A junior high soccer team in Vancouver, with mostly refugee and immigrant teen players, is sponsored to play in a big tournament in Toronto. Abbas Wassef, a recent arrival from Syria and a striker on the team, is looking forward to playing the top team in Ontario where he will reconnect with a buddy from Syria.
Abbas has a big problem. He has witnessed a bad traffic accident that has given him flashbacks to the strife in Syria, and triggered a fear of airplanes and flying. But Abbas finds a way to conquer his fear and anxiety in time for the tournament. Along the way, he also helps his whole team deal with the pressures of being the only team at the tournament from outside of the GTA, being younger than most of the other players, and meeting the expectations of their sponsors back home.
Characters introduced in three other soccer-based novels, Golden Goal, Team Fugee and Tournament Fugee, appear in this book. The quartet of hi-lo novels offer young readers insight into the experiences of young refugees -- and offer refugee students validation for their experiences in dealing with a new culture and a new home.
DAVID STARR is the principal of Byrne Creek Community School, a grade 8-12 school in Burnaby, BC. Prior to that, he was the principal at Edmonds Community School, an elementary school in the same neighbourhood. A majority of students in these schools are recent immigrants to Canada. He is the author of another book in this soccer set, Golden Goal. He is also the author of From Bombs to Books, describing the experiences of immigrant youth in the school system. David is a Vancouver Canuck Community MVP.