Refugee football team recruits three members from Preston’s Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre

Posted on - 20th June, 2024 - 1:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Cottam, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Preston North End, Proud Preston, Sport, What's On in Preston
Diego (white Fair Shot t-shirt) from El Salvador
Diego from El Salvador.

A football team, made up of players who have fled to the UK due to war in their home countries, has recruited three teammates from Preston’s Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre.

Diego and Nelson, brothers from El Salvador and Kalenga from Angola were selected to be part of Fair Shot FC.

The new football movement is partnering with clubs across the UK and aims to provide fairness and compassion for everyone.

Read more: Santos and family came from Cameroon with nothing and now football in Preston has given them hope and safety

Nelson, Diego's brother.
Nelson, Diego’s brother.

Preston’s Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre provides football coaching for children and adults across the city, regardless of ability, disability, sex, colour, race or religious belief.

The clubs who are in partnership, including Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday, will host friendly 5-a-side matches for their fans and Fair Shot FC.

The football squad is made up of a team of refugees and people seeking asylum who have all come together through their shared love of the game.

Fair Shot player, Manar, 25, who fled the war in Syria said: “It’s everything, it’s like a dream. I feel nothing when I play football so when I don’t play, I feel everything like the problems. When I play the problems go away.”

Read more: Preston football club wins final of Man V Fat National Championships for second year

Kalenga (white Fair Shot t-shirt) from Angola
Kalenga from Angola

The players for Fair Shot FC have been selected from the Refugee Council’s Youth Connect project and grassroots organisations that run football programmes.  

They will be led by coach, David Simmons who runs Changing Lives FC, the only competitive refugee football team in the UK. He will be assisted by Liubov Liushnenko, a refugee from Ukraine, who now plays for AFC Sudbury Women’s First Team and coaches with Changing Lives.

David said: “Football is the world’s game. In changing rooms up and down the country, multiple languages will be spoken, with players from different countries and with different backgrounds. Despite that, they are united in their passion for football and the common language it provides.  

“Each player in our Fair Shot squad has had to overcome many challenges, finding themselves away from their homes, sometimes without their families, in order to find safety. Football has helped them rebuild their lives here, bringing them friendships and a sense of joy and belonging. 

“The pitch is a place where every player is equal. We hope that with Fair Shot we can use the power of football and the shared fan experience to show that there is far more that unites us than divides. Everyone deserves to be treated with fairness and compassion, no matter where they come from. Everyone deserves a fair shot.” 

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