By Chinedu Onyejelem
Following a successful outing in 2016, Dublin’s intercultural girls’ soccer team Diverse City FC have moved to the Garda and Camogie Grounds in Phoenix Park for the new season.
The project began in 2014 as part of Sport Against Racism Ireland’s (Sari) Hijabs and Hat-tricks programme, which encourages young Muslim women to play soccer, and has already won several awards, including the €10,000 Coca Cola Thank You Fund in 2016 and the Best New Project at the Beyond Sport Awards in 2015.
Abdul Hajji, co-founder and one of the co-ordinators, told Metro Éireann that the initiative is “open to girls and young women of all abilities” and will run every Sunday in 2017, offering “a great opportunity to play football and to bring the skills you learn on the pitch into your everyday life”.
Through the programme, participants will learn about Sari and its work across the island of Ireland, and also have the opportunity to get involved with the No Hate Speech movement, not to mention the Gaisce Award for personal development.
For young women interested in acquiring coaching skills, Hajji said those who take part in the training programme planned during the season would earn Kick Start 1 and Kick Start 2 coaching badges, as well as learn about nutrition and wellbeing.
Diverse City members would also have the opportunity to represent Sari at various events in Ireland and abroad, Hajji added.
One of the more prominent participants in the programme is Sari young leader and coach Fadhila Hajji, who received a People of the Year Award in 2014 for her work in promoting diversity through sport.
“Amina Moustafa has been another driving force along with her twin and fellow Trinity student Iesha, who last year was elected to the youth council of streetfootballworld,” added Sari director Perry Ogden.
Any young women interested in getting involved can look up the Diverse City Girls Soccer Team on Facebook for more information.
In other news, Sari recently took delivery of five large boxes of footballs and sportswear donated by the Uefa Foundation for Children.
In a statement, Sari said the items would distributed to direct provision Centres and other Soccerniters and Hijabs and Hat-tricks participants across the country.