Field of dreams

By Lori Beattie | March 27, 2016

It’s true, if you build it, they will come.

The first two months knowing the Alsaeid’s has been full of newness, of learning (English and Arabic) of learning Canadian systems and cultures, and of how we structure our lives with appointments and schedules- so foreign for the Alsaeid’s. The kids are all in school and the parents are studying English in daily classes; a full-time pursuit at the moment. There are challenges and obstacles, but that is when we as sponsors step up to help. We are not only friends but we are here to help navigate systems, to find resources, to figure out the next step.

My latest and most uplifting success happened yesterday. Rewarding is an understatement. It was pretty much the best day ever watching soccer coach and creator of Soccer Without Boundaries, Jean Claude Munyezamu set up a new soccer program for any and all refugee and newcomer kids who live in or near the NE of Calgary. I contacted Jean Claude a week or so ago and asked him if he could start of NE soccer program since his only program was in the SW and transportation was an issue. Jean Claude and I met last week and he said, “when should we start?”. My response was an enthusiastic “right now, this week”, so together (along with his team of coaches and trainers, and both of our volunteers and a translator) we made it happen.

As Jean Claude says, soccer is the universal language and through soccer, these kids learn discipline and how to find success and happiness in Canada. “Most of the time kids from refugee camps don’t like rules, but they respect soccer rules. Everyone understand yellow card and red card. Having coaches and trainers is the best way to reintroduce discipline to kids. I will bring one coach, he played professionally. I have another friend who use to coach Portuguese national soccer team, I will bring him next time. ” – Jean Claude

What he does for these refugee and immigrant kids is gives them confidence through soccer, teaches them discipline through soccer and gives them a focus and purpose, a place to belong, friends and FIFA certified coaches and trainers to make it real. They are on a team.

Kids came from around the neighbourhood, since once the balls are dropped, kids show up. Soccer shoes are donated and provided for the kids to take home. They are told to come back next week, every week, all summer until the snow flies and the program moves inside for the winter.

A special thanks to volunteers like Victoria Morgan who brought post-practice oranges, gear and her can-do, get it done attitude. Victoria not only makes things happen but she keeps everything upbeat.

By Lori Beattie

p.s In case you do not know of him, Jean Claude is the main character in Will Ferguson’s latest book called “Road Trip Rwanda”. Great book, be sure to add it to your spring reading list.The NE soccer club runs every Saturday at 2 pm in Vista Heights School park.

All newcomer kids, all ages of kids, are welcome!

It is FREE and soccer shoes provided. Tell one, tell all!

Official recognition on and off the field

By Mariah Wilson | February 26, 2016

Now that we’re in full swing, the organization has had a lot happen in the last few weeks. One of our most highly awaited news items happened near the end of last month. As of January 21st, 2016 we are an official charity recognized by the Government of Canada (Charitable #822300596RR0001)! With charitable status, we can now issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes. Please contact us if you believe your past donation(s) can qualify for this!

Over the past several years, we’ve formed strong ties with local community and soccer organizations. Fortunately, some of our players have been able to participate in league soccer through the  Calgary Glenmore FC Club with waived membership fees. So, on behalf of our wonderful partnership with Calgary Glenmore FC, we would like to extend our enthusiasm in regards to their collaboration with West Ham United, as in, the premiere English soccer league.

“Cal-glen SC will be hosting a West Ham North American Academy Showcase in the summer of 2016. Players will be trained and evaluated by a coach from The West Ham North American Academy. Players who display potential will be invited to The West Ham North American Academy National Camp.” (Source: Calgary Glenmore FC // February 26, 2016)

Who knows, maybe we’ll even see some of our own players in a national league one day!

Looking ahead

By Mariah Wilson | January 23, 2016

The new year has been buzzing so far with the excitement of starting up our practices again. Now that the snow is beginning to melt, and the temperature is getting warmer, it’s hard not to look forward to being back on the outdoor field playing soccer. Fortunately, Surrideo Orthodonticshas paid for the rental of our indoor gym until March, as we’re all expecting another snowfall before spring!

We have many things to look forward to once the weather gets much warmer and the snow melts, one of which includes our annual summer soccer camp. So far, we’ve confirmed the dates for August 8th-12th, and have a new component that we’ve never been able to offer before. Each child will have a free dental screening for any oral medical concerns, and if any problems are present, they will have access to a fund to receive proper care. We’ll keep you posted on any more information we find out in the meantime!