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 that she did not know what Netflix’s specific plans for her book are. 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.

Abdirizak Ali, left, attempts a shot as his teammate Dek Hassan tries to interrupt him during drills at practice in 2015. Hassan said he and seven of his teammates grew up in the same refugee camp. A book about the team has been optioned by Netflix.

“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. “(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.”

When Bass found out about the option, she told Lewiston High School coaches and administrators, whom she’s stayed in touch with since writing the book about the team that won a state championship in 2015.

“Wow, we never expected it to get to this level. We knew we had a good story and a special thing going here,” said Dan Gish, an assistant coach on the team. “I was a little worried (about the book) at first, but Amy did such a great job with it.”

Gish said Wednesday afternoon that he hadn’t talked to players on the 2015 team about the Netflix option, but thought they’d likely be very proud their story continues to intrigue people.

Bass, who teaches history at The College of New Rochelle in New York, referred questions about the Netflix deal 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,” Strone said.

The Netflix deal was first reported Tuesday by the Hollywood Reporter, a film industry publication. The Hollywood Reporter story did not say what Netflix’s specific plans for the book might be. A spokeswoman for Neflix confirmed the deal reported by the Hollywood Reporter, but declined to provide details Wednesday.

“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.

In telling the story of the team, “One Goal” 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 squad that brought the school its first state soccer championship. Bass added information to the book after the team won it all again in 2017. The book also has a section on Lewiston’s history and context about soccer’s growing popularity in America.

“We didn’t see race at all,” Gish said of the mix of races on the Lewiston team. “It doesn’t matter if you have the best players, if you don’t show them you care and if they don’t care about each other.”

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.”

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @RayRouthier

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