Hermosa Beach residents help young refugee men that escaped violence in Darfur as children have a chance to represent their homeland before the world

For Immediate Release
April 13, 2012

U.S. Contact: Katie-Jay Scott
(310) 738-0285

Refugee Camp Djabal, Eastern Chad (April 13, 2012) — Darfur United, an all refugee soccer team from Darfur, announced its roster, after a week of try-outs and trainings in a refugee camp close to the Chad-Sudan border. This effort was organized by a small non-profit based in Redondo Beach, CA and coached by Manhattan Beach Sand and Surf Soccer Club Director of Coaching, Mark Hodson.

Sixty-one players from the twelve refugee camps that dot the Chad-Sudan border participated in try-outs for fifteen spots on the team roster. This team will represent Darfur, the embattled region of Sudan, in the 2012 Viva World Cup in June, a soccer tournament for nationless people and other groups not represented by FIFA, the international soccer federation.

Coach Mark Hodson said, “The level of talent was impressive, especially considering the facilities and resources available to the players. Everyone came ready to play, and they didn’t need asking twice to produce their best level of effort.”

i-ACT, the non-profit behind the creation of Darfur United, has been using community engagement, on and off-line, to find support for the team. “This has been all about community,” i-ACT Founder and Director Gabriel Stauring said. “People from around the U.S. have joined in making it happen by fundraising, buying t-shirts, donating gear, and spreading the word. Now, we have to get them to the Viva Cup, and we need even more participation from people everywhere.”

To support the team in its journey to the Viva World Cup, visit www.darfurunited.com/support

In late May, the team will travel from Chad to Iraqi Kurdistan for the tournament. Most players are in their late teens or early twenties, making them approximately ten years old when they escaped the violence in Darfur. They have spent all of their adult lives as refugees. Stauring
says, “They have had nothing positive to celebrate and have been losing hope of any future beyond the confines of the refugee camp. This team means so much more to them than just a game of football. It gives all refugees something to celebrate, and it gives them a connection to the outside world.”

“I am so happy this will be truth. It will be exactly Darfur United,” said Sulieman, a refugee from camp Goz Amer that tried out for the team. “It cannot only be on a shirt. It must be in the country, with Darfur united. I hope we will be united. I am very excited. I cannot express my feelings. We heard about this team six months ago, and today it’s truth.”
Here is the official Darfur United roster:

  1. Musa Aarun Sulieman:   Central Midfield
  2. Youssef Mohammed Abdala:    Center Back
  3. Mubarak Haggar Duogom:    Striker
  4. Abdulbassit Omer Soulyman:    Central Midfield/Right Back
  5. Sadam Hissen Dine:   Left Midfield
  6. Nouradin Abdalah Mussa:    Striker
  7. Mohamed Omer Inagy:    Central Midfield
  8. Abobaker Zakaria Ali:    Midfield
  9. Mohamed Adam Abdalah:    Midfield
  10. Mohamed Mahmoud Anour:    Left Back
  11. Abdulhamid Mohamed Gum:    Goalkeeper
  12. Mubarek Khamis Ahmed:    Central Defender/Holding Midfield
  13. Mubarag Abdelah Ahmed:    Right Midfield/Right Forward
  14. Abdelah Sulieman Mohamed:    Left Back/Left Midfield
  15. Issa Ahmed Abdelah:    Defender/Holding Midfield

To see picture and coachʼs note for each player, please visit www.darfurunited.com/team

Darfur Unitedʼs journey can be followed at:

Coach Hodson:
“For me the greatest prize from this mission will be to see the team step out onto the field wearing their Darfur United uniform. To get 20 refugees from 12 different camps to one location is a feat that those not in the know, will never understand how difficult this is to accomplish. From that, the selection and training process has provided moments of joy and euphoria that the team and volunteers will forever share. This group of players has suffered incredible sadness and hardship. There is no sign that their situation is going to improve any time soon….but they still carry a tremendous pride and sense of responsibility and a hope, that what they are doing will create a new path and joy for the people of Darfur, and it is an honor to be involved!”

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