402 Development Academy offers free club soccer for refugee children

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 4:56 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -A new soccer club is kicking off this month offering free opportunities for refugee children. The creator of 402 Development Academy said this is a way to help them adjust to life in the states and set them up for future success.

To Kenan Sahuric, a soccer field is a safe space to learn and grow. When he and his family immigrated to the U.S. by way of Germany from Yugoslavia, soccer was something that connected him to his peers. Now he’s hoping to build that bridge for kids like him.

It wasn’t long ago when Sahuric was new to the U.S. and playing soccer on a field at 17th and Vine Streets.

“Refugees, foreign kids and American kids would go and play,” said Kenan Sahuric, Director, 402 Development Academy. “But then, two years after we got here, they closed the field up on us and then we really didn’t have a place to play anymore.”

Soccer, he found, was a common language.

“Having kids come out every day that don’t even speak English, but we shared a love for soccer,” said Sahuric. “It was a pretty easy way to make friends.”

Fast forward to the soccer practice for a club team at 402 Development Academy. There are two sides to 402, one side is the regular club soccer, and the other side is club soccer completely free for refugee children.

“It would have meant a lot for me,” said Sahuric.

The program is not only meant to develop soccer skills and connections, but also to build the kids up for future success. Something Sahuric connects with.

“I probably wouldn’t have went to college if it wasn’t for soccer. I couldn’t have afforded it, but scholarships helped me through the whole thing.”

The uniform, tournament fees, training, it’s all going to be provided for free for these refugee children to level the playing field for everyone in spite of their parent’s income.

“A lot of these families are coming out here with no income to low income,” said Sahuric. “We just want to be able to give that opportunity to kids who don’t have it.”

Kenan said it takes about $1000 to sponsor a child’s playing fees. For more on how you can get involved, or how you can nominate a child for the program, Click Here.

402 Development Academy offering free club soccer for refugees.
402 Development Academy offering free club soccer for refugees.(Kenan Sahuric)

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