Soccer helping new arrivals feel welcome in Adelaide

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George Duodu from Ghana is now a skilled member of a Port Adelaide competition team. The program is a collaboration between Uniting Church Wesley at Port Adelaide and the group Life Without Barriers and has been providing support since last year.Once a week, the boys develop their soccer skills and make connections with each other and support organisations.Adelaide United players Marcelo Carrusca and Iacopo La Rocca joined the latest training session.Midfielder Carrusca said he was reminded of his own good fortune when he heard the boys’ stories, including some tales about refugee camps.He said soccer was a way to help teach life skills, such as working hard and making sacrifices.”We learn to respect each other, to work together — in life it’s the same, we have to work together for a good cause, we have to help each other,” he said.Carrusca was impressed with some of the skills displayed at training.”A couple of the guys played really well, they play in the local league here and have a good future if they work hard they can become professional players,” he said. (ABC News)
Travis Omach has come from war-torn Sudan and is enjoying life in Australia.”There was war, not enough food, no lights and we just used candles sometimes, when there was money to buy them,” he said.”Life wasn’t really that great, it was so difficult.”Every day I would go to get food for my little sister, I would go to the beach to catch fish and cook it and then walk half an hour to get water.”He said boys there were forced into the military, but Australian life was a stark contrast, leaving him wide-eyed but feeling guilty about the harsh life for his friends back home.”I want to go back someday, open up a business and be the same as everyone else,” he said.”I don’t like to see myself happy and there are people out there dying.”He said the community football program had given him great enjoyment.”It’s just great, you meet new people and make them feel welcome,” he said.The program has grown from about a dozen young players to supporting about 200, with the organisers supplying the boys with some food and drinks and ensuring they have bus fares for the trip home. Soccer is helping boys, many of them new arrivals from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Africa, with their social, physical and mental wellbeing as they build new lives in Adelaide.
By Sowaibah Hanifie

Updated

April 14, 2017 09:25:16

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The boys got some tuition from professionals from the Adelaide United club. (ABC News: Sowaibah Hanifie)