SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 13, 2018) — Sacramento Republic FC announced it is partnering with World Relief Sacramento and the California Department of Social Services to host a refugee soccer tournament on June 20, as well as ‘World Refugee Night’ during the team’s USL match on Saturday, June 23.
Wednesday's tournament will give over 100 refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Central America and Ukraine the opportunity play at Papa Murphy’s Park. The public event, which kicks off at 4 p.m., will also feature halal food trucks, family activities and a vendor fair. Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty will also be in attendance to speak at the event.
The goal of the events is to generate awareness for the current refugee crisis and Sacramento’s growing role in it. Over the last four years, the city has welcomed over 10,000 refugees from across the globe, making Sacramento the largest resettlement location in the United States.
“Our goal and our responsibility as a club is to use our platform to help empower and bring together our city, so we’re grateful for this opportunity to make a difference for such a worthy cause,” said Republic FC COO Ben Gumpert.
“Events like these provide an opportunity for bridges to be built between refugee families and the greater Sacramento community,” said Mark Shetler, Executive Pastor at River City Christian Church and a World Relief Sacramento volunteer. “The goal is not that we can coexist in the same region, but rather, that we get acquainted with one another through something as simple as a soccer match and begin to develop authentic friendships with one another, creating one united community.”
Just three days later, Republic FC will host ‘World Refugee Night’ as its theme for the club’s match against St. Louis FC on June 23. The match will feature an awareness campaign highlighting stories of refugee families resettled into the Sacramento community.
Republic FC has previously had direct connections to the refugee cause. Former SRFC forward Mawolo “Gabe” Gissie, who was part of the club’s championship-winning team in 2014, fled his native Liberia after surviving an attack during the country’s civil war in 2003 that killed his sister and uncle. Similarly, former defender Emrah Klimenta and his family left Montenegro when the player was five years old to escape the growing unrest that had led to the breakup of Yugoslavia and civil war.
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