“Football —to me— is everything. Football is support. Football is health. It means relationships and it means peace.”
This morning I listened to these words pour out of Darfur United coach Souliman with such conviction that I had to take pause. This wasn’t the first time coach Souliman’s words and presence have stopped me in my tracks andcaused me to consider the greater implications of my own actions and interactions. He’s a delightful man who is self-assured in the understated way that makes you feel instantly comfortable. A man whose kindness is felt before it is shown.
During the soccer academy coach tryouts this past November Souliman led by example. He showed up early and was the last to leave. He wasn’t the most skilled player to turn out, but he worked harder and moved his feet faster than everybody else for four days straight. The desire and grit he approached this opportunity with was not easily missed. Souliman knew what a coaching position at Darfur United (DU) would mean to him and his family, but more importantly, he recognized the power of organized sport to help heal and empower the youth in his community. Today we got to witness this effort in full force.<