Book about Lewiston soccer team is optioned by Netflix

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Netflix has optioned the rights to make a film or TV series out of the book “One Goal,” which chronicles the Lewiston High School boys soccer team and its mix of native-born and Somali refugee players.

Author Amy Bass said Wednesday she did not know what Netlix’s specific plans for her book are. But she realizes that while many books are optioned by film companies, getting one actually made into a film or TV show is usually a long shot.

“I think there’s a great soccer analogy for this: You’ve got to get the ball to the other end of the field and inside the net, and that’s very hard to do,” said Bass, a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, who teaches history at The College of New Rochelle in New York. “This (the film option) is not what I’ve been focused on. It’s a very important story to tell, maybe now more than ever, so I’m excited when anyone wants to help tell that story.”

Bass referred questions on the option to her agent, Dan Strone of Trident Media Group in New York City. Strone said he could not discuss details of the deal or Netflix’s plans but said other film production companies were interested in optioning the book.

“It’s a timely subject and a great story that I think a lot of people thought could be very visual,” said Strone.

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The Netflix deal was first reported Tuesday by the Hollywood Reporter, a film industry publication. The Hollywood Reporter story also did not say what Netflix’s specific plans for the book might be.

“One Goal” was published by Hachette Books in February and quickly drew national attention, including a crew from NBC’s “Today” that filmed at Lewiston High School. An excerpt of the book appeared in Sports Illustrated magazine. Bass has spoken to groups, book clubs and schools around the country about it.

“One Goal” follows the story of the Lewiston High soccer team that brought the school its first soccer state championship in 2015, with the help of many Somali players. It explains how Somalis settling in Lewiston, a mill town in one of the whitest states, created an uneasiness. But as Somali kids began playing soccer in parks, high school coach Mike McGraw began working with the immigrant community to integrate the newcomers onto the team.

The result was a powerhouse team that won the state championship. Bass added information to the book after the team won it all again in 2017. The book also has a section of Lewiston history and context about soccer’s growing popularity in America.

Bass first became aware of the Lewiston team when a friend in Maine posted a story about it on Facebook. She was immediately interested in the team and wrote about it for CNN, before writing the book.

“It’s very much about Lewiston being a microcosm of bigger things happening right now,” said Bass, whose focus as a writer and historian includes civil rights, sports and pop culture. “Communities that come together don’t always stay together, it takes a lot of work.”

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