I came to America at the age of 9 years old with my older sister. We were in a refugee camp in Tanzania, Africa, after being separated from our family. Soccer was the guiding force in my life because it was something I did in Africa. It felt normal to me.
My foster parents helped be join the local Boy Scouts of America were I quickly learned what life in America was about. For my Eagle Scout Service project, I collected used soccer equipment and sent it to a few places I knew needed it in Africa.
I found no matter want was going on in my life, learning English, struggling with math or finding a job, soccer helped me learn skills of focus, follow through and most important team work. I found an extended family in my competition soccer team.
I struggled went my sister moved out of our foster placement. I felt abandon and very alone. My foster mom didn’t understand my love of soccer and tried to take it away from me my freshmen year of High School. In my new placement my foster parents saw that I lived, breathed and slept soccer. We bonded over me teaching them why I loved the wind rushing past me as I chased down the ball to the feel of slipping the ball past the defender into the net. I was whole while I was on the field with my fellow players on my team and the opposing players. My foster parents taught me that the same feeling I felt on the field could be felt in a loving supporting family.
I was without and soccer helped me see that I have opportunities for a better life, education and health. My skills of team work, focus, hard work and drive play a part in my everyday life now.