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It’s About Pride.

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It cannot be a more stark difference. The football that Darfur United has played in the last six days at training camp in Östersund, Sweden; and the first days of tryouts back in refugee camp Djabal in eastern Chad in 2012. Through it all, Coach Mark Hodson has mentored and coached the team from the deserts of the Sahel to the bustling streets of Iraqi Kurdistan to the lakes and forests of Sweden.

Hours before the second game at training camp against a local club, Coach Mark runs the team through passing drills that force them to check to the ball, move into space, and play simple football. It is brilliant and inspiring.

The pace of the passes, the sound of cleats solidly connecting with the ball, the determined expressions on the players’ faces, and the encouraging yet serious feedback given by Coach Mark echo throughout Jämtkraft Arena.