The Best Sport? Soccer, According to ACC Youth!

 ACC’s Youth Programs have a long history of coordinating soccer leagues for young refugee men. Thanks to Adidas Group, ACC’s Youth Programs are now able to provide young refugee women an equal opportunity to compete in an indoor co-ed soccer league. For the majority of these young women, the idea of competing in a local indoor soccer league was previously an unimaginable goal due to lack of experience, self-confidence, and equipment to use during practices.

Since October, Saha Idriss, Youth Specialist at ACC’s Youth Programs, has shared his skills, knowledge, and passion for soccer with these young women. Initially, introducing the young women to different physical exercises to train for soccer was met with a lot of resistance. It took consistent and clear communication, and above all, patience over the course of five months to begin to see incredible personal and overall team growth.

In April, the same eight young women finally registered to an indoor soccer league with two other young men. Thus far, this co-ed soccer team has won three games. Two important factors contributed to the personal and overall success of the co-ed team. First was the commitment from Saha Idriss. Before becoming a dedicated ACC staff member, Saha was an outstanding participant of International CITY, ACC’s after-school program. He has used his own experiences as a refugee and his passion for soccer to individually support each player to advance their strengths and improve their self-confidence and sense of belonging.

In addition to Saha’s exceptional role as a mentor, coach, and big brother, Adidas played a critical role in helping the players realize their new capacity. In working with low-income communities, lack of access to practice facilities and proper gear can be a barrier to competition. With the support of Adidas, the young women in the soccer program have found a new passion in life and have discovered an unexpected talent within themselves. One player said, “Soccer is the best sport I have ever played. I love soccer because whenever we play together it just makes us laugh.” Another player shared, “I will join the high school soccer team next year. I just need to train and put in the energy needed”

Interested in giving other young men and women the opportunity to play soccer? Click here to make a donation of $100 to ACC’s Youth Programs, which can cover one player registration fee.