Our MRC Refugee Mens Soccer Team wrapped up our fall season this past month. Below is a program report by MRC Soccer Manager- Casey Kasper with photos from Chris Carson (www.chriscarson.com). Enjoy!
The Multicultural Refugee Coalition made its grand debut in the Austin Men’s Soccer League on September 12th, 2010. The team that started out as a dream in April, materialized into the very first practice on May 19thand built up slowly with lots of hard work and late practices, was finally getting the chance for league play. There was a light shower early that morning, and now the sun was beating down mercilessly. You could cut the humidity and the tension with a knife. For about half the team, this was the first time playing soccer after a long hiatus due to Ramadan. Being a brand new team, we ended up losing the first game. Inside though, I was smiling for two reasons. First, it was a good showing against a group that would end up being the number one team. Second, the team reminded me of all the great soccer movies where outstanding but unfocused talent comes together. The first game is a little rough, and then there is that moment that transcends all language and cultural barriers.
Our first season can be divided into two parts: the first three games and the last six. For the first three goals, it was a learning curve with everyone getting used to playing with each other. We lost two of the three games. We had thirteen goals scored against us while scoring eight ourselves. However, after the third game, that is when the magical moment happens. Everyone becomes more comfortable communicating with each other and working together. For the next six games, we had one goal scored against us. Yes, that’s right, only one! In these six games, we scored twenty nine goals. Our defense became an iron wall, and our strikers were on target. In our soccer movie, this is where the upbeat montage plays and everything clicks. It is great to see the cooperation between the seven different countries playing on our team. In this game of soccer, it doesn’t matter if you’re Iraqi, Afghani, Congolese, Eritrean, Columbian, Palestinian or Liberian. For those ninety minutes, you’re brothers working together for the same goal.
There have been many challenges in getting this team set up. There has been a lot of hard work both on the players’ side and behind the scenes. Coach Hassan has worked diligently to build this great team and handle any of the problems that inevitably arise between different groups. Alex and Meg have worked very hard to get the team in the Austin Men’s Soccer League and to bring players and water to the games. Another big challenge has been the changing roster. There are only a few faces that are still around from the picture of the very first practice. Many people have grueling late night jobs to juggle also. However, they’re still at the field ready to play at 8:00 on Sunday.
Right now, our team is running on all cylinders. It is a beautiful thing to see these guys work so cohesively. There have been some setbacks along the way, but we’re learning. It has been a great honor for me to help out as the team manager and watch this group mature as a team. As for our soccer movie, the premiere was a great success. Thank you for your help- for now we can have a chance to build on these successes and make the sequel even better!
Please consider supporting our team through the Global Giving campaign going on now until December 22nd at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/refugee-soccer-community-program/.