It's Soccer Season at the IRC in New York!
With the imminent arrival of the fall, sports leagues around New York City are gearing up to begin their new season of tournaments. As luck and persistence from a very dedicated former IRC intern would have it, the IRC in New York has been granted a spot to compete on the prestigious UN Soccer League – an exciting opportunity to showcase the many talents of its refugee clients.
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.
Thank you Alexis Devine for this invaluable opportunity.
To view a few highlights of the game, click here.