I’ve been trying for a week now to put into words exactly what it has been like to be on this journey with the Darfur United men’s soccer team, and the only word I can come up with to describe it is amazing. These men are fighters and have a never give up attitude. They literally give 100% until the final whistle blows, no matter what the score line has been.
As we are approaching our final game tomorrow in the ConIFA World Football Cup, I sit in my room and reflect back on the past week and everything that has happened here in Sweden. So far, we have lost 3 of 3 matches by significant margins. We are beat up, bruised, and definitely a little sore, but I have to ask myself – is the result of the match really what’s important? Or is there something bigger that is happening here?
In my opinion we are part of a bigger picture and movement. Darfur United is now on the international football stage, they have a voice, and people have heard their story. And not only have people heard the story but people are listening and taking notice. Different teams, competing in this very tournament, are coming out to our games and chanting “DARFUR UNITED, DARFUR UNITED.” The reason for this? The phenomenal group of men I am privileged to coach and also call friends.
So as we approach our final match tomorrow morning, and look to score our first goal of the tournament, I ask you: What is really important, the final score at the end of a match? Or the smile on the Darfur United men’s faces now that they are recognized as part of the world?
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. –Harriet Tubman