In Clarkston, Georgia, Soccer in the Streets provides social change through soccer to refugees, immigrants and local youth. The nonprofit organization knows that soccer gives refugees a familiar medium in a world that is anything but familiar. Programs run by Soccer in the Streets provide a way for refugee families to connect, making it possible for youth and their families to build a supportive network as they settle into life in the U.S. (You can support these programs here.)
15-year-old Chris is one of many refugee youth Soccer in the Streets works with. When he was eight years old, Chris moved from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the U.S. Today, he plays soccer with Soccer in the Streets weekly.
Chris and Soccer in the Streets participants train at least twice a week and compete in games on weekends in and around Clarkston. Here, Chris shares his thoughts and experiences on moving to the U.S., joining Soccer in the Streets’ programs and what he loves most about playing soccer.
What was moving to the U.S. like for you?
The experience of moving for me was pretty rough and tough because it was long for us to move. Some of our family didn’t have the papers, and some people had to stay. It was really difficult.
How did it feel once the moving process was done and you arrived in the U.S.?
We was happy that we got to the United States safe and good, but the sad part was that the other part of our family stayed back home.
How did you find Soccer In The Streets?
After we had moved to the city, I met some new friends that introduced me to the city, and they said, “Do you want to play soccer?” I said “Yes.” And there was a soccer program around [Clarkston, Georgia] where I lived, so that’s when they introduced me to Soccer in the Streets.
How has Soccer in the Streets helped you?
It helped me from developing when I was young. Soccer in the Streets is like a family to me because when I first came, I wasn’t really that good and now I’ve trained with them and I’ve done everything and I’ve really done some improving.
What do you love most about playing here in Clarkston?
I like the communication. You might see someone that is your soccer player friend, and you may speak the same language while playing soccer, which is a good thing. Communication is the most key part.
Help Chris and Soccer in the Streets: