Bilal Abu-Omarah was the 2009 Fordson football team's formidable Running Back. The son of a Palestinian immigrant father and Palestinian-American mother, Bilal began his football career at the age of 8, playing for Dearborn's junior league, the Dearborn Lions. Bilal's fierce emotions on and off the field, coupled with his sense of humor, make him an endearing character in the film. His eloquence, both light-hearted and serious – from his banter with friends about food cravings to his reflections on racism - is memorable throughout the film. Bilal is attending Henry Ford Community College. He plans to coach football when his little brother, Zain, is old enough to play.
Baquer Sayed was the 2009 Fordson football team's star Wide Receiver. Baquer is the son of middle-class Lebanese immigrants, the seventh of nine children. Notably one of the most gifted players on the team, Baquer received All State Honors his senior year and was widely recruited by Division I football programs all over the country due to his talent on the field and strong academic showing in the classroom. He was offered football scholarships to Ball State University and Ohio State University but he turned them down for a preferred walk-on position at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, citing his childhood dream to play in the "Big House."
Ali Baidoun was the 2009 Fordson football team's star Quarterback. The son of a Lebanese immigrant father and Muslim convert mother, Ali began his football career at a young age, playing in Dearborn's junior football league, the Dearborn Lions. Once at Fordson, Ali followed in his father's footsteps, taking on the role of Quarterback, and choosing to wear the unconventional number his father wore: #32. As Quarterback, Ali proved to be an unstoppable force on the field and went on to break the Fordson record set by his father for most touchdown passes in a season.
He is currently studying to be a Physician's Assistant at Wayne State University and is the Quarterback coach of the Freshman team at Fordson.
Hassan Houssaiky was the 2009 Fordson football team's powerful Defensive Lineman. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Hassan is also the nephew of Head Coach Fouad Zaban. Hassan proved to be a unifying member of the team, rallying his fellow teammates to work together to defeat their cross town rivals the Dearborn Pioneers.
Hassan's brother is Ali Houssaiky, a Fordson graduate who was was wrongfully arrested and charged in 2006 for conspiracy to support terrorist activity. Ali and his friend, Osama Sibhi Abulhassan were arrested in Ohio after police found cell phones in their car, which they had purchased from local businesses for the purpose of re-selling them to make a profit and help pay for college tuition. The pair spent a week in prison before being released by authorities. All terrorism charges against them were dropped, but the Houssaiky family is still shaken by the ordeal.
Hassan is currently attending Henry Ford Community College. He continues to work at his father's gas station, and is in the stands every Friday night during football season.
Imad Fadlallah was Fordson High School's dynamic and embattled principal from 2005 to 2010.
As Fordson's first Arab-American and Muslim Principal, Imad's candid leadership style and intense dedication to doing what he believed to be in the best interest of his students gained him both admiration from supporters and harsh criticism from those uncomfortable with his unconventional approach.
In the film, Imad emerges as an important character, championing his students and determined to always do the right thing, no matter what the cost. Facing mounting pressure from those critical of his leadership, Imad chose to step down as Principal of Fordson High School in 2010, ending a 30 year career with the school district.
Fouad Zaban is Fordson High School's first Arab-American Muslim Head Football Coach. Fouad graduated from Fordson High School in 1988, and became Head Coach in 2006. Known affectionately by his players as Coach "Walker," Fouad brought with him the mantra of "No Excuses", an ideal he expects his players to live up to.
Softspoken yet firm, Coach "Walker" is a powerful character in the film, leading his players not only as a coach but as a protective father figure. In 2009 Fouad led the Tractors undefeated into the playoffs, where they fell in the first round. In 2010, Fouad and his team received national attention by holding pre-season football practices overnight during the month of Ramadan. Currently he is one of five families in Dearborn being featured in TLC's newly announced reality series, All American Muslims.