“In 2006 I was at home watching the ESPY Awards when two young women from Afghanistan were honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I was moved to tears and knew immediately that these brave women needed to tell their stories. By facing extraordinary obstacles and even life-threatening danger—just by playing a sport that we take for granted—they came together to play soccer and in the process, they have brought about change in a country where a woman’s very identity has been brutally stripped away.”

— Gretchen Young, editor

“A group of Afghan girls are introduced to soccer American-style in this subtly composed, eye-opening tale of cultural clash and transformation.”

— Publisher Weekly

Library Journal:

“These are tough girls raised in harsh environments; there is no need to linger on their suffering. Instead, we rejoice with them in the freedom and power that comes from athletic achievement.”
VERDICT “The courage of these eight girls will inspire readers of all backgrounds.”

Kirkus Review:

“Ayub offers a deeply sympathetic look at these girls and their immensely complicated existences.”