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OnSide @ D.C. United

This week, OnSide supported L.A.C.E.S in bringing 15 refugee kids from Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, and Ethiopia to the D.C United vs New York Red Bulls game. It was an amazing experience that many of the kids said they would remember forever. We met before the game and I was talking to the kids about Rooney and the MLS in general, to gauge their impressions on American soccer as it is not as competitive as European soccer. I was wildly surprised to hear their pure enthusiasm about seeing an MLS game. They knew far more about the teams than I did and had statistics and predictions ready for who they thought would win. Many, if not all, of these kids had never before seen a live soccer game and were thrilled to be able to see “the” Wayne Rooney” in person. The entire walk over to Audi Field was filled with kids running around, doing Fortnite dances, and playing overly competitive games of tag. When we arrived at the stadium their energy did not falter; they were struck by the size and design of the stadium which they said was nothing like the stadiums “back home”. When we arrived at our seats, the first thing we all did was yell at Rooney to come over to the bench. One kid, Tarah, from Afghanistan, had been watching Rooney’s highlights on the way over and was trying to call Rooney over to show him his favorite goal on his iPad. Another kid, Raheem, was trying to get his shoes signed, but sadly Rooney was too focused on warming up and did not decide to come over and see what we were yelling about. Overall the kids had a fantastic time and went crazy for all six goals the game had to offer, even if it was the Red Bulls who scored. They were too enthusiastic to be at a live soccer game to care who scored, they just saw the ball hit the back of the net and screamed with excitement.

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