These feet have escaped unimaginable violence, walked countless miles, and crossed international borders. These are the feet of refugees, and now they to get kick footballs—and experience the pure joy of play.

For us to be here, so many things have to come together. It is years of planning and work, combined with support from caring people on the other side of the world—so far from these refugee sites. We now get to share in the joy as we see the refugees run, kick, and laugh. This will be their Academy. The four (or maybe five) coaches that we select will take on the great responsibility of leading hundreds of boys and girls. They will be role models and provide a special space where it’s safe for refugee children to use their feet, their minds, and their hearts.

I cannot get close to explaining what I feel, as I stand on the sideline and watch this group of young men and women on their way to becoming Refugees United Coaches—using their feet to make their community a better, more hopeful place.

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