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Volume 10, No. 9

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Afghan girls soccer team in America

Photo by Katie Jordan/ The Tattoo

-- Notebook --

A whole new outlook on sports and America

By Katie Jordan

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I went to Simsbury to meet eight girls from Afghanistan, but somehow I wasn't expecting them to be sitting around a table playing the card game "Uno."

All I knew about the girls before I entered the Ethel Walker School building to interview them for a newspaper story was that they had come from Kabul and were attending a soccer and leadership camp sponsored by the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange.

I also knew that only a few of them spoke any English at all.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous about meeting them -- I feel weird enough talking with strangers without needing a translator. I felt like I would be an outsider there, spending a day with a whole group of people and knowing I was the only one who spoke only English.

But from the moment I stepped in the room and was greeted with a smile and a friendly "Salaam!" from each of the girls, I knew I wasn't an outsider.

Click here for the entire story

Afghan soccer team wins hearts

By Katie Jordan

To most teens, summer camp is nothing out of the ordinary.

But last week eight girls from Afghanistan wound up the summer camp experience of a lifetime.

The girls, who are as young as 11 and as old as 16, came all the way from Kabul to attend a sports and leadership camp in Connecticut, sponsored by the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange, a non-profit organization.

Living at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, the girls learned valuable skills to use both on and off the soccer field.

For girls who had rarely played soccer before coming to America – because it is a male-dominated sport back home -- they certainly seemed to be making up for lost time.

They were chosen for the team based on interviews they gave at the Afghan Center in Kabul, said Awista Ayub, the program’s founder.

Royo Zaka, a 13-year-old Afghan-American from Virginia , practiced with the girls and acted as a translator. She said the girls adhered to a busy training schedule, playing soccer six hours a day.   And they loved it.

Click here for the entire story


"It's especially interesting and an especially poignant and uplifting moment that young girls are here from the country of Afghanistan."

-- President George W. Bush



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