Luma Mufleh
31-year-old founder and volunteer coach of the Fugees; Jordanian by birth; decision to stay in U.S. following college alienated her from her family.
Beatrice Ziaty
Mother of Jeremiah and Mandela; Liberian; because of refugee and resettlement experience, terrified to let her boys out of her sight
Jeremiah Ziaty
Beatrice's eldest son; plays for Under 13 squad
Emanuel Ransom
Board member of community center; wants center to focus programs for "real Americans" (55)
Grace Balegamire
Plays for Under 13 squad; Congolese (DRC); father imprisoned in Central African Republic; last saw him when he was 5
Paula Balegamire
Congolese woman (DRC); mother of Grace (a boy); forced to leave behind husband, Joseph, imprisoned in Central Africa Republic; works for Luma's cleaning company
Bienvenue ("Bien") Ntwari
Originally from Burundi; traveled through Mozambique; brothers: Alex and Ive; mother: Generose; excited to find Grace, who also speaks Swahili
Chike Chime
Nigerian immigrant; legal U.S. resident for 15+ years; moved from NYC to ATL to open successful insurance business; clients mostly immigrants & refugees; attacked following traffic stop by Clarkston Police Officer Timothy Jordan
Lee Swaney
Mayor of Clarkston; in response to Lost Boys Club, forbids the playing of soccer at Milam Park/Armistead Field; in St. John's estimation, he fundamentally misunderstand the refugees: views them as a singular, monolithic group, rather than a collection of individuals and cultural backgrounds, and expects them to be willing and able to join into the local community.
Tracy Ediger
manager and tutor for Fugees; holds MD/PhD, but realized that she doesn't want to pursue careers in medicine and research; with sister, volunteered with a Christian group who helps refugees with transition; finds connection with refugees, despite differences in culture and language; in this role, meets Paula Balegamire, and through her, Luma
Liberian; best player on U-15s, but dismissed for refusal to cut his hair
Liberian-born; forced to choose between Prince and the Fugees.
Mandela Ziaty
Jeremiah's brother. Initially makes fun of Jeremiah for joining the team—wants to fit in with African Americans and play basketball. However, eventually changes his mind. Like Fornatee, struggles with the dispute between Luma and Prince, his fellow Liberian.
Kanue Biah
ember of Under 15; Liberian by birth. Lives with uncle and grandmother. Responsible for family's meals. No siblings; team provides family structure. Heartbroken by cancellation of season.
Member of Under 15; Mandela's close friend.
Bill Mehlinger
Owns and runs Thriftown, a grocery store. Saw opportunity in demographic changes, built store from conventional and failing supermarket to a thriving store that caters to culinary habits of a wide variety of cultures.
Hong Diep Vo
Vietnamese refugee and Thriftown employee; she suggests the Mehlinger rethink the store's business model and adapt to new customers.
William Perrin
Army veteran who helps saving his church by involving members of the immigrant and refugee community; Clarkston Baptist Church becomes Clarkston International Bible Church.
Tony Scipio
Clarkston police chief and native of Trinidad. Reform-minded and ambitious, he draws ire of many officers by demanding that they learn about newcomers and adapt their methods to better address cultural misunderstandings.
Qendrim Bushi
Kosovar by nationality; Albanian by ethnicity; Muslim by faith. Plays on U-13 team. Grandson of once-famous goalie and author of soccer text. Extended family scattered "from Norway to England and to Australia"; father, Xhalal works at Decatur-DeKalb Farmers' Market.
Jeremy Cole
Youth Services Coordinator for Refugee Family Services, an aid group in Stone Mountain. Macon native, earned MA in religion from UGA. Later converted to Islam.
Alex Ntwari
defender on U-15; older brother of Bien, Alex cares for sister Alyah and handles domestic chores while their mother works.
Idwar and Robin Dikori
Luma's "secret weapons," survivors of genocidal efforts launched on the Nuba Mtns. of central Sudan by an Islamist regime in capital, as well as a car accident that killed their mother and three of their siblings.
David Anderson
Coach of the Athens Gold Valiants; struggled to find direction, then found coaching