the reasons sports matter."
― Bob Costas
"In this noisy era of glib hot-takes and childish finger-pointing, it's too easy to forget that the national character -- hardworking, immigrant-fueled, optimistic -- was built from the bottom up. Let Amy Bass remind you. Let her take you to our frosty upper righthand corner, to Lewiston, Maine, where quiet heroes like Mike McGraw, Abdi H. and the magical Blue Devils show again just how it's done. This is not just a great story, deftly reported and unflinchingly told. It's not just a story of one obscure high school season. It's the American story, just when you feared that it might be fading fast, renewed."
― S.L. Price, Sports Illustrated senior writer
and author of Playing Through The Whistle: Steel, Football and an American Town
"Relevant and rewarding...Bass’s effective portrayal of Lewiston as a microcosm of America’s changing culture should be required reading."
― Publisher's Weekly
"The power of sports
in a community is illustrated convincingly in ONE GOAL."
-- Christian Science Monitor
"Amy Bass tells an endearing and inspirational story.... It is an important reminder that community strength, will and spirit can overcome fear and bigotry."
"Bass's account of the 2015 championship season crackles with excitement, and her narrative of teamwork and hard-won community provides a ray of hope in deeply divisive times."
― Shelf Awareness
"Amy Bass's storytelling is wondrous. She grips the reader with the truths of a roster of young men and their families who have survived war, poverty, displacement, and loss....A relevant tale to share in today's political climate where fear and bigotry can be conquered by inclusion, understanding and the beautiful game."
― Shireen Ahmed, blogger at "Tales from a Hajabi Footballer"
and co-host of "Burn It All Down"
"Bass captures the essence of this unlikely band of brothers perfectly. This isn’t a story about a soccer team....More than anything, this is a story of hope. The hope that brought thousands of Africans to a remote corner of the America in search of a better life. The hope that made a city finally open its arms to the children of those immigrants. The hope that our future still might be better than our past. I grew up in Lewiston. Mike McGraw was my first soccer coach. I couldn’t be happier to have his championship team represent my hometown. Or to have its journey portrayed so brilliantly in the pages of ONE GOAL"
― Tom Caron, New England Sports Network
"With ONE GOAL, Amy Bass gives us a story that is not only relevant to our national discourse, but essential. This is a book about all the big isms, but it is most of all a book about human beings, compellingly and movingly rendered."
― Jeremy Schaap, ESPN, NYT bestselling author of Cinderella Man and Triumph
"Passionate, wonderfully reported, riveting....Empathetic, comprehensive, adrenalized."
― New London Day
On the surface, [ONE GOAL] seems to be a soccer story, chronicling a high school soccer team as they try to win the state championship. But the community has a larger story to tell, and Bass does this masterfully. A touching account that is highly recommended for all readers.
― Library Journal
"Complicated, fascinating, and truly inspiring."
-- The Booklist Reader