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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

United Nations Soccer League Plays On Roosevelt Island's Octagon Field With International Rescue Committee Team Of Refugees Fleeing Oppression

 Image of UN Soccer League at Octagon Field From Eric Michael Johnson of NY Times

The New York Times City Room Blog reports today on a team made up of refugees playing in the United Nations Soccer League at Roosevelt Island's Octagon Soccer Field:
In a Wednesday night league held on Roosevelt Island, the sidelines are clearly marked, but the games are very much without borders.

This is especially true for the refugee team that plays in this United Nations soccer league made up of players who work at the U.N.

The refugee team is fielded by the International Rescue Committee, a nongovernmental international relief organization that works with immigrants fleeing oppression. The refugee team has six players who have come in recent months from countries including Guinea, Mauritania and Sierra Leone....
Click here for the entire NY Times article.

According to the International Rescue Committee:
... September 14th marked the kick-off of the season, and the IRC Soccer Team made up of recently arrived refugees and asylees from Afghanistan, Guinea, Iraq and Mauritania as well as IRC staff played its first game on Roosevelt Island. The excitement on the field was palpable, a mixture of nervousness and anticipation. Most of the recently arrived refugees had never played soccer in the US before; some hadn’t had a chance to play in over a decade; all were thrilled to simply be given the opportunity to enjoy the game. As Ely, the eldest of 3 brothers who arrived from Mauritania 3 weeks ago, phrased it “for the first time since I arrived in New York, no heavy thoughts, no worries. I feel good.”

Soccer transcends borders, nationality, race and culture. The only common language necessary is the fondness for the sport and the camaraderie that ensues between the players. For individuals who have gone through tremendous hardships such as the refugees the IRC assists on a daily basis, playing a game of soccer offers not only great solace but a renewed sense of freedom....
More on the Octagon Soccer Field from previous posts.

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