Soldiers, professional soccer teams conduct jamboree with Afghan kids
Afghan youths participated in a soccer jamboree Sunday that brought them together with Richmond’s professional soccer teams, the Kickers and the Strikers, and members of Task Force Eagle and Fort Lee, Va. Task Force Eagle was formed to support Operation Allies Welcome, the effort in which the Department of Defense – through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security – is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening and general living needs for up to 50,000 Afghan evacuees at military facilities across the country. This initiative provides vulnerable Afghans essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. (Contributed Photo) (Photo Credit: Contributed Photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. – Afghan youths participated in a soccer jamboree Sunday that brought them together with Richmond’s professional soccer teams, the Kickers and the Strikers, and members of Task Force Eagle and Fort Lee.

Task Force Eagle was formed to support Operation Allies Welcome, the effort in which the Department of Defense – through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security – is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening and general living needs for up to 50,000 Afghan evacuees at military facilities across the country. This initiative provides vulnerable Afghans essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan.

Army Logistics University students facilitated the soccer jamboree, and the Richmond Kickers and Strikers donated the equipment, reported Fort Lee Garrison Commander Col. Karin L. Watson.

The soccer team got involved when team Chairperson Rob Ukrop reached out to Virginia Secretary of Military Affairs Kathleen Jabs to offer support to the Task Force, Watson said.

During the jamboree, the Afghan children were placed into three age groups – 12 and under, 8 and under, and 6 and under. ALU students, from the Basic Officer Leader and Senior Leader Courses provided coaching and instruction to the Afghan youths.

Command Sgt. Maj. Marissa Cisneros from ALU observed that it was “great to have a partnership” with the Kickers, as well as other members of the Fort Lee community.

“Several young Afghan girls quickly connected with ALU female students, and that was great and inspiring to see,” she said. “Something as small as playing soccer can potentially serve as something more to these young Afghan girls making America their new home.”

Fort Lee personnel received the soccer balls and shirts Saturday and the jamboree took place Sunday, Watson said. The soccer jamborees are to continue until the weather gets too cold to conduct them, she added.

The garrison staff supported the effort by setting up the fields and helping to organize the soccer jamboree.