By Staff Sgt. Rauel Tirado
Third Army/ARCENT Public Affairs

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- On Thanksgiving morning, members of 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment played soccer against a team from the Kuwait Air Defense Information Coordination Center here Nov. 24.

While the 1-44 ADA soccer team came together for the Thanksgiving game, the ICC brought an organized group dressed in blue uniforms. The ICC soccer team competes in a Kuwait military soccer league and plays throughout the country.

The friendly game was won by the Kuwaitis with the final score 9-1, but everyone enjoyed themselves.

"It was a nice game," said Omar Buhamad, ICC head soccer coach. "It's a good way for the Soldiers from the two countries to get together and have fun."

Buhamad said playing soccer with the Soldiers helped build a stronger partnership between the two countries.

For Spc. George Seyfert, 1-44 ADA goalie, it was a memorable day.

"It was good for the two cultures to get together to form a bond, which is important in this country," said Seyfert, tactical director assistant, 1-44 ADA and Clarksburg, W.Va. native. "Playing soccer with them lets us get to know them on a personal level, instead of just in a working environment."

The game had additional significance for 1-44 ADA Soldiers, since it occurred on Thanksgiving.

"Playing today is a great way to keep your mind away from home," said Seyfert. "Staying busy and being around friends makes it easier to be away from our families."

Even though the 1-44 ADA Soldiers lost the game, spirits were high.

"It was a great time, and a privilege to play them," said Capt. Chris Conklin, battle captain, 1-44 ADA, and Sugar Land, Texas native.

Conklin, a former soccer player of West Point's Division I soccer team, said it's good to get out of the office, come together with the Kuwaitis and have fun on Thanksgiving.

U.S. and Kuwaiti Soldiers taking part in sporting events help build camaraderie and cohesion. Third Army is shaping the future by building partnerships in the U.S. Army Central Command area of operations.