This July and August, DNDA and our partner Intercity Soccer League organized beginner-friendly youth soccer practices at the NewHolly and High Point neighborhoods! Over eight weeks, up to 120 High Point, NewHolly/Rainier Vista players met for practice sessions at their respective fields twice a week. High Point, NewHolly, and Rainier Vista players had the opportunity to learn fundamental skills, scrimmage, and enjoy the summer sun.
Furthermore, the program emphasized teamwork and camaraderie to help youth make new connections. Kids enjoyed snack breaks with fresh fruit, fruit snacks, water, and juice after working up a sweat! As with all our in-person program activities, DNDA staff and coaches followed CDC and Washington State COVID-19 protocols for outdoor youth sports programming to keep everyone involved safe.
Parents were grateful for an outlet for their children to play sports outside this summer. Consistent with previous years, turnout was very strong, and many parents enjoyed relaxing on the side of the field during practice, providing a fun social outlet for families. Many families expressed an interest in continuing this program into the fall. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, we will not be able to host a fall league. We are hoping to start the program up again in the spring.
Our partner, Intercity Soccer League, is a grassroots organization dedicated to cultivating player character and self-confidence through sports. Founded by Redwan Aman and Elemo Mussa, Intercity Soccer League has been an invaluable part of our soccer program’s development since 2018.
As some of you may know from our blog titled “URGENT: Help free U.S. Citizens Redwan and Yusuf from Incarceration in Ethiopia,” Redwan was arbitrarily incarcerated by the Ethiopian government on June 30, 2020, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and continues to be detained there.
The use of arbitrary detention against activists, media personnel, and public officials sparked international human rights concerns, with ensuing reports uncovering politically motivated usage of force, judicial practices, and communication blackouts to suppress calls for reform. Since June 2020, the nation has fallen into political unrest. Leading human rights organizations and news outlets like the New York Times have reported armed conflict and ethnic cleansing committed by the Ethiopian government against its citizens. While Redwan was released from prison in late 2020 and is currently safe, pending charges against him and fellow Seattleite Yusuf Bashir prevent them from leaving the country.
We dedicated our 2021 youth soccer program to Redwan’s living legacy of selfless service and leadership, and we eagerly and optimistically await his future return to the States! As always, we remain committed to sharing recent developments in our programs and community.