Los Angeles — The Darfur United refugee men's soccer team will be holding tryouts in Los Angeles on July 28-29, 2018. Experienced and skilled Darfuri soccer players, born in Darfur, or elsewhere to Darfuri parents, are invited to participate.
The two-day tryouts will be an opportunity to identify potential players that might be invited to become available to play for Darfur United in future games and tournaments.
The original Darfur United (DU) is a men's soccer team of resettled refugees from Darfur, based in Östersund, Sweden. In a joint effort with the Darfuri refugee community, the UN Refugee Agency, and soccer fans, iACT, an NGO that provides humanitarian action to aid, empower, and extend hope to those affected by mass atrocities, 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, in which the team competed and scored the Darfuri community's first international goal. Two years later, the team participated 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.
Once separated across several Swedish cities, the majority of the Darfur United players now reside in Östersund and have joined a local division 6 league as part of ÖFK Cosmos. In their most recent match, the team produced a 1-1 draw against opponent IFK Strömsund in May, after a late goal from Mohammed Adam (a.k.a. "Cristiano").
Not only is Darfur United an opportunity for 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.