For many Syrian refugees displaced from home – just the thought of playing a game of soccer was a dream.
But that dream came true Monday for some recent newcomers to Calgary as they faced off against an unlikely opponent.
The Syrian Soccer Sons team played soccer alongside members of the Calgary Police Service in a friendly match Monday – an idea that simply wasn’t an option back home.
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“This is breaking so many barriers and breaking walls of fears, sending them the message in Canada anything is possible,” said Sam Nammoura of the Calgary Syrian Refugee Support Group. “Just to be close to the police, is considered an achievement.”
Many players participating in Monday’s game were sitting in a refugee camp up until a few months ago, merely dreaming of a moment like this.
“This is not a field of soccer,” Nammoura said. “This is a field of dreams.”
Now the refugee are making the most of their opportunities on Canadian soil.
“They’ve played in pouring rain, and terrible summer weather and they show up determined and happy to be there,” volunteer Kerri Workman said.
The officers, meanwhile, are happy to welcome the group and hoping to change any misconceptions they might have about police.
“Where they’re from, the trust of police is completely different,” acting Staff Sgt. Graeme Smiley said. “We are not unlike them. We have our families here, and we love soccer.”
Monday’s soccer game is a launch event before Wednesday’s North American Police Soccer Tournament, being held at the Calgary Rugby Union at 11 a.m.
-With files from Bindu Suri