Editor’s note: Welcome to the Sun Journal’s look at the (r)evolution of soccer in the city of Lewiston, Maine. This was a project a decade in the making. It was a project borne of simple observation, as burgeoning numbers of African immigrants changed the landscape of a small, recovering textile-mill and shoe-factory city. As the city evolved, so did its schools, and its sports teams, and on no other team was the impact greater than on the boys’ soccer team.

Kevin C. Mills recognized this and began working on this story from the outset of the fall season in 2014. By late October, the story turned into an epic tale of struggle, and of coming together as one. The Sun Journal unveiled this project during the playoffs in 2014. 

Lewiston fell in the regional final that year, but in 2015, the Blue Devils completed their magical run, earning the first state crown in the school’s history. The team was the subject of a film. The players’ stories have been repeated to and by major media outlets across the country, and across the world. 

Kevin captured it well, and before anyone else.

Sadly, Kevin C. Mills passed away in the summer of 2016. He was a great writer, and a great colleague.

Part of his legacy lives on here. It is a story of triumph in the face of adversity.

With so much taking place in immigration and race relations in the years since this first ran, this story is perhaps even more relevant today than ever.