Refugees to represent Kansas City at largest youth soccer tournament

Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 11:54 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - From the outside, Global FC in Kansas City looks just like your average soccer team: a bunch of teenagers that love both the game of soccer and their team.

“Everything about it is just wonderful,” said player Faustin Lubenda. “It’s different from other sports. The best sport in the world and we call it fútbol.”

The “Global” in the team name truly means something.

“It’s much easier to connect with them because most of them are from Africa,” Ibrahim Issack, another player, said. “I’m from Africa, too.”

The entire club, which consists of multiple teams of those aged 14-17, is made up of refugees from more than 29 different countries.

For Ibrahim Issack, he and his family left Somalia and have been here for eight years.

The biggest adjustment in moving here was the language barrier.

“Talking with my classmates and my friends, I got used to it by talking to them and watching the cartoons and whatever,” Issack said.

“Imagine going to a school everybody else speaks English and you are the only person that speaks Swahili,” Lubenda said. “It’s the most hard thing. You don’t get to understand people.”

Back on the pitch, there’s a mutual language.

“Soccer brings it together because it doesn’t matter what country you are from, it doesn’t matter what language you speak. When you step out on the field, everybody understands what you are going to do,” said Mike Brown, Global FC’s Coach and Director. “I think that’s very neat.”

The team is hoping they can use this beautiful game to represent their new home, Kansas City, on the national level.

They team is driving out to Minnesota this week to participate in the USA Cup, the largest youth soccer tournament in the world.

“It’s a good opportunity for not just me but all of my teammates,” Issack said. “I’m looking forward to winning this.”

By the looks of it, they look like they are ready to do just that.

The club is always looking for financial donations and support from the community to keep the program going. If you would like to help, you can donate by clicking here.