Darfur United Soccer Academy (DUSA) coaches Thouhilia, Sadiya, Issag and Souliman had a challenging day at DUSA recently. DUSA in Goz Amer is certainly not lacking participants, but with an abundance of children playing and watching each day in the first week of it’s opening, things got a little uneasy. We saw that the DUSA pillars of peace, helping, and sharing are more difficult to uphold amongst a crowd of children living in a severely resource deprived refugee camp.
Coach Souliman said this to me matter of factly after that challenging day. He knows first hand how soccer can bring people together. It wasn’t too long ago that he himself was trying out for the first Darfur United men’s team in 2012, where the team of young refugee men refused to eat and share the same space with those not of their tribe or camp. Here they were, selected to participate on Darfur UNITED and they refused to integrate with others. However, the conflict and separation did not last long. Within a couple of days, players quickly became brothers, learning each other’s language, sharing stories, meals, and high-fives.