“Football, to me, is everything. Football is support. Football is health. It means relationships and it means peace.” — Coach Suliman
Coach Souliman is 32 years old, and was the captain of the original 2012 Darfur United Men’s Team (DU) that traveled to Iraq. He returned to his camp with pride, energy, and the determination to share the skills he had learned through DU with the children of his camp. As DU Head Coach Mark Hodson describes, Souliman was “born to lead. He is a lion-hearted individual who bleeds the green and white [colors of DU]. He will never let you down on or off the field, and will give his all to represent for his people….We need more Soulimans in this world!”
Souliman works alongside coaches Issag, Sadiya, and Thouhilia to manage the program on and off the field. The coaches make sure to visit the schools regularly and communicate with teachers. They’re even present in players’ home-lives. When it comes to managing major conflicts and fighting, the group has created its own response. Following any major incident, the coaches head home with the kids after practice to sit with them and their parents to explain that the behavior is not okay.
Coach Souliman says, “I feel so good, and know that I will become a leader in Goz Amer. I hope to travel to other camps one day and help train new coaches.”