Darfur United (DU) is a men’s soccer team of resettled refugees from Darfur, Sudan, based in Östersund, Sweden. In a joint effort with the Darfuri refugee community, the UN Refugee Agency, and soccer fans, iACT formed DU in 2012. That year, iACT took the team from refugee camps in eastern Chad to Iraqi-Kurdistan to participate in the Viva World Cup, where the team competed and scored the Darfuri community’s first international goal. Two years later, iACT facilitated the team’s participation in the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup in Östersund, Sweden. During this tournament, DU players shared their stories with the world and iACT began forming partnerships with Swedish communities. Thirteen of the original Darfur United players were able to claim asylum in Sweden in 2014. Not only is Darfur United an opportunity for the refugees to represent their people while playing the “beautiful game,” it is also a movement—a movement to bring hope, inspiration, and joy to the people of Darfur.
Refugees United Soccer Academy
Refugees United Soccer Academy (RUSA) is a place for refugee children to learn about teamwork, leadership, and peacebuilding, all while improving soccer skills. It offers these children, whose families have experienced extreme violence, a safe space to play, heal, and be empowered. The Academy also serves as a way to connect refugee children and youth with soccer players and clubs across the U.S. and globally. iACT supports eight Academies serving Sudanese refugee children in eastern Chad and refugee children from the Central African Republic in Cameroon.