Living the revolution while pursuing dreams

Living the revolution while pursuing dreams
As refugees began to reach the shores of Europe in search of a safe and dignified life, a group of former Syrian football players were determined to take their hopes and dreams with them as they sought asylum in Germany.

Wherever life took these young men, they would form their own football teams in hopes of making it to the big leagues one day.

It was in Berlin, when they finally began to make their dreams come true with the leadership of Nihad Saad el-Din, a 33 years-old midfielder from Syria’s Saraqeb team.

Tareq Soudi, 24 years-old midfielder, said that “I was invited to join this incredible Syrian national team by Captain Nihad Saad el-Din.”

“All of the members of the national team sponsor themselves,” Soudi explained. “We do not get funding from any one. We pay for all of our games and trips.

“This football team is a continuation by the Free Syrian National Football Team established in both Turkey and Lebanon and now here in Berlin,” Soudi added. 

The Syrian football national team in Berlin is made up of former football players between the ages of 21 and 25. They all descend from different cities in Syria, but their love for freedom and dignity united them under one flag in a country completely foreign to theirs.

Soudi explained that “I personally took the decision in 2012 to no longer represent the Assad regime, since it began to murder my people.”

“This was not a decision made only by me, but all of my teammates felt the same. Many of them were players in official Syrian football teams before the start of the revolution. However, none of us were willing to play for a team that represents a regime that has killed more than one million Syrian and destroyed more than half of the country,” Soudi said.

When asked about their new jerseys which carry the Syrian revolution flag, Soudi replied: “It gives us a big dosage of hope that we are still connected to the Syrian people’s cause and that we are representing them in front of the whole world at the level of sports.”

He then continued by explaining that “the revolution flag represents our martyrs and our people who carried it as they rose against the Assad regime’s criminality. It represents Syria before the dictatorship of the Assad regime.”

The Syrian revolution flag is becoming more and more popular at the international sports level, as more free Syrian athletes join the ranks of the big league.

During a Karate tournament in Luxembourg in 2016, a young Syrian Karate player hung the revolution flag alongside the other flags, representing his participation in the tournament.

In another event in the same year, the Free Syrian National Team carried their revolution flag with pride as they entered the Wushu Kung Fu tournament in Turkey’s Edirne, leaving with several gold, silver and bronze medals.

“We wear it so that the world can know what it means and who it represents, contrary to what Assad’s biased media outlets claim that the people who rose against the regime are terrorists,” Soudi stated.

The Syrian refugee athletes have proven that certainly it is possible to pursue a dream and represent a cause at the same time, no matter what the odds are.

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