A Home on the Field
The Great Latino Migration Comes to Smal
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A Home on the Field is about faith, loyalty, and trust. It is a parable in the tradition of Stand and Deliver and Hoosiers—a story of one team and their accidental coach who became certain heroes to the whole community.
For the past ten years, Siler City, North Carolina, has been at the front lines of immigration in the interior portion of the United States. Like a number of small Southern towns, workers come from traditional Latino enclaves across the United States, as well as from Latin American countries, to work in what is considered the home of industrial-scale poultry processing. At enormous risk, these people have come with the hope of a better life and a chance to realize their portion of the American Dream.
But it isn't always easy. Assimilation into the South is fraught with struggles, and in no place is this more poignant than in the schools. When Paul Cuadros packed his bags and moved south to study the impact of the burgeoning Latino community, he encountered a culture clash between the long-time residents and the newcomers that eventually boiled over into an anti-immigrant rally featuring former Klansman David Duke.
It became Paul's goal to show the growing numbers of Latino youth that their lives could be more than the cutting line at the poultry plants, that finishing high school and heading to college could be a reality. He needed to find something that the boys could commit to passionately, knowing that devotion to something bigger than them would be the key to helping the boys find where they fit in the world. The answer was soccer.
But Siler City, like so many other small rural communities, was a football town, and long-time residents saw soccer as a foreign sport and yet another accommodation to the newcomers. After an uphill battle, the Jets soccer team at Jordan-Matthews High School was born. Suffering setbacks and heartbreak, the majority Latino team, in only three seasons and against all odds, emerged poised to win the state championship.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
A Home on the Field
A Home on the Field is a timely book, wonderfully written, and told from the point of view of the coach and the players. Immigration is a contentious issue and there are few books out there that deal with it in a human way and tells a great story. The South is the location for migration of families from Mexico and Central America and Siler City is a prime destination for poultry processing work. A small Southern town goes from 1 percent Hispanic to almost 50 percent. Cuadros tells the story of this town in transformation, and the country too, through the struggle to establish a soccer team at the local high school where soccer is seen as a foreign sport. We learn how these kids came to Siler City, their struggles with integration, and finding a home in a strange place. We also learn how a small Mayberry RFD town handles this kind of change. And unlike so many other stories it's told by a Hispanic author about Hispanic characters and so the insight of immigrant life in America is explored from the inside. If immigration is an issue you're interested in it's a must read.