Development Fund

THIS IS A SPECIAL FUND TO SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH SYRIAN REFUGEe YOUTH THROUGH SOCCER

As the world witnesses the fallout of a chemical weapons attack in Syria, some of that nation's youngest refugees are finding a way to move forward in their new home in San Diego. KPBS City Heights reporter takes us to the soccer field, where a youth team is finding solace ( from early 2017 )

We are currently raising funds to support our 2019 Syrian boys soccer program to bring hope and healing to Syrian refugee youth. Our program kicks off in March and April with our team practicing three times a week preparing for playing in the City Heights World Cup tournament at the end of April. We will also host a 5 week long camp from July 3 - August 5 at Mission Bay.

Please contact david@bridgebuildersnetwork.org for more information

Would you please consider giving a generous donation to support our efforts?  

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Here is the story of our Syrian coach Sharif ( from 2018 ) 

I am a Syrian 39 year old man from the East Ghouta area near Damascus. My family consists of six members: myself, my wife,  a son, and three daughters, Our youngest daughter was born in the US in February 2018. In Syria, I was a professional soccer player for a Sports Club in Damascus which is the 3rd Syrian Premier League. I played with them for about 16 years. 

My personal dream was to become a professional soccer coach after having been a player. Unfortunately the revolution in Syria erupted and I was abducted at a government checkpoint on April 16th 2013 and imprisoned for the sole reason that I was from the East Ghouta area where there were revolutionaries or freedom fighters as they call themselves, who were giving the Syrian government major problems. I spent a whole year in a torture prison called the Mazzeh. After being released, I spent the next couple of weeks in Syria recovering as much as possible and getting our papers ready to travel and bidding my parents goodbye. On April 29th 2014 my family and I traveled to Jordan under dangerous conditions but made it through without major problems. 

As soon as we entered Jordan, I went to the Zaatari Refugee Camp but was released out of the camp the next day to undergo medical treatment for my very weak legs. The nerves in my legs were severely damaged from the diesel fuel they injected into me in prison, and the beatings. I underwent extensive treatment for my legs that lasted several months. After spending two years and four months in Jordan, we were cleared to immigrate to the US with refugee status. On August 16 2016 my family and I arrived in San Diego. It was an unexpected challenge but with the help of our new American friends, we started to settle down. We then had to deal with the challenge of finding a job in a completely foreign land without knowing the language!

My new friends came through again and helped me form a Syrian soccer team for a local competition in the hopes that this would lead to a work opportunity. The team started with 8 players and very quickly became 20, and then 50. Our plan actually worked and our prayers were answered when a local organization in El Cajon offered me the opportunity to coach on a regular basis as long as I was able to get sponsored to do this. They found a sponsoring organization that paid for me to coach part time for 10 months. In this program I coached 100 refugee kids, both girls and boys, and we participated in several tournaments, one of which was held in an indoor field at Balboa Park where we came out third. We played in about 10 other informal tournaments.

This coaching has changed my life as well as my family’s life one hundred percent. I now feel that I belong to the community in San Diego and no longer feel like a stranger in a foreign land! The parents of my players have also become my friends and we work together to discipline any player who is not acting right at home or on the field. This has increased my self confidence tremendously and I hope to be an asset to the community and encourage other refugees with any sports talent to join with us and impact the lives and futures of the younger generation in positive and constructive ways. 

We are agin planning a small salary for coach Sharif for his investment in time with the Syrian youth. He will be coaching March and April to prepare the boys for the City Heights World Cup tournament and again in our 5 week summer soccer program from July 3 to August 5.

Prayers are appreciated for this brother and for us to help him achieve the goal of a lifetime and to be an example to the Syrian community seeking to integrate into our communities and become productive members of society,