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A Goal Without a Net

This blog was originally posted on and written by Mark Hodson. 

We’ve all come a long way in terms of distance traveled as players and as human beings.

I still remember with vivid clarity the time we ran a football tryout, in the unlikely, apocalyptic setting of a refugee camp in Eastern Chad. If the truth be told, I had no idea what the ultimate goal for this team might be. To share the Darfur story was a part of it. To provide the opportunity for a small window of joy on the pitch was another part… but how quickly the ball of momentum for Darfur United started moving… and once it reached the parameter of that hot and desolate camp it simply refused to stop rolling. 


The team are my boys. I have known many of them now for four amazing years. I was there in Djabal as I watched their underfed, wiry frames wander into training at 5am somewhere in the Chadian desert, that beautiful morning. The dust rising from the scorched earth, as they jogged over the horizon. Surely even they couldn’t dream that this moment would lead them to a new life, four years later, taking the field against an Academy Football Club in Sweden, surrounded by their band of brothers from their homeland.

As we arrived in S