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January 22, 2007

Help the (re)Fugees

Meet the (re)Fugees--an all refugee soccer club for kids ages 9 to 17 in Clarkston GA. The Fugees are seeking a new home after the mayor kicked them out of the city park.

Philosoraptor was so moved by the team's predicament that he emailed the coach to ask what he could do to help. You can learn more about the team and make a donation at

Philosoraptor also volunteered to make some fundraising t-shirts. The next question is what to put on said t-shirts. Hivemind, submit your t-shirt ideas.


This reminds me of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying that protestors can't use the Great Lawn of Central Park because it might damage the grass.

Now a mayor in Georgia says no soccer in a public park because it might damage the grass.

These mayors are disgraceful.

No they're not.

Soccer DOES destroy grass more than does any other sport. That is a very legitimate reason to want to keep it out of any park area where you want the grass to remain nice for the residents.

Besides, he's doing the kids a favor. Soccer sucks, and by making it harder for them to play the wretched scoring-challenged duller than watching paint dry game, he is speeding their assimilation into American life.

Buy the kids a few baseball gloves, then we're really making progress.

That is a wonderful story, Lindsay (at least the part about the coach and the kids). Thank you for posting it.

That is a very legitimate reason to want to keep it out of any park area where you want the grass to remain nice for the residents.

The real, American residents!

Er, just for the record, I didn't actually offer to MAKE the T-shirts...I don't even know how to do such a thing. I've just been corresponding with the coach, giving her ideas, spreading the word, etc. Right now the challenge is: come up with clever T-shirt ideas or other fund-raising ideas likely to, well, raise funds.

--The real, American residents!--

Americans love grass and loathe soccer. No matter other faults we have, those are two shining American virtues.

The article didn't convince me that the mayor has it out for the soccer team. On the other hand, football players wear cleats and so do soccer players. Obviously soccer players cover more ground per game, but that said, aren't the same grass maintenance strategies necessary for all kinds of fields where players use cleats? Maybe soccer fields need more maintenance, but I can't imagine it's a qualitatively different proposition to keep up a soccer field, especially one that has already successfully hosted a kids' soccer club for over a year. We're not talking FIFA here.

Isn't this just a deliberate decision to subsidize football and baseball, but not soccer? How much more would it cost to have the lawn serviced often enough to accommodate the soccer club, too?

Again, I'm not alleging any malice. I'm just thinking that the mayor could be thinking small and acting shortsighted. Here's an activity that's engaging large numbers of youth in a very positive way, it's funded largely by volunteer labor--and he's throwing it all in jeopardy because the city won't spring for a little extra turf maintenance. These are kids who have a positive outlet for the kinds of emotional problems that might cost the city and the community a large a great deal of money. I bet that whatever they spend on turf for the Fugees is a bargain.

I know at least five people who coach kids' soccer on regular athletic fields--schoolyards, community parks, etc. I don't know of a single team that's gotten evicted for decimating the grass.

I'm inclined to give the mayor the benefit of the doubt, too, on account of his reform of the police department. By the standards of small-town mayors in this country that was pretty remarkable, and it must have taken no small amount of courage. Whether its in that particular park or elsewhere, though, the city and community obviously need to be making some accomodation for these kids.

I'm not really inclined to give the mayor the benefit of the doubt when it comes to malice. I'll bet he's really mad about this. But did you see the stats? This is a town of 7,000 people. The federal government has settled, I think it's 17,000 (or 19,000, I'm too lazy to look) refugees in the general vicinity. Interestingly enough the person who wrote the article didn't tell us how many are settled in the town, but it sounds to me as though somebody WAY up the food chain just obliterated an entire way of life for an American town.

My heart goes out to the refugees, but my brain wonders why so many refugees got sent to this one, particular area. Doesn't seem all that fair and someone should look into that.

I'd give the mayor the benefit of the doubt, if there were any doubts more plausible than "the reporter misquoted and misrepresented me." The mayor is explicitly using soccer as a proxy for racism and xenophobia.

As an American soccer fan, it always amuses me that the sport I grew up playing and love is by far the one that people feel the need to go out of their way to disparage.

Phantom, seriously, I couldn't care less that you hate the sport. The majority of us born and bred fans have found other means to communicate and grow and nuture it without you (thank you internet) or your money (see below). Feel free to keep yelling from that soapbox, cuz we're moving on without you.

You're incorrect that soccer destroys grass more than any other sport. American football does that. 300 lb lineman digging in flinging their mass against each other while blocking does unmeasurably more damage to the center of a field than twenty 180 lb players running around the entire thing. There's a reason that Soldier Field had to resod the center of their playing surface for the NFC Championship and Gillette Stadium went to FieldTurf, and it wasn't soccer.

However, back to the Fugees story.
Universal has ponied up $500,000 to build a field for them. They're also planning a book and a movie on their story. I guess they see a possible financial gain there, but I'm just guessing. ;)

to ericjaffa two words ******* IDIOT

I hope the Fugees succeed in a town so behind the times. For those of you who seem to think soccer is not a sport go try it. Soccer is great for building relationships in trust thru team work also for physical fitness and endurance. Baseball as far as I can see is great for kids but their role models are doing things I wouldnt want my kids participating in steroids, drugs, DWI, infidelity. 40 year old men all roided out hitting home runs and cant run the bases what a joke of a sport it has become.

I actually live in Clarkston,GA, and as a person who knows many refugees in the area, and is on personal terms with all city officials here, I must say that the reporter indeed skewed every quote in the damn article. Also, as one of the oh-so-bad white American-born residents, I can attest that any misunderstandings between the city government, the Fugees, and other refugees is due to infrastructure problems. We're not a big town with lots of resources. Most of the American born people here live in substandard apartments, and are otherwise not financially mobile, as it were. Most residents see it as a problem of "Well, what do we have to offer these people? Not much." They feel overwhelmed. Some think that it would be better for the refugees to not be in such high concentrations. Yes, it may help them to be around other people going through the same adjustments as them, but to essentially dump thousands of already needy people in substandard apartment complexes, sometimes without even instructing them on how to use basic appliances, is ludicrous, if not criminal. And yes, there are a few people in town who are very old south, but the mayor is not really one of them. He's definitely a good ol' boy, but not in a racist way. The city council is comprised of people from all races and genders, by the way, and the mayor certainly isn't the final word on city business. Anyway, sorry for such a long comment. I just hate when people misunderstand my home town.

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