I could not be more grateful for the outstanding support shown by the community for Darfur United at this year’s One Strong Kick on May 30, hosted by Kari and Dennis Doody at their beautiful home in Hermosa Beach, CA!
This year, our goal was to raise enough to expand to two more camps and build DU facilities where the community and players can gather and train—and we succeeded by raising $23,500!
This year’s event focused on celebrating and promoting the equal inclusion of women and girls. The Darfur United Soccer Academy (DUSA) is the first comprehensive program to offer women and girls the opportunity to learn and play soccer, and be leaders on and off the field.
With your support from last year’s event and throughout the year, the Darfur United Soccer Academy is now in two refugee camps and on its way to serving 4,000 boys and girls. We have eight coaches, four men and four women, who provide a comprehensive soccer program that offers a safe place for the children to gather and participate in a healthy and enriching activity. Thanks to you, we also took the Darfur United Men’s Team to compete in the 2014 ConIFA World Cup in Sweden.
This year’s Darfur United Spirit Award was given to two outstanding individuals, Mark Hodson, Darfur United Head Coach since 2012, and Rachael Rapinoe, Darfur United Coach Ambassador who has opened both DU Soccer Academies in camps Touloum and Djabal. Both Rachael and Mark have been relentless supporters of the program and the individual players and coaches. They bring a sense of humor and personal consideration to every drill, conversation, and piece of feedback they provide. Most importantly, they believe “obstacles be damned” and a find a way to make what needs to happen happen.
One Strong Kick 2015 included: an art exhibit with drawing from Darfuri children, tacos and ceviche provided by Villegas Tacos, handcrafted, speciality Tequila Don Nacho cocktails mixed by Tipsy, local South Bay Session IPA from Dudes Brewing, Stonestreet Estate wine from Alexander Valley, live painting of and art auction on an original piece by Jeff Lingle of Over The Moon Murals, music from ever supportive family duo Crystal Kakebeen and David Veerman and local Hermosa Beach band BARLEY, an opportunity to become a Champion of Hope and Equality, and a raffle and silent auction area that raised $4,800 from generously donated items. It was an outstanding event attended by over 200 people!
We are extremely grateful to our event sponsors, who also included for the first time Event Assistant Coaches and Team Managers:
Kari and Dennis Doody, Event Hosts
Event Assistant Coaches:
DIRTT Environmental Services
Event Team Managers:
Susan and Mark Sampson
Shauna Valenzuela and Family
Mark and Stephanie Maruyama
Anonymous supporter from Redondo Beach, CA
We also gave guests outstanding DU Swag Bags created by MIXT Studio and included items from the Darfur refugee camps, Becker’s hats, free coffee from Scapegoat, free spin class at FitOn Studio’s, Justin’s almond butter samples, Alaffia beauty samples, notepads and pens from Aim Mail Center and David Veerman Real Estate Team, LA Galaxy pencils, Mamma Chia samples, and shot glasses provided by Tequila Don Nacho, The Promotions Dept., and Darfur United.
A special thank you to our event committee members: Neiki Ullah, Marcie Baim, Adrienne Liu, Christian Deitch, Lori-Ann Harbridge, Cany Stauring, Sadie Geary, Shannon Boe, Lisa Rieg, Ashley Hodson, Kari Doody, Alex Nuttall-Smith, and Susan Brooks.
Each year, more and more individuals and businesses step up to be part of the amazing story of Darfur United. THANK YOU! The team, Academy, and Darfuris who benefit from these programs would not be thriving without your support.