Universal Helps Atlantan Soccer Refugees

Universal Pictures has won an intense multistudio bidding war for the movie rights to a Warren St. John-penned New York Times article revolving around a group of soccer-playing refugee kids who settled near Atlanta.

The $2-3 million deal includes the rights to the article and the life rights to the soccer team’s coach, a Jordan-born woman named Luma Mufleh. St. John plans to turn the article into a book, and those rights were acquired as well says The Hollywood Reporter.

The article tells the success story of the Fugees, a team of refugees from global hotspots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Burundi, Congo, Cambia Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. Placed by resettlement agencies, the kids were banned from playing on a grassy field in the local town park in Clarkston, Georgia.

Jordan-born Mufleh created a team for these kids and helped their families find work and break through bureaucratic red tape as they tried to assimilate. The team made it to the semi-finals.

The deal is the largest-ever film sale for a Times article. Universal’s deal includes funds for a small soccer stadium and the establishment of a foundation that will benefit the refugees.