Olympics Field Hockey Slideshow

Pakistani former field hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed, who has died aged 50, had been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart (AFP Photo/RIZWAN TABASSUM)
Pakistani former field hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed, who has died aged 50, had been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart
Pakistani former field hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed, who has died aged 50, had been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart (AFP Photo/RIZWAN TABASSUM)
FILE - In this July 5, 2015, file photo, United States' Abby Wambach runs toward the stands to greet her wife after the team defeated Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia. Wambach has been elected to the New York State Public High School Athletic Associations Hall of Fame. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion heads a class that also includes coaches Andy Capellan and Charles Engel, field hockey star Tracey Fuchs, three-sport star Heidi Mann Vittengl and Section IV administrator Ben Nelson. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Soccer star Abby Wambach elected to athletic Hall of Fame
FILE - In this July 5, 2015, file photo, United States' Abby Wambach runs toward the stands to greet her wife after the team defeated Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia. Wambach has been elected to the New York State Public High School Athletic Associations Hall of Fame. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion heads a class that also includes coaches Andy Capellan and Charles Engel, field hockey star Tracey Fuchs, three-sport star Heidi Mann Vittengl and Section IV administrator Ben Nelson. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Muhammad Irfan Jr. (L) of Pakistan and Gurinder Singh (R) of India fight for the ball during their men's field hockey match (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)
Muhammad Irfan Jr. (L) of Pakistan and Gurinder Singh (R) of India fight for the ball during their men's field hockey match
Muhammad Irfan Jr. (L) of Pakistan and Gurinder Singh (R) of India fight for the ball during their men's field hockey match (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)
<p>NCAA stands for National Collegiate Athletic Association.</p><p>The non-profit organization is made up of 1,117 schools that are split into 40 conferences. among three divisions. Division II schools do not have as many athletic scholarships to offer as Division I schools, and Division III schools do not award any athletic scholarships.</p><p>There are 24 sports played by NCAA teams. Baseball, basketball (men's and women's), beach volleyball, bowling, cross country (men's and women's), fencing, field hockey, football, golf (men's and women's), gymnastics (men's and women's), ice hockey (men's and women's), lacrosse (men's and women's), rifle, rowing, skiing, soccer (men's and women's), softball, swimming and diving (men's and women's), tennis (men's and women's), indoor track (men's and women's), outdoor track (men's and women's), volleyball (men's and women's), water polo (men's and women's) and wrestling are the sports the NCAA offers.</p><p>The organization was founded in 1906 and its headquarters is in Indianapolis.</p><p>There are 351 teams in Division I men's basketball, 349 Division I women's basketball teams and 252 Division I football teams (129 in Division I-A and 123 in Division I-AA).</p>
What Does NCAA Stand For?

NCAA stands for National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The non-profit organization is made up of 1,117 schools that are split into 40 conferences. among three divisions. Division II schools do not have as many athletic scholarships to offer as Division I schools, and Division III schools do not award any athletic scholarships.

There are 24 sports played by NCAA teams. Baseball, basketball (men's and women's), beach volleyball, bowling, cross country (men's and women's), fencing, field hockey, football, golf (men's and women's), gymnastics (men's and women's), ice hockey (men's and women's), lacrosse (men's and women's), rifle, rowing, skiing, soccer (men's and women's), softball, swimming and diving (men's and women's), tennis (men's and women's), indoor track (men's and women's), outdoor track (men's and women's), volleyball (men's and women's), water polo (men's and women's) and wrestling are the sports the NCAA offers.

The organization was founded in 1906 and its headquarters is in Indianapolis.

There are 351 teams in Division I men's basketball, 349 Division I women's basketball teams and 252 Division I football teams (129 in Division I-A and 123 in Division I-AA).

<p>ONE GOAL<em> tells the inspiring story of a city and its high school soccer team—the Blue Devils of Lewiston, Maine—and how their quest for a state championship title united a city that had undergone dramatic change after thousands of Somali refugees resettled there. </em></p><p><em>Lewiston is an economically struggling, overwhelmingly white, Catholic, mill town in one of the whitest states in America, and racial tensions hit a fever pitch as longtime residents and newcomers were uneasy living side by side with their new neighbors. They spoke a different language and practiced a different religion, and matters weren’t helped when the mayor asked Somalis to stop coming. Lewiston’s long history with French-Canadian immigrant factory workers did nothing to dispel myths about the Somalis, despite the constant reiterations of reality from city officials, community leaders, and teachers like Ronda Fournier and high school soccer coach Mike McGraw. But McGraw, who had come close to a state title back in 1991, began to see how newcomers like Shobow Saban could help lead the way, and integrated the refugee kids onto his team. If he could put the rules of the game to work for his increasingly diverse team, perhaps the community would follow in their footsteps, and perhaps their shared passion for soccer would help heal old wounds. </em></p><p><em>The following is adapted from <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316396540/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0316396540&linkId=0de3868df685ef161049ca52b6b971f9&tag=sisocceronegoalbook0223-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together</a> by Amy Bass, published by Hachette Books. Copyright © Amy Bass 2018.</em></p><p>Soccer lends itself to a particular kind of teamwork. It is a game of continuity, with more flow than ruptures. It doesn’t reorganize after a whistle, like basketball, or have a to-do list like the innings of a baseball game. To score in soccer, a team has to move the ball through an enormous amount of space, making decisions about who will take it where, from the first touch until someone sends it hurtling toward the net. Just by doing what a soccer team was supposed to do, the Blue Devils could become an example to the community.</p><p>Ronda Fournier, an assistant principal at Montello, often heard McGraw talk about “the ball” as she watched him adapt to change. An unapologetic “girl from the backwoods,” Fournier grew up in Sabattus, a small town just a stone’s throw from Lewiston, and attended Oak Hill High School, where football reigns supreme. A three-sport athlete herself—field hockey, basketball, and softball—she studied education at the University of New England and eventually landed in the biology classroom next to McGraw.</p><p>“He’s a really special man,” she says, smiling, a heavy Maine accent soaking every word. “You know? We are all blessed to have him as a part of our lives.”</p><p>Over the years, she got to know a lot of soccer players. If McGraw stepped out for a moment, they knocked on her door instead.</p><p>“Mrs. Fournier, you gonna let us in so we can put away our soccer gear?” they’d ask. “Yep, no problem,” she’d answer. “I’ll put it in for ya.”</p><p>Over the course of ten years, she and the coach developed a close working relationship. Few people had a better view to see how McGraw developed his winning formula.</p><p>“I remember him telling me of how difficult it was in the beginning, but it was all about the soccer.”</p><p>By prioritizing the game, she says, McGraw could make sure “the other stuff just didn’t interfere.” They didn’t have to have conversations about where a player was from, or what religion he practiced, or what language he spoke, or what his family had been through. Instead, they could focus on what a kid could do on the pitch.</p><p>McGraw, the players still joke, doesn’t care where they’re from as long as they pass the ball. “I watched Mike in the classroom for years. I see him out on the coaching field, and he does the same thing,” says Fournier. “He takes a kid’s strength, and he helps that kid use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. He shows how they’re related, so that a kid can capitalize.”</p><p>Fournier pauses. “Any kid,” she says, and then waits another moment before repeating it, with emphasis. “Any. Kid.”</p><p>Fournier knows well the challenges of teaching here, but she doesn’t see the Somali influx as anything other than Lewiston being Lewiston. The newest immigrants have needs, just like those who came before them, and it is the schools’ job to meet them.</p><p>“It started with the French-Canadians, right?” she says.</p><p>Her own grandmother came from Canada, her grandfather from Scotland. They worked full-time shifts at the Rubber Heel, a long-gone shoe manufacturing plant in Sabattus, while growing cucumbers for the Litchfield pickle plant as a side job.</p><p>“You know, Lewiston’s gonna be kind of rough,” she remembers people saying when she first considered the job in 2005. “Things are going to be different—you sure you want to go teach there?”</p><p>“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it matters where the kids come from,” she told them, shrugging off the comments. “They all need the same thing.”</p><p>She knew what people were too polite to come right out and say. Lewiston kids, among the poorest in the state, were considered problematic well before the Somalis came. But now, according to rumors, things were worse. Kids praying in the hallway, speaking different languages, dressing in “weird” clothes, eating “strange” foods. But Fournier didn’t care what anyone thought they knew about Lewiston High School. Teaching was teaching.</p><p>“To me, it didn’t matter at all,” she says. “Kids need love, they all need to know that somebody cared about them. And now they all want to play soccer.”</p><p>Fournier relied on McGraw for advice to help his players in her classes. He used the same strategies in the classroom he did on the field, emphasizing teamwork, urging her to call on a struggling student’s classmates to help. There was no question McGraw knew what was best for the players, academically, on the field, or just walking down the hallway.</p><p>But McGraw, too, faced challenges. Names no longer rolled off his tongue, and at times he resorted to calling players by their numbers until he became more familiar with pronunciations. The high school yearbook showed just how rapidly surnames in Lewiston were changing; the “A” section of class photos grew quickly because of Somali surnames. In the early days, aside from class photos, the soccer pages were the only place Somali students appeared. They weren’t photographed at prom. There were no casual photographs of them hanging in hallways or jumping around during Spirit Week. No one paid to put their baby picture in the back pages because such photos didn’t exist; if they did, there was no money for such things.</p><p>But on the soccer field, Somali students started to lay claim, quickly becoming the majority of the varsity roster. As McGraw strategized his so-called advantage of the ball to integrate the team, he also helped incorporate the new students into the culture of the high school. He didn’t think twice about it—the game came first, and trust worked both ways. He knew that when those first Somali students came to talk to him about playing, some level of trust was established. But he had to make it grow.</p><p>McGraw knew that whatever happened on the field— teamwork, communication, patience, and persistence—could impact the community as a whole. But it was going to take some serious coaching, and not just in terms of scoring goals. There’d been animosity and growing pains—all of his players had stories. Hallway skirmishes. Standoffs in the cafeteria. “Go Back to Africa,” among other things, scrawled on bathroom walls or in the dirt on car windows. White kids telling Somali kids that they paid for their shoes, their food, and their apartments. Fights in the parking lot. Teachers who showed Black Hawk Down in class or reminded students that their behavior wasn’t acceptable “in this country.” McGraw knew he had to do more than yell “together” from the sideline. Moving together, winning together wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems. But it was a first step. What, he wondered, was the next step?</p><p>Shobow remembers it well. It happened on a hot day in the early fall of his freshman year. McGraw saw the players getting ready as he approached the practice field. He watched them pulling up their long socks, strapping on shin guards, and huddled over cleats, trying to get knots out of tangled laces. They weren’t together, he realized, and there was a pattern. The Somali kids, Shobow included, sat in the shade by the garage, leaning against the cool bricks. The white kids were over in the sun, sitting around the light pole. Both groups were talking, separately. Both groups were getting ready, separately.</p><p>This, McGraw thought, has to change. It has to change right now. As the coach, he had to change it. He had no doubt he could succeed at making this better; this was one of his strengths. Soccer was the connector. He had to make them see that.</p><p>“I want you guys to come over here in the middle and sit,” he called as he walked over. They looked up, unsure of what he meant. He started pointing, moving players around, making sure they mixed up. Ali here, Jonny there.</p><p>“You!” McGraw roared, pointing at Shobow. His voice had yet to descend into its usual midseason rasp. “Come here—sit.”</p><p>Shobow hopped up almost instantly, not just because coach just told him to, but also because he realized what McGraw was trying to do. He wanted to bring them together. He wanted to help them be together. This, thought Shobow, was good.</p><p>McGraw continued to point, calling each of them out, until he was satisfied with the reconfiguration. Now they are speckled, he thought. Perfect. It was time to take an old-school idea of team and apply it to these players who sat before him. He wasn’t trying to save the world; he wanted to win. And to do that, he needed to build relationships, something he was good at. On the field, at least, he needed them to shed their identities—white, black, Muslim, Catholic, Franco, Somali, native, immigrant—and become something new: a team.</p><p>“Okay, this is how it’s gonna be,” McGraw started. “It has to be this way—this is how a team plays. This is how I want you to be on the field and off the field: together.”</p><p>The players looked at one another and began to relax. Almost immediately, McGraw noticed a change in their demeanors, their bodies, their faces.</p><p>“To play the game, you’re gonna have to play together. It’s the only way to play,” he continued.</p><p>He noticed some of them starting to smile. He was on to something. Keep going, he thought. Take it all the way.</p><p>“You’re going to have to talk to each other, because it’s the only way we’re gonna win,” he continued. “Sometimes our communities don’t understand each other, but you can show the adults how it is supposed to be. By playing together, that’ll send a message that our cultures can get along.”</p><p>But he knew it was going to take more than suiting up together. Learning how to be teammates, if not friends, was a process on and off the field.</p><p>“This is how I want you to look everywhere you go,” McGraw continued. “Everywhere. If you’re going to the store, if you’re going to class, you guys have to do it together. High-fives in the hallway. You need to hang out together. You don’t have to sit together in the cafeteria if you don’t want to, but you need to stick up for each other and be together. It’s a brotherhood.”</p><p>Wow, thought Shobow, stretching out his thin legs. From his new location on the grass, the sun on his back, he liked what he was hearing. He wanted his team to be united. A new sense of team spirit came across him, a deeper sense of connection. It was encouraging to hear Coach talk about this, to see him face it headon. Shobow knew from his friendship with Jonny how important this was.</p><p>McGraw finished his speech. It was time for practice. The players got up and started walking onto the field to warm up.</p><p>“Good job, Coach,” Shobow said to McGraw in a low voice as he walked past him, keeping his eyes down out of respect. “That was good.”</p><p>McGraw smiled, satisfied. For the next decade, it would be almost impossible to talk about Blue Devils soccer without referring to the day McGraw created his so-called speckled team, his constant sideline cry of “Together! Together!” taking on new meaning.</p><p>“How would you guys say it?” he asked a few Somalis on the team one day. “How would you say ‘together’?”</p><p><em>Pamoja ndugu, </em>a few replied. It was Swahili, one of the many languages of the refugee camps. It meant “together brothers.”</p><p>It became their rallying cry. “One, two, three!” they shouted before every game, huddled together, hands in the middle, McGraw at the center. <em>“PAMOJA NDUGU!”</em></p>
How a High School Soccer Team United a Racially Divided Town

ONE GOAL tells the inspiring story of a city and its high school soccer team—the Blue Devils of Lewiston, Maine—and how their quest for a state championship title united a city that had undergone dramatic change after thousands of Somali refugees resettled there.

Lewiston is an economically struggling, overwhelmingly white, Catholic, mill town in one of the whitest states in America, and racial tensions hit a fever pitch as longtime residents and newcomers were uneasy living side by side with their new neighbors. They spoke a different language and practiced a different religion, and matters weren’t helped when the mayor asked Somalis to stop coming. Lewiston’s long history with French-Canadian immigrant factory workers did nothing to dispel myths about the Somalis, despite the constant reiterations of reality from city officials, community leaders, and teachers like Ronda Fournier and high school soccer coach Mike McGraw. But McGraw, who had come close to a state title back in 1991, began to see how newcomers like Shobow Saban could help lead the way, and integrated the refugee kids onto his team. If he could put the rules of the game to work for his increasingly diverse team, perhaps the community would follow in their footsteps, and perhaps their shared passion for soccer would help heal old wounds.

The following is adapted from One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together by Amy Bass, published by Hachette Books. Copyright © Amy Bass 2018.

Soccer lends itself to a particular kind of teamwork. It is a game of continuity, with more flow than ruptures. It doesn’t reorganize after a whistle, like basketball, or have a to-do list like the innings of a baseball game. To score in soccer, a team has to move the ball through an enormous amount of space, making decisions about who will take it where, from the first touch until someone sends it hurtling toward the net. Just by doing what a soccer team was supposed to do, the Blue Devils could become an example to the community.

Ronda Fournier, an assistant principal at Montello, often heard McGraw talk about “the ball” as she watched him adapt to change. An unapologetic “girl from the backwoods,” Fournier grew up in Sabattus, a small town just a stone’s throw from Lewiston, and attended Oak Hill High School, where football reigns supreme. A three-sport athlete herself—field hockey, basketball, and softball—she studied education at the University of New England and eventually landed in the biology classroom next to McGraw.

“He’s a really special man,” she says, smiling, a heavy Maine accent soaking every word. “You know? We are all blessed to have him as a part of our lives.”

Over the years, she got to know a lot of soccer players. If McGraw stepped out for a moment, they knocked on her door instead.

“Mrs. Fournier, you gonna let us in so we can put away our soccer gear?” they’d ask. “Yep, no problem,” she’d answer. “I’ll put it in for ya.”

Over the course of ten years, she and the coach developed a close working relationship. Few people had a better view to see how McGraw developed his winning formula.

“I remember him telling me of how difficult it was in the beginning, but it was all about the soccer.”

By prioritizing the game, she says, McGraw could make sure “the other stuff just didn’t interfere.” They didn’t have to have conversations about where a player was from, or what religion he practiced, or what language he spoke, or what his family had been through. Instead, they could focus on what a kid could do on the pitch.

McGraw, the players still joke, doesn’t care where they’re from as long as they pass the ball. “I watched Mike in the classroom for years. I see him out on the coaching field, and he does the same thing,” says Fournier. “He takes a kid’s strength, and he helps that kid use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. He shows how they’re related, so that a kid can capitalize.”

Fournier pauses. “Any kid,” she says, and then waits another moment before repeating it, with emphasis. “Any. Kid.”

Fournier knows well the challenges of teaching here, but she doesn’t see the Somali influx as anything other than Lewiston being Lewiston. The newest immigrants have needs, just like those who came before them, and it is the schools’ job to meet them.

“It started with the French-Canadians, right?” she says.

Her own grandmother came from Canada, her grandfather from Scotland. They worked full-time shifts at the Rubber Heel, a long-gone shoe manufacturing plant in Sabattus, while growing cucumbers for the Litchfield pickle plant as a side job.

“You know, Lewiston’s gonna be kind of rough,” she remembers people saying when she first considered the job in 2005. “Things are going to be different—you sure you want to go teach there?”

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it matters where the kids come from,” she told them, shrugging off the comments. “They all need the same thing.”

She knew what people were too polite to come right out and say. Lewiston kids, among the poorest in the state, were considered problematic well before the Somalis came. But now, according to rumors, things were worse. Kids praying in the hallway, speaking different languages, dressing in “weird” clothes, eating “strange” foods. But Fournier didn’t care what anyone thought they knew about Lewiston High School. Teaching was teaching.

“To me, it didn’t matter at all,” she says. “Kids need love, they all need to know that somebody cared about them. And now they all want to play soccer.”

Fournier relied on McGraw for advice to help his players in her classes. He used the same strategies in the classroom he did on the field, emphasizing teamwork, urging her to call on a struggling student’s classmates to help. There was no question McGraw knew what was best for the players, academically, on the field, or just walking down the hallway.

But McGraw, too, faced challenges. Names no longer rolled off his tongue, and at times he resorted to calling players by their numbers until he became more familiar with pronunciations. The high school yearbook showed just how rapidly surnames in Lewiston were changing; the “A” section of class photos grew quickly because of Somali surnames. In the early days, aside from class photos, the soccer pages were the only place Somali students appeared. They weren’t photographed at prom. There were no casual photographs of them hanging in hallways or jumping around during Spirit Week. No one paid to put their baby picture in the back pages because such photos didn’t exist; if they did, there was no money for such things.

But on the soccer field, Somali students started to lay claim, quickly becoming the majority of the varsity roster. As McGraw strategized his so-called advantage of the ball to integrate the team, he also helped incorporate the new students into the culture of the high school. He didn’t think twice about it—the game came first, and trust worked both ways. He knew that when those first Somali students came to talk to him about playing, some level of trust was established. But he had to make it grow.

McGraw knew that whatever happened on the field— teamwork, communication, patience, and persistence—could impact the community as a whole. But it was going to take some serious coaching, and not just in terms of scoring goals. There’d been animosity and growing pains—all of his players had stories. Hallway skirmishes. Standoffs in the cafeteria. “Go Back to Africa,” among other things, scrawled on bathroom walls or in the dirt on car windows. White kids telling Somali kids that they paid for their shoes, their food, and their apartments. Fights in the parking lot. Teachers who showed Black Hawk Down in class or reminded students that their behavior wasn’t acceptable “in this country.” McGraw knew he had to do more than yell “together” from the sideline. Moving together, winning together wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems. But it was a first step. What, he wondered, was the next step?

Shobow remembers it well. It happened on a hot day in the early fall of his freshman year. McGraw saw the players getting ready as he approached the practice field. He watched them pulling up their long socks, strapping on shin guards, and huddled over cleats, trying to get knots out of tangled laces. They weren’t together, he realized, and there was a pattern. The Somali kids, Shobow included, sat in the shade by the garage, leaning against the cool bricks. The white kids were over in the sun, sitting around the light pole. Both groups were talking, separately. Both groups were getting ready, separately.

This, McGraw thought, has to change. It has to change right now. As the coach, he had to change it. He had no doubt he could succeed at making this better; this was one of his strengths. Soccer was the connector. He had to make them see that.

“I want you guys to come over here in the middle and sit,” he called as he walked over. They looked up, unsure of what he meant. He started pointing, moving players around, making sure they mixed up. Ali here, Jonny there.

“You!” McGraw roared, pointing at Shobow. His voice had yet to descend into its usual midseason rasp. “Come here—sit.”

Shobow hopped up almost instantly, not just because coach just told him to, but also because he realized what McGraw was trying to do. He wanted to bring them together. He wanted to help them be together. This, thought Shobow, was good.

McGraw continued to point, calling each of them out, until he was satisfied with the reconfiguration. Now they are speckled, he thought. Perfect. It was time to take an old-school idea of team and apply it to these players who sat before him. He wasn’t trying to save the world; he wanted to win. And to do that, he needed to build relationships, something he was good at. On the field, at least, he needed them to shed their identities—white, black, Muslim, Catholic, Franco, Somali, native, immigrant—and become something new: a team.

“Okay, this is how it’s gonna be,” McGraw started. “It has to be this way—this is how a team plays. This is how I want you to be on the field and off the field: together.”

The players looked at one another and began to relax. Almost immediately, McGraw noticed a change in their demeanors, their bodies, their faces.

“To play the game, you’re gonna have to play together. It’s the only way to play,” he continued.

He noticed some of them starting to smile. He was on to something. Keep going, he thought. Take it all the way.

“You’re going to have to talk to each other, because it’s the only way we’re gonna win,” he continued. “Sometimes our communities don’t understand each other, but you can show the adults how it is supposed to be. By playing together, that’ll send a message that our cultures can get along.”

But he knew it was going to take more than suiting up together. Learning how to be teammates, if not friends, was a process on and off the field.

“This is how I want you to look everywhere you go,” McGraw continued. “Everywhere. If you’re going to the store, if you’re going to class, you guys have to do it together. High-fives in the hallway. You need to hang out together. You don’t have to sit together in the cafeteria if you don’t want to, but you need to stick up for each other and be together. It’s a brotherhood.”

Wow, thought Shobow, stretching out his thin legs. From his new location on the grass, the sun on his back, he liked what he was hearing. He wanted his team to be united. A new sense of team spirit came across him, a deeper sense of connection. It was encouraging to hear Coach talk about this, to see him face it headon. Shobow knew from his friendship with Jonny how important this was.

McGraw finished his speech. It was time for practice. The players got up and started walking onto the field to warm up.

“Good job, Coach,” Shobow said to McGraw in a low voice as he walked past him, keeping his eyes down out of respect. “That was good.”

McGraw smiled, satisfied. For the next decade, it would be almost impossible to talk about Blue Devils soccer without referring to the day McGraw created his so-called speckled team, his constant sideline cry of “Together! Together!” taking on new meaning.

“How would you guys say it?” he asked a few Somalis on the team one day. “How would you say ‘together’?”

Pamoja ndugu, a few replied. It was Swahili, one of the many languages of the refugee camps. It meant “together brothers.”

It became their rallying cry. “One, two, three!” they shouted before every game, huddled together, hands in the middle, McGraw at the center. “PAMOJA NDUGU!”

<p>ONE GOAL<em> tells the inspiring story of a city and its high school soccer team—the Blue Devils of Lewiston, Maine—and how their quest for a state championship title united a city that had undergone dramatic change after thousands of Somali refugees resettled there. </em></p><p><em>Lewiston is an economically struggling, overwhelmingly white, Catholic, mill town in one of the whitest states in America, and racial tensions hit a fever pitch as longtime residents and newcomers were uneasy living side by side with their new neighbors. They spoke a different language and practiced a different religion, and matters weren’t helped when the mayor asked Somalis to stop coming. Lewiston’s long history with French-Canadian immigrant factory workers did nothing to dispel myths about the Somalis, despite the constant reiterations of reality from city officials, community leaders, and teachers like Ronda Fournier and high school soccer coach Mike McGraw. But McGraw, who had come close to a state title back in 1991, began to see how newcomers like Shobow Saban could help lead the way, and integrated the refugee kids onto his team. If he could put the rules of the game to work for his increasingly diverse team, perhaps the community would follow in their footsteps, and perhaps their shared passion for soccer would help heal old wounds. </em></p><p><em>The following is adapted from <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316396540/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0316396540&linkId=0de3868df685ef161049ca52b6b971f9&tag=sisocceronegoalbook0223-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together</a> by Amy Bass, published by Hachette Books. Copyright © Amy Bass 2018.</em></p><p>Soccer lends itself to a particular kind of teamwork. It is a game of continuity, with more flow than ruptures. It doesn’t reorganize after a whistle, like basketball, or have a to-do list like the innings of a baseball game. To score in soccer, a team has to move the ball through an enormous amount of space, making decisions about who will take it where, from the first touch until someone sends it hurtling toward the net. Just by doing what a soccer team was supposed to do, the Blue Devils could become an example to the community.</p><p>Ronda Fournier, an assistant principal at Montello, often heard McGraw talk about “the ball” as she watched him adapt to change. An unapologetic “girl from the backwoods,” Fournier grew up in Sabattus, a small town just a stone’s throw from Lewiston, and attended Oak Hill High School, where football reigns supreme. A three-sport athlete herself—field hockey, basketball, and softball—she studied education at the University of New England and eventually landed in the biology classroom next to McGraw.</p><p>“He’s a really special man,” she says, smiling, a heavy Maine accent soaking every word. “You know? We are all blessed to have him as a part of our lives.”</p><p>Over the years, she got to know a lot of soccer players. If McGraw stepped out for a moment, they knocked on her door instead.</p><p>“Mrs. Fournier, you gonna let us in so we can put away our soccer gear?” they’d ask. “Yep, no problem,” she’d answer. “I’ll put it in for ya.”</p><p>Over the course of ten years, she and the coach developed a close working relationship. Few people had a better view to see how McGraw developed his winning formula.</p><p>“I remember him telling me of how difficult it was in the beginning, but it was all about the soccer.”</p><p>By prioritizing the game, she says, McGraw could make sure “the other stuff just didn’t interfere.” They didn’t have to have conversations about where a player was from, or what religion he practiced, or what language he spoke, or what his family had been through. Instead, they could focus on what a kid could do on the pitch.</p><p>McGraw, the players still joke, doesn’t care where they’re from as long as they pass the ball. “I watched Mike in the classroom for years. I see him out on the coaching field, and he does the same thing,” says Fournier. “He takes a kid’s strength, and he helps that kid use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. He shows how they’re related, so that a kid can capitalize.”</p><p>Fournier pauses. “Any kid,” she says, and then waits another moment before repeating it, with emphasis. “Any. Kid.”</p><p>Fournier knows well the challenges of teaching here, but she doesn’t see the Somali influx as anything other than Lewiston being Lewiston. The newest immigrants have needs, just like those who came before them, and it is the schools’ job to meet them.</p><p>“It started with the French-Canadians, right?” she says.</p><p>Her own grandmother came from Canada, her grandfather from Scotland. They worked full-time shifts at the Rubber Heel, a long-gone shoe manufacturing plant in Sabattus, while growing cucumbers for the Litchfield pickle plant as a side job.</p><p>“You know, Lewiston’s gonna be kind of rough,” she remembers people saying when she first considered the job in 2005. “Things are going to be different—you sure you want to go teach there?”</p><p>“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it matters where the kids come from,” she told them, shrugging off the comments. “They all need the same thing.”</p><p>She knew what people were too polite to come right out and say. Lewiston kids, among the poorest in the state, were considered problematic well before the Somalis came. But now, according to rumors, things were worse. Kids praying in the hallway, speaking different languages, dressing in “weird” clothes, eating “strange” foods. But Fournier didn’t care what anyone thought they knew about Lewiston High School. Teaching was teaching.</p><p>“To me, it didn’t matter at all,” she says. “Kids need love, they all need to know that somebody cared about them. And now they all want to play soccer.”</p><p>Fournier relied on McGraw for advice to help his players in her classes. He used the same strategies in the classroom he did on the field, emphasizing teamwork, urging her to call on a struggling student’s classmates to help. There was no question McGraw knew what was best for the players, academically, on the field, or just walking down the hallway.</p><p>But McGraw, too, faced challenges. Names no longer rolled off his tongue, and at times he resorted to calling players by their numbers until he became more familiar with pronunciations. The high school yearbook showed just how rapidly surnames in Lewiston were changing; the “A” section of class photos grew quickly because of Somali surnames. In the early days, aside from class photos, the soccer pages were the only place Somali students appeared. They weren’t photographed at prom. There were no casual photographs of them hanging in hallways or jumping around during Spirit Week. No one paid to put their baby picture in the back pages because such photos didn’t exist; if they did, there was no money for such things.</p><p>But on the soccer field, Somali students started to lay claim, quickly becoming the majority of the varsity roster. As McGraw strategized his so-called advantage of the ball to integrate the team, he also helped incorporate the new students into the culture of the high school. He didn’t think twice about it—the game came first, and trust worked both ways. He knew that when those first Somali students came to talk to him about playing, some level of trust was established. But he had to make it grow.</p><p>McGraw knew that whatever happened on the field— teamwork, communication, patience, and persistence—could impact the community as a whole. But it was going to take some serious coaching, and not just in terms of scoring goals. There’d been animosity and growing pains—all of his players had stories. Hallway skirmishes. Standoffs in the cafeteria. “Go Back to Africa,” among other things, scrawled on bathroom walls or in the dirt on car windows. White kids telling Somali kids that they paid for their shoes, their food, and their apartments. Fights in the parking lot. Teachers who showed Black Hawk Down in class or reminded students that their behavior wasn’t acceptable “in this country.” McGraw knew he had to do more than yell “together” from the sideline. Moving together, winning together wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems. But it was a first step. What, he wondered, was the next step?</p><p>Shobow remembers it well. It happened on a hot day in the early fall of his freshman year. McGraw saw the players getting ready as he approached the practice field. He watched them pulling up their long socks, strapping on shin guards, and huddled over cleats, trying to get knots out of tangled laces. They weren’t together, he realized, and there was a pattern. The Somali kids, Shobow included, sat in the shade by the garage, leaning against the cool bricks. The white kids were over in the sun, sitting around the light pole. Both groups were talking, separately. Both groups were getting ready, separately.</p><p>This, McGraw thought, has to change. It has to change right now. As the coach, he had to change it. He had no doubt he could succeed at making this better; this was one of his strengths. Soccer was the connector. He had to make them see that.</p><p>“I want you guys to come over here in the middle and sit,” he called as he walked over. They looked up, unsure of what he meant. He started pointing, moving players around, making sure they mixed up. Ali here, Jonny there.</p><p>“You!” McGraw roared, pointing at Shobow. His voice had yet to descend into its usual midseason rasp. “Come here—sit.”</p><p>Shobow hopped up almost instantly, not just because coach just told him to, but also because he realized what McGraw was trying to do. He wanted to bring them together. He wanted to help them be together. This, thought Shobow, was good.</p><p>McGraw continued to point, calling each of them out, until he was satisfied with the reconfiguration. Now they are speckled, he thought. Perfect. It was time to take an old-school idea of team and apply it to these players who sat before him. He wasn’t trying to save the world; he wanted to win. And to do that, he needed to build relationships, something he was good at. On the field, at least, he needed them to shed their identities—white, black, Muslim, Catholic, Franco, Somali, native, immigrant—and become something new: a team.</p><p>“Okay, this is how it’s gonna be,” McGraw started. “It has to be this way—this is how a team plays. This is how I want you to be on the field and off the field: together.”</p><p>The players looked at one another and began to relax. Almost immediately, McGraw noticed a change in their demeanors, their bodies, their faces.</p><p>“To play the game, you’re gonna have to play together. It’s the only way to play,” he continued.</p><p>He noticed some of them starting to smile. He was on to something. Keep going, he thought. Take it all the way.</p><p>“You’re going to have to talk to each other, because it’s the only way we’re gonna win,” he continued. “Sometimes our communities don’t understand each other, but you can show the adults how it is supposed to be. By playing together, that’ll send a message that our cultures can get along.”</p><p>But he knew it was going to take more than suiting up together. Learning how to be teammates, if not friends, was a process on and off the field.</p><p>“This is how I want you to look everywhere you go,” McGraw continued. “Everywhere. If you’re going to the store, if you’re going to class, you guys have to do it together. High-fives in the hallway. You need to hang out together. You don’t have to sit together in the cafeteria if you don’t want to, but you need to stick up for each other and be together. It’s a brotherhood.”</p><p>Wow, thought Shobow, stretching out his thin legs. From his new location on the grass, the sun on his back, he liked what he was hearing. He wanted his team to be united. A new sense of team spirit came across him, a deeper sense of connection. It was encouraging to hear Coach talk about this, to see him face it headon. Shobow knew from his friendship with Jonny how important this was.</p><p>McGraw finished his speech. It was time for practice. The players got up and started walking onto the field to warm up.</p><p>“Good job, Coach,” Shobow said to McGraw in a low voice as he walked past him, keeping his eyes down out of respect. “That was good.”</p><p>McGraw smiled, satisfied. For the next decade, it would be almost impossible to talk about Blue Devils soccer without referring to the day McGraw created his so-called speckled team, his constant sideline cry of “Together! Together!” taking on new meaning.</p><p>“How would you guys say it?” he asked a few Somalis on the team one day. “How would you say ‘together’?”</p><p><em>Pamoja ndugu, </em>a few replied. It was Swahili, one of the many languages of the refugee camps. It meant “together brothers.”</p><p>It became their rallying cry. “One, two, three!” they shouted before every game, huddled together, hands in the middle, McGraw at the center. <em>“PAMOJA NDUGU!”</em></p>
How a High School Soccer Team United a Racially Divided Town

ONE GOAL tells the inspiring story of a city and its high school soccer team—the Blue Devils of Lewiston, Maine—and how their quest for a state championship title united a city that had undergone dramatic change after thousands of Somali refugees resettled there.

Lewiston is an economically struggling, overwhelmingly white, Catholic, mill town in one of the whitest states in America, and racial tensions hit a fever pitch as longtime residents and newcomers were uneasy living side by side with their new neighbors. They spoke a different language and practiced a different religion, and matters weren’t helped when the mayor asked Somalis to stop coming. Lewiston’s long history with French-Canadian immigrant factory workers did nothing to dispel myths about the Somalis, despite the constant reiterations of reality from city officials, community leaders, and teachers like Ronda Fournier and high school soccer coach Mike McGraw. But McGraw, who had come close to a state title back in 1991, began to see how newcomers like Shobow Saban could help lead the way, and integrated the refugee kids onto his team. If he could put the rules of the game to work for his increasingly diverse team, perhaps the community would follow in their footsteps, and perhaps their shared passion for soccer would help heal old wounds.

The following is adapted from One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together by Amy Bass, published by Hachette Books. Copyright © Amy Bass 2018.

Soccer lends itself to a particular kind of teamwork. It is a game of continuity, with more flow than ruptures. It doesn’t reorganize after a whistle, like basketball, or have a to-do list like the innings of a baseball game. To score in soccer, a team has to move the ball through an enormous amount of space, making decisions about who will take it where, from the first touch until someone sends it hurtling toward the net. Just by doing what a soccer team was supposed to do, the Blue Devils could become an example to the community.

Ronda Fournier, an assistant principal at Montello, often heard McGraw talk about “the ball” as she watched him adapt to change. An unapologetic “girl from the backwoods,” Fournier grew up in Sabattus, a small town just a stone’s throw from Lewiston, and attended Oak Hill High School, where football reigns supreme. A three-sport athlete herself—field hockey, basketball, and softball—she studied education at the University of New England and eventually landed in the biology classroom next to McGraw.

“He’s a really special man,” she says, smiling, a heavy Maine accent soaking every word. “You know? We are all blessed to have him as a part of our lives.”

Over the years, she got to know a lot of soccer players. If McGraw stepped out for a moment, they knocked on her door instead.

“Mrs. Fournier, you gonna let us in so we can put away our soccer gear?” they’d ask. “Yep, no problem,” she’d answer. “I’ll put it in for ya.”

Over the course of ten years, she and the coach developed a close working relationship. Few people had a better view to see how McGraw developed his winning formula.

“I remember him telling me of how difficult it was in the beginning, but it was all about the soccer.”

By prioritizing the game, she says, McGraw could make sure “the other stuff just didn’t interfere.” They didn’t have to have conversations about where a player was from, or what religion he practiced, or what language he spoke, or what his family had been through. Instead, they could focus on what a kid could do on the pitch.

McGraw, the players still joke, doesn’t care where they’re from as long as they pass the ball. “I watched Mike in the classroom for years. I see him out on the coaching field, and he does the same thing,” says Fournier. “He takes a kid’s strength, and he helps that kid use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. He shows how they’re related, so that a kid can capitalize.”

Fournier pauses. “Any kid,” she says, and then waits another moment before repeating it, with emphasis. “Any. Kid.”

Fournier knows well the challenges of teaching here, but she doesn’t see the Somali influx as anything other than Lewiston being Lewiston. The newest immigrants have needs, just like those who came before them, and it is the schools’ job to meet them.

“It started with the French-Canadians, right?” she says.

Her own grandmother came from Canada, her grandfather from Scotland. They worked full-time shifts at the Rubber Heel, a long-gone shoe manufacturing plant in Sabattus, while growing cucumbers for the Litchfield pickle plant as a side job.

“You know, Lewiston’s gonna be kind of rough,” she remembers people saying when she first considered the job in 2005. “Things are going to be different—you sure you want to go teach there?”

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it matters where the kids come from,” she told them, shrugging off the comments. “They all need the same thing.”

She knew what people were too polite to come right out and say. Lewiston kids, among the poorest in the state, were considered problematic well before the Somalis came. But now, according to rumors, things were worse. Kids praying in the hallway, speaking different languages, dressing in “weird” clothes, eating “strange” foods. But Fournier didn’t care what anyone thought they knew about Lewiston High School. Teaching was teaching.

“To me, it didn’t matter at all,” she says. “Kids need love, they all need to know that somebody cared about them. And now they all want to play soccer.”

Fournier relied on McGraw for advice to help his players in her classes. He used the same strategies in the classroom he did on the field, emphasizing teamwork, urging her to call on a struggling student’s classmates to help. There was no question McGraw knew what was best for the players, academically, on the field, or just walking down the hallway.

But McGraw, too, faced challenges. Names no longer rolled off his tongue, and at times he resorted to calling players by their numbers until he became more familiar with pronunciations. The high school yearbook showed just how rapidly surnames in Lewiston were changing; the “A” section of class photos grew quickly because of Somali surnames. In the early days, aside from class photos, the soccer pages were the only place Somali students appeared. They weren’t photographed at prom. There were no casual photographs of them hanging in hallways or jumping around during Spirit Week. No one paid to put their baby picture in the back pages because such photos didn’t exist; if they did, there was no money for such things.

But on the soccer field, Somali students started to lay claim, quickly becoming the majority of the varsity roster. As McGraw strategized his so-called advantage of the ball to integrate the team, he also helped incorporate the new students into the culture of the high school. He didn’t think twice about it—the game came first, and trust worked both ways. He knew that when those first Somali students came to talk to him about playing, some level of trust was established. But he had to make it grow.

McGraw knew that whatever happened on the field— teamwork, communication, patience, and persistence—could impact the community as a whole. But it was going to take some serious coaching, and not just in terms of scoring goals. There’d been animosity and growing pains—all of his players had stories. Hallway skirmishes. Standoffs in the cafeteria. “Go Back to Africa,” among other things, scrawled on bathroom walls or in the dirt on car windows. White kids telling Somali kids that they paid for their shoes, their food, and their apartments. Fights in the parking lot. Teachers who showed Black Hawk Down in class or reminded students that their behavior wasn’t acceptable “in this country.” McGraw knew he had to do more than yell “together” from the sideline. Moving together, winning together wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems. But it was a first step. What, he wondered, was the next step?

Shobow remembers it well. It happened on a hot day in the early fall of his freshman year. McGraw saw the players getting ready as he approached the practice field. He watched them pulling up their long socks, strapping on shin guards, and huddled over cleats, trying to get knots out of tangled laces. They weren’t together, he realized, and there was a pattern. The Somali kids, Shobow included, sat in the shade by the garage, leaning against the cool bricks. The white kids were over in the sun, sitting around the light pole. Both groups were talking, separately. Both groups were getting ready, separately.

This, McGraw thought, has to change. It has to change right now. As the coach, he had to change it. He had no doubt he could succeed at making this better; this was one of his strengths. Soccer was the connector. He had to make them see that.

“I want you guys to come over here in the middle and sit,” he called as he walked over. They looked up, unsure of what he meant. He started pointing, moving players around, making sure they mixed up. Ali here, Jonny there.

“You!” McGraw roared, pointing at Shobow. His voice had yet to descend into its usual midseason rasp. “Come here—sit.”

Shobow hopped up almost instantly, not just because coach just told him to, but also because he realized what McGraw was trying to do. He wanted to bring them together. He wanted to help them be together. This, thought Shobow, was good.

McGraw continued to point, calling each of them out, until he was satisfied with the reconfiguration. Now they are speckled, he thought. Perfect. It was time to take an old-school idea of team and apply it to these players who sat before him. He wasn’t trying to save the world; he wanted to win. And to do that, he needed to build relationships, something he was good at. On the field, at least, he needed them to shed their identities—white, black, Muslim, Catholic, Franco, Somali, native, immigrant—and become something new: a team.

“Okay, this is how it’s gonna be,” McGraw started. “It has to be this way—this is how a team plays. This is how I want you to be on the field and off the field: together.”

The players looked at one another and began to relax. Almost immediately, McGraw noticed a change in their demeanors, their bodies, their faces.

“To play the game, you’re gonna have to play together. It’s the only way to play,” he continued.

He noticed some of them starting to smile. He was on to something. Keep going, he thought. Take it all the way.

“You’re going to have to talk to each other, because it’s the only way we’re gonna win,” he continued. “Sometimes our communities don’t understand each other, but you can show the adults how it is supposed to be. By playing together, that’ll send a message that our cultures can get along.”

But he knew it was going to take more than suiting up together. Learning how to be teammates, if not friends, was a process on and off the field.

“This is how I want you to look everywhere you go,” McGraw continued. “Everywhere. If you’re going to the store, if you’re going to class, you guys have to do it together. High-fives in the hallway. You need to hang out together. You don’t have to sit together in the cafeteria if you don’t want to, but you need to stick up for each other and be together. It’s a brotherhood.”

Wow, thought Shobow, stretching out his thin legs. From his new location on the grass, the sun on his back, he liked what he was hearing. He wanted his team to be united. A new sense of team spirit came across him, a deeper sense of connection. It was encouraging to hear Coach talk about this, to see him face it headon. Shobow knew from his friendship with Jonny how important this was.

McGraw finished his speech. It was time for practice. The players got up and started walking onto the field to warm up.

“Good job, Coach,” Shobow said to McGraw in a low voice as he walked past him, keeping his eyes down out of respect. “That was good.”

McGraw smiled, satisfied. For the next decade, it would be almost impossible to talk about Blue Devils soccer without referring to the day McGraw created his so-called speckled team, his constant sideline cry of “Together! Together!” taking on new meaning.

“How would you guys say it?” he asked a few Somalis on the team one day. “How would you say ‘together’?”

Pamoja ndugu, a few replied. It was Swahili, one of the many languages of the refugee camps. It meant “together brothers.”

It became their rallying cry. “One, two, three!” they shouted before every game, huddled together, hands in the middle, McGraw at the center. “PAMOJA NDUGU!”

<p>ONE GOAL<em> tells the inspiring story of a city and its high school soccer team—the Blue Devils of Lewiston, Maine—and how their quest for a state championship title united a city that had undergone dramatic change after thousands of Somali refugees resettled there. </em></p><p><em>Lewiston is an economically struggling, overwhelmingly white, Catholic, mill town in one of the whitest states in America, and racial tensions hit a fever pitch as longtime residents and newcomers were uneasy living side by side with their new neighbors. They spoke a different language and practiced a different religion, and matters weren’t helped when the mayor asked Somalis to stop coming. Lewiston’s long history with French-Canadian immigrant factory workers did nothing to dispel myths about the Somalis, despite the constant reiterations of reality from city officials, community leaders, and teachers like Ronda Fournier and high school soccer coach Mike McGraw. But McGraw, who had come close to a state title back in 1991, began to see how newcomers like Shobow Saban could help lead the way, and integrated the refugee kids onto his team. If he could put the rules of the game to work for his increasingly diverse team, perhaps the community would follow in their footsteps, and perhaps their shared passion for soccer would help heal old wounds. </em></p><p><em>The following is adapted from <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316396540/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0316396540&linkId=0de3868df685ef161049ca52b6b971f9&tag=sisocceronegoalbook0223-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together</a> by Amy Bass, published by Hachette Books. Copyright © Amy Bass 2018.</em></p><p>Soccer lends itself to a particular kind of teamwork. It is a game of continuity, with more flow than ruptures. It doesn’t reorganize after a whistle, like basketball, or have a to-do list like the innings of a baseball game. To score in soccer, a team has to move the ball through an enormous amount of space, making decisions about who will take it where, from the first touch until someone sends it hurtling toward the net. Just by doing what a soccer team was supposed to do, the Blue Devils could become an example to the community.</p><p>Ronda Fournier, an assistant principal at Montello, often heard McGraw talk about “the ball” as she watched him adapt to change. An unapologetic “girl from the backwoods,” Fournier grew up in Sabattus, a small town just a stone’s throw from Lewiston, and attended Oak Hill High School, where football reigns supreme. A three-sport athlete herself—field hockey, basketball, and softball—she studied education at the University of New England and eventually landed in the biology classroom next to McGraw.</p><p>“He’s a really special man,” she says, smiling, a heavy Maine accent soaking every word. “You know? We are all blessed to have him as a part of our lives.”</p><p>Over the years, she got to know a lot of soccer players. If McGraw stepped out for a moment, they knocked on her door instead.</p><p>“Mrs. Fournier, you gonna let us in so we can put away our soccer gear?” they’d ask. “Yep, no problem,” she’d answer. “I’ll put it in for ya.”</p><p>Over the course of ten years, she and the coach developed a close working relationship. Few people had a better view to see how McGraw developed his winning formula.</p><p>“I remember him telling me of how difficult it was in the beginning, but it was all about the soccer.”</p><p>By prioritizing the game, she says, McGraw could make sure “the other stuff just didn’t interfere.” They didn’t have to have conversations about where a player was from, or what religion he practiced, or what language he spoke, or what his family had been through. Instead, they could focus on what a kid could do on the pitch.</p><p>McGraw, the players still joke, doesn’t care where they’re from as long as they pass the ball. “I watched Mike in the classroom for years. I see him out on the coaching field, and he does the same thing,” says Fournier. “He takes a kid’s strength, and he helps that kid use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. He shows how they’re related, so that a kid can capitalize.”</p><p>Fournier pauses. “Any kid,” she says, and then waits another moment before repeating it, with emphasis. “Any. Kid.”</p><p>Fournier knows well the challenges of teaching here, but she doesn’t see the Somali influx as anything other than Lewiston being Lewiston. The newest immigrants have needs, just like those who came before them, and it is the schools’ job to meet them.</p><p>“It started with the French-Canadians, right?” she says.</p><p>Her own grandmother came from Canada, her grandfather from Scotland. They worked full-time shifts at the Rubber Heel, a long-gone shoe manufacturing plant in Sabattus, while growing cucumbers for the Litchfield pickle plant as a side job.</p><p>“You know, Lewiston’s gonna be kind of rough,” she remembers people saying when she first considered the job in 2005. “Things are going to be different—you sure you want to go teach there?”</p><p>“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it matters where the kids come from,” she told them, shrugging off the comments. “They all need the same thing.”</p><p>She knew what people were too polite to come right out and say. Lewiston kids, among the poorest in the state, were considered problematic well before the Somalis came. But now, according to rumors, things were worse. Kids praying in the hallway, speaking different languages, dressing in “weird” clothes, eating “strange” foods. But Fournier didn’t care what anyone thought they knew about Lewiston High School. Teaching was teaching.</p><p>“To me, it didn’t matter at all,” she says. “Kids need love, they all need to know that somebody cared about them. And now they all want to play soccer.”</p><p>Fournier relied on McGraw for advice to help his players in her classes. He used the same strategies in the classroom he did on the field, emphasizing teamwork, urging her to call on a struggling student’s classmates to help. There was no question McGraw knew what was best for the players, academically, on the field, or just walking down the hallway.</p><p>But McGraw, too, faced challenges. Names no longer rolled off his tongue, and at times he resorted to calling players by their numbers until he became more familiar with pronunciations. The high school yearbook showed just how rapidly surnames in Lewiston were changing; the “A” section of class photos grew quickly because of Somali surnames. In the early days, aside from class photos, the soccer pages were the only place Somali students appeared. They weren’t photographed at prom. There were no casual photographs of them hanging in hallways or jumping around during Spirit Week. No one paid to put their baby picture in the back pages because such photos didn’t exist; if they did, there was no money for such things.</p><p>But on the soccer field, Somali students started to lay claim, quickly becoming the majority of the varsity roster. As McGraw strategized his so-called advantage of the ball to integrate the team, he also helped incorporate the new students into the culture of the high school. He didn’t think twice about it—the game came first, and trust worked both ways. He knew that when those first Somali students came to talk to him about playing, some level of trust was established. But he had to make it grow.</p><p>McGraw knew that whatever happened on the field— teamwork, communication, patience, and persistence—could impact the community as a whole. But it was going to take some serious coaching, and not just in terms of scoring goals. There’d been animosity and growing pains—all of his players had stories. Hallway skirmishes. Standoffs in the cafeteria. “Go Back to Africa,” among other things, scrawled on bathroom walls or in the dirt on car windows. White kids telling Somali kids that they paid for their shoes, their food, and their apartments. Fights in the parking lot. Teachers who showed Black Hawk Down in class or reminded students that their behavior wasn’t acceptable “in this country.” McGraw knew he had to do more than yell “together” from the sideline. Moving together, winning together wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems. But it was a first step. What, he wondered, was the next step?</p><p>Shobow remembers it well. It happened on a hot day in the early fall of his freshman year. McGraw saw the players getting ready as he approached the practice field. He watched them pulling up their long socks, strapping on shin guards, and huddled over cleats, trying to get knots out of tangled laces. They weren’t together, he realized, and there was a pattern. The Somali kids, Shobow included, sat in the shade by the garage, leaning against the cool bricks. The white kids were over in the sun, sitting around the light pole. Both groups were talking, separately. Both groups were getting ready, separately.</p><p>This, McGraw thought, has to change. It has to change right now. As the coach, he had to change it. He had no doubt he could succeed at making this better; this was one of his strengths. Soccer was the connector. He had to make them see that.</p><p>“I want you guys to come over here in the middle and sit,” he called as he walked over. They looked up, unsure of what he meant. He started pointing, moving players around, making sure they mixed up. Ali here, Jonny there.</p><p>“You!” McGraw roared, pointing at Shobow. His voice had yet to descend into its usual midseason rasp. “Come here—sit.”</p><p>Shobow hopped up almost instantly, not just because coach just told him to, but also because he realized what McGraw was trying to do. He wanted to bring them together. He wanted to help them be together. This, thought Shobow, was good.</p><p>McGraw continued to point, calling each of them out, until he was satisfied with the reconfiguration. Now they are speckled, he thought. Perfect. It was time to take an old-school idea of team and apply it to these players who sat before him. He wasn’t trying to save the world; he wanted to win. And to do that, he needed to build relationships, something he was good at. On the field, at least, he needed them to shed their identities—white, black, Muslim, Catholic, Franco, Somali, native, immigrant—and become something new: a team.</p><p>“Okay, this is how it’s gonna be,” McGraw started. “It has to be this way—this is how a team plays. This is how I want you to be on the field and off the field: together.”</p><p>The players looked at one another and began to relax. Almost immediately, McGraw noticed a change in their demeanors, their bodies, their faces.</p><p>“To play the game, you’re gonna have to play together. It’s the only way to play,” he continued.</p><p>He noticed some of them starting to smile. He was on to something. Keep going, he thought. Take it all the way.</p><p>“You’re going to have to talk to each other, because it’s the only way we’re gonna win,” he continued. “Sometimes our communities don’t understand each other, but you can show the adults how it is supposed to be. By playing together, that’ll send a message that our cultures can get along.”</p><p>But he knew it was going to take more than suiting up together. Learning how to be teammates, if not friends, was a process on and off the field.</p><p>“This is how I want you to look everywhere you go,” McGraw continued. “Everywhere. If you’re going to the store, if you’re going to class, you guys have to do it together. High-fives in the hallway. You need to hang out together. You don’t have to sit together in the cafeteria if you don’t want to, but you need to stick up for each other and be together. It’s a brotherhood.”</p><p>Wow, thought Shobow, stretching out his thin legs. From his new location on the grass, the sun on his back, he liked what he was hearing. He wanted his team to be united. A new sense of team spirit came across him, a deeper sense of connection. It was encouraging to hear Coach talk about this, to see him face it headon. Shobow knew from his friendship with Jonny how important this was.</p><p>McGraw finished his speech. It was time for practice. The players got up and started walking onto the field to warm up.</p><p>“Good job, Coach,” Shobow said to McGraw in a low voice as he walked past him, keeping his eyes down out of respect. “That was good.”</p><p>McGraw smiled, satisfied. For the next decade, it would be almost impossible to talk about Blue Devils soccer without referring to the day McGraw created his so-called speckled team, his constant sideline cry of “Together! Together!” taking on new meaning.</p><p>“How would you guys say it?” he asked a few Somalis on the team one day. “How would you say ‘together’?”</p><p><em>Pamoja ndugu, </em>a few replied. It was Swahili, one of the many languages of the refugee camps. It meant “together brothers.”</p><p>It became their rallying cry. “One, two, three!” they shouted before every game, huddled together, hands in the middle, McGraw at the center. <em>“PAMOJA NDUGU!”</em></p>
How a High School Soccer Team United a Racially Divided Town

ONE GOAL tells the inspiring story of a city and its high school soccer team—the Blue Devils of Lewiston, Maine—and how their quest for a state championship title united a city that had undergone dramatic change after thousands of Somali refugees resettled there.

Lewiston is an economically struggling, overwhelmingly white, Catholic, mill town in one of the whitest states in America, and racial tensions hit a fever pitch as longtime residents and newcomers were uneasy living side by side with their new neighbors. They spoke a different language and practiced a different religion, and matters weren’t helped when the mayor asked Somalis to stop coming. Lewiston’s long history with French-Canadian immigrant factory workers did nothing to dispel myths about the Somalis, despite the constant reiterations of reality from city officials, community leaders, and teachers like Ronda Fournier and high school soccer coach Mike McGraw. But McGraw, who had come close to a state title back in 1991, began to see how newcomers like Shobow Saban could help lead the way, and integrated the refugee kids onto his team. If he could put the rules of the game to work for his increasingly diverse team, perhaps the community would follow in their footsteps, and perhaps their shared passion for soccer would help heal old wounds.

The following is adapted from One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together by Amy Bass, published by Hachette Books. Copyright © Amy Bass 2018.

Soccer lends itself to a particular kind of teamwork. It is a game of continuity, with more flow than ruptures. It doesn’t reorganize after a whistle, like basketball, or have a to-do list like the innings of a baseball game. To score in soccer, a team has to move the ball through an enormous amount of space, making decisions about who will take it where, from the first touch until someone sends it hurtling toward the net. Just by doing what a soccer team was supposed to do, the Blue Devils could become an example to the community.

Ronda Fournier, an assistant principal at Montello, often heard McGraw talk about “the ball” as she watched him adapt to change. An unapologetic “girl from the backwoods,” Fournier grew up in Sabattus, a small town just a stone’s throw from Lewiston, and attended Oak Hill High School, where football reigns supreme. A three-sport athlete herself—field hockey, basketball, and softball—she studied education at the University of New England and eventually landed in the biology classroom next to McGraw.

“He’s a really special man,” she says, smiling, a heavy Maine accent soaking every word. “You know? We are all blessed to have him as a part of our lives.”

Over the years, she got to know a lot of soccer players. If McGraw stepped out for a moment, they knocked on her door instead.

“Mrs. Fournier, you gonna let us in so we can put away our soccer gear?” they’d ask. “Yep, no problem,” she’d answer. “I’ll put it in for ya.”

Over the course of ten years, she and the coach developed a close working relationship. Few people had a better view to see how McGraw developed his winning formula.

“I remember him telling me of how difficult it was in the beginning, but it was all about the soccer.”

By prioritizing the game, she says, McGraw could make sure “the other stuff just didn’t interfere.” They didn’t have to have conversations about where a player was from, or what religion he practiced, or what language he spoke, or what his family had been through. Instead, they could focus on what a kid could do on the pitch.

McGraw, the players still joke, doesn’t care where they’re from as long as they pass the ball. “I watched Mike in the classroom for years. I see him out on the coaching field, and he does the same thing,” says Fournier. “He takes a kid’s strength, and he helps that kid use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. He shows how they’re related, so that a kid can capitalize.”

Fournier pauses. “Any kid,” she says, and then waits another moment before repeating it, with emphasis. “Any. Kid.”

Fournier knows well the challenges of teaching here, but she doesn’t see the Somali influx as anything other than Lewiston being Lewiston. The newest immigrants have needs, just like those who came before them, and it is the schools’ job to meet them.

“It started with the French-Canadians, right?” she says.

Her own grandmother came from Canada, her grandfather from Scotland. They worked full-time shifts at the Rubber Heel, a long-gone shoe manufacturing plant in Sabattus, while growing cucumbers for the Litchfield pickle plant as a side job.

“You know, Lewiston’s gonna be kind of rough,” she remembers people saying when she first considered the job in 2005. “Things are going to be different—you sure you want to go teach there?”

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it matters where the kids come from,” she told them, shrugging off the comments. “They all need the same thing.”

She knew what people were too polite to come right out and say. Lewiston kids, among the poorest in the state, were considered problematic well before the Somalis came. But now, according to rumors, things were worse. Kids praying in the hallway, speaking different languages, dressing in “weird” clothes, eating “strange” foods. But Fournier didn’t care what anyone thought they knew about Lewiston High School. Teaching was teaching.

“To me, it didn’t matter at all,” she says. “Kids need love, they all need to know that somebody cared about them. And now they all want to play soccer.”

Fournier relied on McGraw for advice to help his players in her classes. He used the same strategies in the classroom he did on the field, emphasizing teamwork, urging her to call on a struggling student’s classmates to help. There was no question McGraw knew what was best for the players, academically, on the field, or just walking down the hallway.

But McGraw, too, faced challenges. Names no longer rolled off his tongue, and at times he resorted to calling players by their numbers until he became more familiar with pronunciations. The high school yearbook showed just how rapidly surnames in Lewiston were changing; the “A” section of class photos grew quickly because of Somali surnames. In the early days, aside from class photos, the soccer pages were the only place Somali students appeared. They weren’t photographed at prom. There were no casual photographs of them hanging in hallways or jumping around during Spirit Week. No one paid to put their baby picture in the back pages because such photos didn’t exist; if they did, there was no money for such things.

But on the soccer field, Somali students started to lay claim, quickly becoming the majority of the varsity roster. As McGraw strategized his so-called advantage of the ball to integrate the team, he also helped incorporate the new students into the culture of the high school. He didn’t think twice about it—the game came first, and trust worked both ways. He knew that when those first Somali students came to talk to him about playing, some level of trust was established. But he had to make it grow.

McGraw knew that whatever happened on the field— teamwork, communication, patience, and persistence—could impact the community as a whole. But it was going to take some serious coaching, and not just in terms of scoring goals. There’d been animosity and growing pains—all of his players had stories. Hallway skirmishes. Standoffs in the cafeteria. “Go Back to Africa,” among other things, scrawled on bathroom walls or in the dirt on car windows. White kids telling Somali kids that they paid for their shoes, their food, and their apartments. Fights in the parking lot. Teachers who showed Black Hawk Down in class or reminded students that their behavior wasn’t acceptable “in this country.” McGraw knew he had to do more than yell “together” from the sideline. Moving together, winning together wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems. But it was a first step. What, he wondered, was the next step?

Shobow remembers it well. It happened on a hot day in the early fall of his freshman year. McGraw saw the players getting ready as he approached the practice field. He watched them pulling up their long socks, strapping on shin guards, and huddled over cleats, trying to get knots out of tangled laces. They weren’t together, he realized, and there was a pattern. The Somali kids, Shobow included, sat in the shade by the garage, leaning against the cool bricks. The white kids were over in the sun, sitting around the light pole. Both groups were talking, separately. Both groups were getting ready, separately.

This, McGraw thought, has to change. It has to change right now. As the coach, he had to change it. He had no doubt he could succeed at making this better; this was one of his strengths. Soccer was the connector. He had to make them see that.

“I want you guys to come over here in the middle and sit,” he called as he walked over. They looked up, unsure of what he meant. He started pointing, moving players around, making sure they mixed up. Ali here, Jonny there.

“You!” McGraw roared, pointing at Shobow. His voice had yet to descend into its usual midseason rasp. “Come here—sit.”

Shobow hopped up almost instantly, not just because coach just told him to, but also because he realized what McGraw was trying to do. He wanted to bring them together. He wanted to help them be together. This, thought Shobow, was good.

McGraw continued to point, calling each of them out, until he was satisfied with the reconfiguration. Now they are speckled, he thought. Perfect. It was time to take an old-school idea of team and apply it to these players who sat before him. He wasn’t trying to save the world; he wanted to win. And to do that, he needed to build relationships, something he was good at. On the field, at least, he needed them to shed their identities—white, black, Muslim, Catholic, Franco, Somali, native, immigrant—and become something new: a team.

“Okay, this is how it’s gonna be,” McGraw started. “It has to be this way—this is how a team plays. This is how I want you to be on the field and off the field: together.”

The players looked at one another and began to relax. Almost immediately, McGraw noticed a change in their demeanors, their bodies, their faces.

“To play the game, you’re gonna have to play together. It’s the only way to play,” he continued.

He noticed some of them starting to smile. He was on to something. Keep going, he thought. Take it all the way.

“You’re going to have to talk to each other, because it’s the only way we’re gonna win,” he continued. “Sometimes our communities don’t understand each other, but you can show the adults how it is supposed to be. By playing together, that’ll send a message that our cultures can get along.”

But he knew it was going to take more than suiting up together. Learning how to be teammates, if not friends, was a process on and off the field.

“This is how I want you to look everywhere you go,” McGraw continued. “Everywhere. If you’re going to the store, if you’re going to class, you guys have to do it together. High-fives in the hallway. You need to hang out together. You don’t have to sit together in the cafeteria if you don’t want to, but you need to stick up for each other and be together. It’s a brotherhood.”

Wow, thought Shobow, stretching out his thin legs. From his new location on the grass, the sun on his back, he liked what he was hearing. He wanted his team to be united. A new sense of team spirit came across him, a deeper sense of connection. It was encouraging to hear Coach talk about this, to see him face it headon. Shobow knew from his friendship with Jonny how important this was.

McGraw finished his speech. It was time for practice. The players got up and started walking onto the field to warm up.

“Good job, Coach,” Shobow said to McGraw in a low voice as he walked past him, keeping his eyes down out of respect. “That was good.”

McGraw smiled, satisfied. For the next decade, it would be almost impossible to talk about Blue Devils soccer without referring to the day McGraw created his so-called speckled team, his constant sideline cry of “Together! Together!” taking on new meaning.

“How would you guys say it?” he asked a few Somalis on the team one day. “How would you say ‘together’?”

Pamoja ndugu, a few replied. It was Swahili, one of the many languages of the refugee camps. It meant “together brothers.”

It became their rallying cry. “One, two, three!” they shouted before every game, huddled together, hands in the middle, McGraw at the center. “PAMOJA NDUGU!”

<p>With the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea fast approaching, here’s everything you need to know about speed skating.</p><p>The Olympics begin Thursday, Feb. 8 and conclude Sunday, Feb. 25. Speed skating will be contested from Feb. 10 to 24 with medals on the line for 14 different events. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the Netherlands won eight out of 12 available gold medals but did manage to claim a medal in every event.</p><p>Check out the full speed skating schedule <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2017/10/20/2018-winter-olympics-speed-skating-schedule" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.</p><p>In December, Sports Illustrated published a <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2017/12/20/2018-winter-olympics-rookies-guide-speed-skating-pyeongchang" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Rookie's Guide to Speed Skating" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Rookie's Guide to Speed Skating</a> with information about the background, selection process, rules and format of the sport. I challenge you to read that guide and not want to watch speed skating at this year's Olympics. The competition is going to be a lot of fun.</p><p>In the January 29-February 5 Olympic Preview issue of <em>Sports Illustrated</em>’s magazine, our expert Brian Cazeneuve gave his medal predictions. Here are his picks for speed skating:</p><h3>Speedskating</h3><h3><b>MEN</b></h3><p><strong>500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Ronald Mulder, Netherlands</p><p>Silver: Kai Verbij, Netherlands</p><p>Bronze: Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen, Norway</p><p><em>Mulder’s twin, Michel, won the 500-meter long-track event in Sochi and came in third at 1,000 meters.</em></p><p><strong>1,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Kjeld Nuis, Netherlands</p><p>Silver: Kai Verbij, Netherlands</p><p>Bronze: Vincent De Haître, Canada</p><p><em>De Haître was Canada’s 1,000-meter track cycling champ in 2013.</em></p><p><strong>1,500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Denis Yuskov, Russia</p><p>Silver: Koen Verweij, Netherlands</p><p>Bronze: Kjeld Nuis, Netherlands</p><p><em>Born in Moscow, Yuskov, who thought he was going to soccer practice at his first training session, grew up in Moldova.</em></p><p><strong>5,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Sven Kramer, Netherlands</p><p>Silver: Ted-Jan Bloemen, Canada</p><p>Bronze: Nicola Tumolero, Italy</p><p><em>Dual citizen Bloemen is a Dutch native.</em></p><p><strong>10,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Sven Kramer, Netherlands</p><p>Silver: Jorrit Bergsma, Netherlands</p><p>Bronze: Patrick Beckert, Germany</p><p><em>Kramer’s girlfriend, Naomi van As, won two Olympic golds in field hockey.</em></p><p><strong>Team Pursuit</strong></p><p>Gold: Netherlands</p><p>Silver: Norway</p><p>Bronze: Canada</p><p><em>Dutch skaters won eight of 12 races in Sochi.</em></p><p><strong>Mass Start</strong></p><p>Gold: Lee Seung-hoon, South Korea</p><p>Silver: Joey Mantia, U.S.</p><p>Bronze: Sven Kramer, Netherlands</p><p><em>Mantia twice won Pan-Am Games golds in in-line skating.</em></p><p><b>WOMEN</b></p><p><strong>500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Nao Kodaira, Japan</p><p>Silver: Lee Sang-hwa, South Korea</p><p>Bronze: Arisa Go, Japan</p><p><em>Two-time Olympic champ Lee turns 29 on the day of the closing ceremony.</em></p><p><strong>1,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Nao Kodaira, Japan</p><p>Silver: Miho Takagi, Japan</p><p>Bronze: Heather Bergsma, U.S.</p><p><em>Bergsma and her Dutch husband, Jorrit, have combined for 23 worlds medals.</em></p><p><strong>1,500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Miho Takagi, Japan</p><p>Silver: Marrit Leenstra, Netherlands</p><p>Bronze: Ireen Wüst, Netherlands</p><p><em>Takagi was a 2010 Olympian at age 15.</em></p><p><strong>3,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Martina Sábliková, Czech Republic</p><p>Silver: Claudia Pechstein, Germany</p><p>Bronze: Antoinette de Jong, Netherlands</p><p><em>European 3K champ Esmee Visser made the Dutch team only at 5K.</em></p><p><strong>5,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Martina Sábliková, Czech Republic</p><p>Silver: Natalia Voronina, Russia</p><p>Bronze: Claudia Pechstein, Germany</p><p>Sábliková is a former national cycling champ in the time trial.</p><p><strong>Mass Start</strong></p><p>Gold: Francesca Lollobrigida, Italy</p><p>Silver: Kim Bo-reum, South Korea</p><p>Bronze: Guo Dan, China</p><p><em>The mass start returns to the Olympics after an 86-year layoff.</em></p><p><strong>Team Pursuit</strong></p><p>Gold: Netherlands</p><p>Silver: Japan</p><p>Bronze: Germany</p><p><em>Dutch skaters won 23 medals in Sochi; Poland was next with three.</em></p><h3>Short Track</h3><h3>MEN</h3><p><strong>500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Wu Dajing, China</p><p>Silver: Shaolin Sándor Liu, Hungary</p><p>Bronze: Samuel Girard, Canada</p><p><em>Wu says his sports hero is Michael Phelps.</em></p><p><strong>1,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Shaolin Sándor Liu, Hungary</p><p>Silver: Wu Dajing, China</p><p>Bronze: Hwang Dae-heon, South Korea</p><p><em>Sándor’s girlfriend is Elise Christie.</em></p><p><strong>1,500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Hwang Dae-heon, South Korea</p><p>Silver: Charles Hamelin, Canada</p><p>Bronze: Sjinkie Knegt, Netherlands</p><p><em>In 2014, Knegt became the first Dutch person to win a short-track medal.</em></p><p><strong>5,000-Meter Relay</strong></p><p>Gold: South Korea</p><p>Silver: Canada</p><p>Bronze: Netherlands</p><p><em>The U.S. team could nab a medal.</em></p><h3><b>WOMEN</b></h3><p><strong>500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Choi Min-jeong, South Korea</p><p>Silver: Marianne St-Gelais, Canada</p><p>Bronze: Elise Christie, Great Britain</p><p><em>South Korea has never won gold or silver at 500.</em></p><p><strong>1,000 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Choi Min-jeong, South Korea</p><p>Silver: Kim Boutin, Canada</p><p>Bronze: Elise Christie, Great Britain</p><p><em>Christie has dyed her hair a dozen different colors before events.</em></p><p><strong>1,500 Meters</strong></p><p>Gold: Choi Min-jeong, South Korea</p><p>Silver: Shim Suk-hee, South Korea</p><p>Bronze: Kim Boutin, Canada</p><p><em>In 2015, Choi was world champ at age 16.</em></p><p><strong>3,000-Meter Relay</strong></p><p>Gold: South Korea</p><p>Silver: China</p><p>Bronze: Canada</p><p><em>All but five of South Korea’s 26 winter golds have come in short track.</em></p><p>Check out Brian’s medal predictions for all 102 events in the magazine.</p>
2018 Winter Olympics: Speed Skating Guide and Preview for PyeongChang

With the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea fast approaching, here’s everything you need to know about speed skating.

The Olympics begin Thursday, Feb. 8 and conclude Sunday, Feb. 25. Speed skating will be contested from Feb. 10 to 24 with medals on the line for 14 different events. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the Netherlands won eight out of 12 available gold medals but did manage to claim a medal in every event.

Check out the full speed skating schedule here.

In December, Sports Illustrated published a Rookie's Guide to Speed Skating with information about the background, selection process, rules and format of the sport. I challenge you to read that guide and not want to watch speed skating at this year's Olympics. The competition is going to be a lot of fun.

In the January 29-February 5 Olympic Preview issue of Sports Illustrated’s magazine, our expert Brian Cazeneuve gave his medal predictions. Here are his picks for speed skating:

Speedskating

MEN

500 Meters

Gold: Ronald Mulder, Netherlands

Silver: Kai Verbij, Netherlands

Bronze: Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen, Norway

Mulder’s twin, Michel, won the 500-meter long-track event in Sochi and came in third at 1,000 meters.

1,000 Meters

Gold: Kjeld Nuis, Netherlands

Silver: Kai Verbij, Netherlands

Bronze: Vincent De Haître, Canada

De Haître was Canada’s 1,000-meter track cycling champ in 2013.

1,500 Meters

Gold: Denis Yuskov, Russia

Silver: Koen Verweij, Netherlands

Bronze: Kjeld Nuis, Netherlands

Born in Moscow, Yuskov, who thought he was going to soccer practice at his first training session, grew up in Moldova.

5,000 Meters

Gold: Sven Kramer, Netherlands

Silver: Ted-Jan Bloemen, Canada

Bronze: Nicola Tumolero, Italy

Dual citizen Bloemen is a Dutch native.

10,000 Meters

Gold: Sven Kramer, Netherlands

Silver: Jorrit Bergsma, Netherlands

Bronze: Patrick Beckert, Germany

Kramer’s girlfriend, Naomi van As, won two Olympic golds in field hockey.

Team Pursuit

Gold: Netherlands

Silver: Norway

Bronze: Canada

Dutch skaters won eight of 12 races in Sochi.

Mass Start

Gold: Lee Seung-hoon, South Korea

Silver: Joey Mantia, U.S.

Bronze: Sven Kramer, Netherlands

Mantia twice won Pan-Am Games golds in in-line skating.

WOMEN

500 Meters

Gold: Nao Kodaira, Japan

Silver: Lee Sang-hwa, South Korea

Bronze: Arisa Go, Japan

Two-time Olympic champ Lee turns 29 on the day of the closing ceremony.

1,000 Meters

Gold: Nao Kodaira, Japan

Silver: Miho Takagi, Japan

Bronze: Heather Bergsma, U.S.

Bergsma and her Dutch husband, Jorrit, have combined for 23 worlds medals.

1,500 Meters

Gold: Miho Takagi, Japan

Silver: Marrit Leenstra, Netherlands

Bronze: Ireen Wüst, Netherlands

Takagi was a 2010 Olympian at age 15.

3,000 Meters

Gold: Martina Sábliková, Czech Republic

Silver: Claudia Pechstein, Germany

Bronze: Antoinette de Jong, Netherlands

European 3K champ Esmee Visser made the Dutch team only at 5K.

5,000 Meters

Gold: Martina Sábliková, Czech Republic

Silver: Natalia Voronina, Russia

Bronze: Claudia Pechstein, Germany

Sábliková is a former national cycling champ in the time trial.

Mass Start

Gold: Francesca Lollobrigida, Italy

Silver: Kim Bo-reum, South Korea

Bronze: Guo Dan, China

The mass start returns to the Olympics after an 86-year layoff.

Team Pursuit

Gold: Netherlands

Silver: Japan

Bronze: Germany

Dutch skaters won 23 medals in Sochi; Poland was next with three.

Short Track

MEN

500 Meters

Gold: Wu Dajing, China

Silver: Shaolin Sándor Liu, Hungary

Bronze: Samuel Girard, Canada

Wu says his sports hero is Michael Phelps.

1,000 Meters

Gold: Shaolin Sándor Liu, Hungary

Silver: Wu Dajing, China

Bronze: Hwang Dae-heon, South Korea

Sándor’s girlfriend is Elise Christie.

1,500 Meters

Gold: Hwang Dae-heon, South Korea

Silver: Charles Hamelin, Canada

Bronze: Sjinkie Knegt, Netherlands

In 2014, Knegt became the first Dutch person to win a short-track medal.

5,000-Meter Relay

Gold: South Korea

Silver: Canada

Bronze: Netherlands

The U.S. team could nab a medal.

WOMEN

500 Meters

Gold: Choi Min-jeong, South Korea

Silver: Marianne St-Gelais, Canada

Bronze: Elise Christie, Great Britain

South Korea has never won gold or silver at 500.

1,000 Meters

Gold: Choi Min-jeong, South Korea

Silver: Kim Boutin, Canada

Bronze: Elise Christie, Great Britain

Christie has dyed her hair a dozen different colors before events.

1,500 Meters

Gold: Choi Min-jeong, South Korea

Silver: Shim Suk-hee, South Korea

Bronze: Kim Boutin, Canada

In 2015, Choi was world champ at age 16.

3,000-Meter Relay

Gold: South Korea

Silver: China

Bronze: Canada

All but five of South Korea’s 26 winter golds have come in short track.

Check out Brian’s medal predictions for all 102 events in the magazine.

<p>Plus: field hockey is on FIRE, soccer won't quit, and a former Hoo is a Hall of Famer</p><p>There was no football this weekend, and for the first time in a long time, <a href="https://www.streakingthelawn.com/2017/9/30/16355252/virginia-football-bronco-mendenhall-fun-bye-week" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:I missed it" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">I missed it</a>. Lots of other action took place around the Wahoo sports world, however, so let's get to it! </p><p>Rapid Fire</p>
Monday Motivation: Virginia Baseball dominates MLB postseason

Plus: field hockey is on FIRE, soccer won't quit, and a former Hoo is a Hall of Famer

There was no football this weekend, and for the first time in a long time, I missed it. Lots of other action took place around the Wahoo sports world, however, so let's get to it!

Rapid Fire

Maryland field hockey drops heartbreaker to No. 6 Michigan, 3-2, in double OT
Maryland field hockey drops heartbreaker to No. 6 Michigan, 3-2, in double OT
Maryland field hockey drops heartbreaker to No. 6 Michigan, 3-2, in double OT
Maryland field hockey will look to physically and mentally regroup in Michigan
Maryland field hockey will look to physically and mentally regroup in Michigan
Maryland field hockey will look to physically and mentally regroup in Michigan
Maryland field hockey falls to Northwestern, 3-2
Maryland field hockey falls to Northwestern, 3-2
Maryland field hockey falls to Northwestern, 3-2
Maryland field hockey beats Iowa, 2-1, to remain undefeated in Big Ten play
Maryland field hockey beats Iowa, 2-1, to remain undefeated in Big Ten play
Maryland field hockey beats Iowa, 2-1, to remain undefeated in Big Ten play
For Maryland field hockey, 2nd-half success has its limits
Maryland field hockey falls to Princeton, 2-1, snapping winning streak
Maryland field hockey defeats Bucknell, 4-1, to kick off 4-game home stand
Maryland field hockey beats Indiana, 3-1, in Big Ten opener
Maryland field hockey returns to its winning ways after undefeated weekend at home
Monday Motivation: Virginia field hockey upsets #1 Duke
Maryland field hockey beats Louisville, 1-0, to end Terrapin Invitational
Maryland field hockey beats Louisville, 1-0, to end Terrapin Invitational
Maryland field hockey beats Louisville, 1-0, to end Terrapin Invitational
Maryland field hockey dominates Towson, 8-0, at Terrapin Invitational
Maryland field hockey dominates Towson, 8-0, at Terrapin Invitational
Maryland field hockey dominates Towson, 8-0, at Terrapin Invitational
Maryland field hockey looks to bounce back from a slow start
Maryland field hockey falls to Boston College, 2-1, at Big Ten/ACC Cup
Maryland field hockey falls to Boston College, 2-1, at Big Ten/ACC Cup
Maryland field hockey falls to Boston College, 2-1, at Big Ten/ACC Cup
Maryland field hockey falls to Duke, 2-0, at Big Ten/ACC Cup
Maryland field hockey defeats Saint Joseph's, 2-1, in season opener
Maryland field hockey defeats Saint Joseph's, 2-1, in season opener
Maryland field hockey defeats Saint Joseph's, 2-1, in season opener

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