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Defying the Odds

By Rachael Rapinoe / January, 21, 2015

This blog is part of i-ACT Expedition 20. Read more about the entire trip here.
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It never ceases to amaze me how universal football truly is. Everyone knows the game, it’s beloved in almost every country on this earth, and the majority of the people in the world want to play it. Being able to coach this game is truly an honor, especially to those who need the inspiration.

Darfuri women are not typically encouraged to play football in their culture. They’re allowed to play hand ball, or volleyball. Darfuri women are also not encouraged to be coaches, especially football coaches. We’re pretty much defying a lot of odds out here in eastern Chad by not only encouraging women to play football, alongside the men, but also training them to be women football coaches. Not only am I loving every second of the DUSA Coaches Training, but the women are too.

The last couple of days we were training on the football field, which is located in the epicenter of Camp Touloum. By the size and noise of the crowds we were attracting, you would have thought it was a Barca vs. Real Madrid game! Needless to say, it was imperative to switch fields to a much quieter location on the outskirt of the refugee camp. So, of all the training days, today was the most successful.

The players are learning the drills quickly and skillfully, not to my surprise. It’s incredible how easily they absorb the material, especially the women, who have probably never played a day in their lives. With minimal language being translated, football is a game whose body movements form its own language. Though there may be different football dialects across the world, it’s all the same script.

These next couple of days are needed to observe the leadership skills required to make DUSA, Touloum successful. Our candidates are incredible men and women who have all endured more in their lifetime than imaginable, but we can only pick four. It is going to be a tough decision, as I’m confident they’re all qualified and eager to become a DUSA Coach.

This blog is part of i-ACT Expedition 20. Read more about the entire trip here.

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Meet DUSA Coach Candidate

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Fauzia

Age: 18

Fauzia is officially one of six women in camp Touloum to be playing football alongside the men. She has 5 sisters and 3 brothers. She is attending secondary school and hopes to continue her education. Becoming a DUSA coach will give her the opportunity to support her big family!


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