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Internationally Recognized Peace and Sport NGO Launches First Soccer Program for Girls and Boys in D

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Katie-Jay Scott, ktj@iact.ngo, 310.738.0285

REDONDO BEACH, CA – 14 OCTOBER 2013 – Members of i-ACT, a nonprofit organization based in Redondo Beach, CA, will be traveling to the Darfur refugee camps in Eastern Chad to launch the very first Darfur United Soccer Academy for boys and girls ages 6-13. i-ACT won the Peace and Sport NGO of the Year award in 2012 for its work with the Darfur United (DU) men’s team. Now, they are expanding their work to include a Soccer Academy.

The refugee-led Soccer Academy will serve 2,000 youth in its first refugee camp, eventually expanding to all 12 Darfuri refugee camps spanning the Chad-Sudan border. The Darfur refugees fled from ethnic violence in their home country of Sudan and have been living in the refugee camps for ten years. There are very few programs that address trauma and psycho-social support. This groundbreaking program helps fill this void by offering the first organized sports program for girls and boys in the refugee camps. Darfur United not only provides a safe place for the children to play, but it fosters self-esteem, builds unity, and serves as a vehicle for peace.

Rachael Rapinoe, owner of Rapinoe Soccer Camps and retired professional women’s soccer player, will be Darfur United’s first Coach Ambassador. Rapinoe will train the first four Darfuri coaches, two of whom will be women. Rapinoe describes her passion for the initiative: “I’ve spent my entire life learning and trying to master the beautiful game of futbol, and now I am lucky enough to share this knowledge with others. I have coached at many levels, from youth to universities, trying to instill positivity, inspiration and encouragement in all players of all ages.”

Darfur United began as an adult refugee soccer team who competed in the 2012 VIVA World Cup for nationless people. Creating the team and helping them reach the competition in Iraqi Kurdistan was an inspiration to not only the players but to hundreds of thousands Darfuris. In a recent text message one Darfur United player said, “You know, when I remember those moments in Goz Beida and Adiss Ababa, Istanbul, a