Defying Bullying on the Soccer Field


Everyone, meet Shams. 

Shams welcoming us to his home and sharing his story over tea. 

With everything going on today and the increase of anti-refugee rhetoric, it's easy to forget how this rhetoric negatively impacts refugee and immigrant youth. 

Shams is in 6th grade and has experienced bullying for years. 

He has been called "ISIS" (while not even knowing who they were), has had his family's apartment and car vandalized on several occasions and has had to move apartments and change school several times since they came to the US from Iraq in 2012 to get away from incessant bullying. Eventually, Shams even stopped playing outside. 

Shams says “a girl ran away from me once. When I asked why she said it’s because of her parents. They told her that Muslims hit girls, and she thought I was going to hurt her.”

Thankfully, Shams has a very loving and supporting family and a great friend named Ahmed who lives in the same complex. Ahmed, like Shams, has had similar experiences. Both Shams and Ahmed have supported each other and have found a place where they can feel safe and welcome - on the soccer field. 

Shams and Ahmed have been a part of Tiyya's Soccer Program ever since 2012. 

For many refugee youth, soccer is more than just a game; it is a chance for them to feel a sense of normalcy and inclusion in their new community. 

Shams will be playing alongside his friends he's made over the years he's been in Tiyya's Soccer Program at our Monster Cup on October 21st. Come support him and be part of our welcoming community <3