WPFC Alumnus Ciaran O’Brien believes soccer can unite people from the most disparate origins, including refugee teenagers resettled in Atlanta from a dozen nations. While many youth bring knowledge of the game with them, having played in fields or wherever they could find space, few have seen a professional game of soccer played. The Atlanta Silverbacks midfielder accompanied Youth Futures students on the field prior to match V. Montreal Impact.
This June, fifty teens from IRC’s Youth Futures program got the chance to do just that, thanks to a generous donation from the Atlanta Silverbacks. The youth were invited to attend the Silverbacks vs. Montreal Impact game, and to participate in two field experiences with the players.
After escorting the Atlanta Silverbacks team to the field before the start of the game, each youth stood with one of the players while both the American and Canadian national anthems were sung. At the halftime, the Silverbacks announcer called the Youth Futures kids back down to the field, where they were led in scrimmage and shot-on-goal games by the team staff and mascot.
Ninth grader Farhiya Haji, from Somalia, said, “I had a good time, and I like yelling for Atlanta to win.” Puspa Acharya, a Bhutanese refugee had never attended an adult soccer game, not to mention a professional one.
Many thanks to the WPFC Alumnus Ciaran O’Brien and the Atlanta Silverbacks for donating the time, tickets, and giving so many teens a wonderful experience this summer.
WPFC is built upon the combined traditions of F.C. Royals and F.C. United, which share a rich history of, "creating champions on the field and in life". We take great pride in our Washington Premier F.C. Alumni who come from diverse backgrounds and enjoy a wide variety of expertise in soccer. Please visit our WPFC In the Pros section dedicated our former players who have reached the professional ranks in the MLS and WPS.