Teen Calgary soccer player gets a chance to play in the UK.  April 17, 2017
Valerie Fortney, Calgary Herald

Moneer Mehalhel

Last week, Moneer Mehalhel saw three big dreams come true: he flew to Europe for the first time, got to ride on the London Eye giant ferris wheel and played soccer alongside some of the best young players on the planet. “It was all pretty exciting,” he says with a big smile.

When I ask him if his experiences on the soccer — on that side of the Atlantic, football — field were just a tad nerve-wracking, he almost laughs. “Nervous? No.”

That doesn’t seem like an off-the-wall question to pose to someone who’s just turned 14 years old. Then again, Mehalhel isn’t your average teenager. His recent trip came by way of invitation from British football club West Ham United to participate in an elite training camp.

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Fortney: Transforming immigrant kids’ lives, one soccer game at a time. July 27, 2016
Valerie Fortney, Calgary Herald

On one side of the field, it’ll be kids, some who don’t yet know English; on the other, adult members of the Calgary Police Service.

When I ask Jean-Claude Munyezamu if that seems like an unfair matchup for a soccer game, he lets out a hearty laugh. “Oh, no, we’re going to let the kids win that one,” he explains. “Then we’ll mix the teams and the real competition begins.”

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Calgary Police kick off match against kids from Soccer Without Boundaries,  Aug 12, 2016
Tricia Lo, CBC News

They don’t all speak English, but they do all speak soccer, and they just kicked off a sweaty “conversation” with Calgary cops. 

For the first time, kids from Soccer Without Boundaries took on Calgary police in a match meant to build trust between kids from diverse backgrounds and officers.

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Rwandan genocide survivor brings kids together through soccer, 10 April 2016
Jennifer Friesen

“Jean-Claude Munyezamu said it started back in Kenya.
After escaping the Rwandan genocide, the 19-year-old found his way to the Dadaab refugee camp in 1993.
He began teaching the children how to make soccer balls out of discarded plastic bags, just as he did when he was young. Within an hour, more than 100 children had gathered.”

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Neighbourhood Grants embody the soul of our city, 6 April 2016
Claire Griffin

“Ten local groups made their best pitches at the annual Soul of the City Neighbour Grants Pitch Night before the audience had the difficult job of picking five winners to put into action their ideas to improve, enhance, or revitalize their community or neighbourhood.
The pitches – similar to those delivered on the popular TV show Dragons Den – were made to a panel of judges and before a crowd of people who packed the Glenbow Theatre on Tuesday and voted for five groups of Calgarians that were each awarded $10,000 grants for their projects.”

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Will Ferguson recalls road trip at centre of his new book, 14 October 2015 
Gilbert Ngabo

“Reading Will Ferguson’s recent book, Road Trip Rwanda, is almost exactly like being in Rwanda. I know — I lived there for 25 years before coming to Canada.
From the seriousness of law enforcers to the mundane activities and the craziness of an entire nation about soccer, the Giller Prize-winning author managed to beautifully capture it all in a 350-page memoir that hit bookshelves early this month.”

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Will Ferguson: “There’s more to Rwanda than genocide”, 6 October 2015

“Munyezamu, who narrowly escaped the 1994 genocide, led the Giller Prize winning writer on a true journey of discovery. Yes, Ferguson met Rwandans recovering from one of the worst mass killings in modern history — but he also broadened his horizons to include all the beauty, humour and vibrancy of the nation.”

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Return to Rwanda, April 2014
Will Ferguson

“I first met Jean-Claude on a summery soccer pitch in Calgary several years earlier. Our children were on the same under-eight community soccer team (“Go Tigers!”) and Jean- Claude was one of the volunteer coaches.
He later set up Soccer Without Boundaries, a local program that integrates immigrant and refugee children into their communities through sports, and which includes boys and girls from Syria, Somalia, Congo, Afghanistan, the Philippines and more.”

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I am my brother’s keeper, 24 May 2013
Sharon McLeay

“Last week, on May 17, Strathmore High School (SHS) students listened to Jean-Claude Munyezamu’s life account of the genocide in Rwanda, Africa. He recounted the lessons he learned from his experience.”

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Saturday soccer club seeks a field of its own, 20 August 2013
Karry Taylor

“On a sunny Saturday morning, a steady stream of children make their way to a playground in the southwest community of Glenbrook. There is cheerful chaos as friends are greeted, shin pads strapped on and shoe laces tightened up.
After everybody has their equipment sorted out, the older kids stretch and run laps around an adjacent field. Later they will clean garbage and debris off the field before engaging in soccer drills and a scrimmage game. Occasionally they have to clean up broken bottles. Off to the side a small group of three and four-year-olds energetically chase balls around tiny pylons, their jerseys hanging down to their knees.”

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High Praise indeed for Jean Claude Munyezamu, December 2012
Christine Cusanelli

“It was with real pleasure that I learned that Calgary-Currie Youth Soccer Advocate and Volunteer Jean Claude Munyezamu has been awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Jean Claude’s tireless efforts to integrate new immigrant youngsters to Calgary by inviting them to join his soccer program have been enormously successful. Our congratulations go to Jean Claude and his family.”

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