2017 Darfur United Men’s Soccer Training Camp Östersund, Sweden
Who – The Darfur United Men’s Team (DU) is an all-refugee soccer team, originally formed from twelve refugee camps in eastern Chad. These camps currently host over 360,000 displaced people from Darfur. There will be new players trying out for the team at this year’s training camp.
What – The Darfur United Men’s Team participates in an annual soccer training camp and also competes in international friendlies. The 2017 Östersund Training Camp will include three friendly matches against Östersund United, a team of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea; Ope IF B team; and ÖFK Academy U19 boys.
|July 9th – 19th 2017||Training Camp|
|July 12th||Game 1: Darfur United vs. Östersund United|
|July 15th||Game 2: Darfur United vs. Ope IF B team|
|July 18th||Game 3: Darfur United vs. ÖFK Academy U19 boys|
Where – Östersund, Sweden. In 2014, the Darfur United Men’s Soccer Team played in its first CONIFA World Football Cup in Östersund, a tournament organized for football teams made up of nationless peoples. Team members were eventually able to claim asylum in Sweden and have permanently moved to various cities across the nation. Östersund is a small, urban town six hours north of Stockholm, and home to a population of 49,806. The DU team trains and competes at the local Östersund Arena.
Why – Training camps and games maintain mental and physical health for the DU players, and this year’s camp will be used to prepare for the friendly match against Matabeleland FC in Zimbabwe this December, as well as to help the team qualify for CONIFA 2018. Goals include establishment of shortand-long-term training goals for each player, increase in mindfulness practice, and further formalization of team organization. Through sustained efforts and activism, the DU players provide awareness of the global refugee crisis and generate hope for their family and friends still living in the refugee camps in eastern Chad.
How – iACT team members are coordinating this year’s soccer training camp and games. The iACT team includes two professional coaches and a professional medical/athletic trainer, as well as a local community Coordinator based in Östersund.
iACT, Katie-Jay Scott
+1 (310) 738-0285
ABOUT DARFUR UNITED
Darfur United (DU) is a men’s soccer team of resettled refugees from Darfur, Sudan, based in Östersund, Sweden. In a joint effort with the Darfuri refugee community, the UN Refugee Agency, and soccer fans, iACT formed DU in 2012. That year, iACT took the team from refugee camps in eastern Chad to Iraqi-Kurdistan to participate in the Viva World Cup, where the team competed and scored the Darfuri community’s first international goal. Two years later, iACT facilitated the team’s participation in the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup in Östersund, Sweden. During this tournament, DU players shared their stories with the world and iACT began forming partnerships with Swedish communities. Thirteen of the original Darfur United players were able to claim asylum in Sweden in 2014. Not only is Darfur United an opportunity for the refugees to represent their people while playing the “beautiful game,” it is also a movement—a movement to bring hope, inspiration, and joy to the people of Darfur.
iACT is an international organization providing humanitarian action to aid, empower, and extend hope to those affected by mass atrocities, creating a world where people are connected and equipped to act. Learn more at iact.global and follow iACT on Facebook & Twitter.
These programs are entirely community-led. They made every decision from which day to run the program to what hours and to who will be on the teaching team each day. The teams are diverse and yet they have committed to working together.
Trust in the process. Trust in the modeling before the explanation. Trust in the people. Trust in the children, and they will trust you.
If there is anything that can foster community between people and across cultures, it is sharing a meal and a cup of tea. While we do that, we will also be sure to sprinkle in some early childhood development, mindfulness, and games!