Synopses & Reviews
The all-Hispanic boys' soccer team from Woodburn High has made the playoffs for nineteen straight years. As they prepare to make it twenty, the boys are determined that this will be the season they beat the wealthy suburban schools around them and finally win the Oregon state championship. Their spirited drive gives a rare sense of hope and unity to a blue-collar farming community that has been transformed by waves of immigrants over recent decades, a town locals call Little Mexico.
In 2005, Woodburn High's Bulldogs, aka Los Perros, will start the season with eight undocumented students, three boys who speak almost no English, a midfielder groomed to play for a pro Mexican team, a goalkeeper living in his third foster home, and an Irish-descended white coach desperate to lead all of them to success. Watched over by a south Texas transplant — a surrogate father to half the squad — this band of brothers must learn to come together on the field and look after each other off it.
More than just riveting sports writing, The Boys from Little Mexico is also about the fight for the future of the next generation and a hard, true look at boys dismissed as gangbangers, told to go home by lily-white sideline crowds. At school, these kids battle academically in a country where barely half of all Hispanic boys graduate and fewer still make it to college. Now, in a gutsy quest for their first state championship, one thing will become clear: Los Perros play the beautiful game with heart, pride, and their lives on the line. The wins and losses they notch along the way spin a striking and fast-paced tale of how sometimes it takes more than raw talent, discipline, and passion to capture the American Dream.
"In The Boys from Little Mexico, Steve Wilson does more than chase the American Dream — he captures it on the move. Wilson provides us with a glimpse of the future of sports in America, one that promises to be as rich and compelling as the past." Glenn Stout, author and Series Editor of The Best American Sports Writing
"I hate soccer ... but I loved this book. Steve Wilson has written a story where culture, sport, and good writing collide." Larry Colton, former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and author of Counting Coup
"Just as Buzz Bissinger did in Friday Night Lights, Steve Wilson manages to achieve the unexpected: a book about sports that turns out to be about so much more. He wrests poetry out of these boys' lives, while aiming directly for that one destination where we all seek home — the heart." Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North and The Devil's Highway
"With compassion and an unflinching eye, Steve Wilson offers us through sports a preview of a new America, one whose people may look different, but whose virtues of what we like to believe in ourselves remain triumphantly the same." Howard Bryant, ESPN senior writer and author of The Last Hero
One gutsy team plays the beautiful game with heart, pride, and their lives on the line, in an extraordinary cross between Friday Night Lights and Enrique's Journey.
About the Author
Steve Wilson lives with his family in Portland, Oregon, and teaches at Portland State University. This is his first book.
Table of Contents
The Field of Play
One: Steps to Success
Two: The Immigrants’ Game
Four: Water on Stone
Five: A Lush and Level Field
Six: El Norte
Nine: The Woodburn Curse
Ten: Reading and Writing
Eleven: Playing Rough
Twelve: The Fourth Seed
Thirteen: This Dream
Fourteen: Just a Game
Fifteen: Game Over