Kamara uses soccer to unite Historic Northeast youth

Foday Kamara=LIttle Burma.tif

Little Burma. Foday Kamara stands behind the front counter of his grocery store in Northeast. To give back to Northeast, Kamara recently formed a youth soccer team. For more information about his soccer team or to volunteer or donate, call (913) 499-6619 or email fodaykck@yahoo.com. Leslie Collins

By LESLIE COLLINS
Northeast News
December 5, 2012 

For residents of Historic Northeast, soccer is a unifying sport that transcends language barriers and ethnic backgrounds.

“It’s one of the sports that’s growing in the United States again,” said Foday Kamara, owner of the Little Burma Grocery Store on Independence Avenue in Northeast and founder of United Immigrants Soccer Club.

Kamara, an immigrant from Africa, grew up playing soccer and earned a high school scholarship for his goalie skills.

“See all this?” he said, pointing to his legs. “All these bruises are from soccer.”

Among the immigrant population, soccer is a popular sport, he said.

“It’s what they know,” Kamara said matter-of-factly.

Kamara recently founded the United Immigrants Soccer Club to give area youth and young adults a positive outlet.

“I want to keep these kids where they’re supposed to be at. I don’t want them in the streets,” he said. “They’re not my kids, but I think of them as my kids.”

Kamara moved to the U.S. in September of 2004 as a refugee, who lived through the Sierra Leone Civil War which began in the 1990s and lasted 11 years.

“There’s no refugee here in the United States that will be able to express and tell you exactly what happened when there’s war time,” he said. “It’s a long and sad story.”

And it’s one he prefers not to tell.

A number of his family members died during the war, which he calls one of the most brutal wars in the history of Africa. Separated from his family, he learned to survive on his own.

“When you live in a war country, everybody’s a fighter. You have to fight to survive,” he said.

It’s estimated that more than 50,000 Sierra Leoneans died as a result of the war and 2.5 million people were displaced. Rebel forces coerced children to join their ranks and pillaged villages. To punish citizens for voting for President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the rebels would crudely amputate their limbs, which in turn, hindered an individual’s ability to make a living.

“War is one of the scariest things you’re going to meet or see in life,” he said. “I wish and pray to God all the time in my life that war never comes here to the United States.”

For Kamara, there is joy in soccer and it’s a sport he uses to unify the various immigrants of Northeast. There are players from Kenya, Thailand, Somalia, Tanzania, the list continues. Those who aren’t immigrants are also welcome to play, he said. During practice, Kamara mixes up the groups for scrimmages and said, “When it’s time to practice, everybody’s friendly.”

Earlier this summer, his women’s league took first place at an El Padrino Premier Soccer League tournament. He proudly displays the trophy on his desk.

Kamara wants to be a positive influence in Northeast and doesn’t mind printing off job applications for area residents or driving them to a job interview.

“I didn’t have nobody to help me,” he said. “I know how it feels.”

He encourages his players to avoid negative influences and refrain from drinking alcohol and doing drugs.

“Don’t let anybody influence you to do something that is wrong,” he tells his players. “Always try to get around good people and always try to sit with somebody who is older than you and try to learn from their mistakes.”

Currently, Kamara is the only coach for United Immigrants Soccer Club and uses his own money to purchase items like soccer balls, cleats and soccer goals. While his women’s team has jerseys, he’s still working to finance jerseys for the boys’ team.

“The parents are poor. They don’t have the money to buy them cleats, a backpack, a water bottle,” he said.

Volunteering or financial assistance would be welcome, he said.

Kamara said he wants to give back to the community and help others have a better life than he did growing up.

“I don’t want to be selfish in the world,” he said. “I want to do a great thing in Northeast.”

 

 

Comments are closed.

  • Fire destroys pawn shop warehouse

    November 19th, 2014
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Nov. 19, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Kansas City Fire Department were called to an […]


    One dead after morning shooting outside City Hall

    November 12th, 2014
    by

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Nov. 12, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — One man is dead after a early morning shooting […]


    Kessler Bark: Record breaking tree grows in HNE

    November 12th, 2014
    by

      By Joe Jarosz Northeast News November 12, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Northeast is now able to claim […]


    U.S. Navy Blue Angels to stop in Kansas City for preseason visit

    November 11th, 2014
    by

    Northeast News Nov. 11, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The U.S. Navy Blue Angel representatives will visit Kansas City next week […]


    KCMO to host hard to recycle items event on America Recycles Day

    November 10th, 2014
    by

    Northeast News Nov. 10, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Are old televisions, mattresses, bicycles and other items taking up space […]


  • City offices closed Nov. 11, 27 and 28; trash pickup delayed

    November 8th, 2014
    by

    Northeast News Nov. 8, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — City Hall wants you to know there will be a few […]


    Gov. Nixon announces summer jobs program for 1,500 low-income youth in Kansas City area

    November 7th, 2014
    by

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Nov. 14, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The lesson learned from earning a buck is something […]


    Jackson County gets four new faces for Legislature

    November 5th, 2014
    by

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Nov. 5, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Jackson County Democrats had nothing to worry about on […]


    A new program coming to teach children music

    November 5th, 2014
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News November 5, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – An area community center is hoping to bring […]


    Where is the streetcar headed? Update given at NEIA luncheon

    November 5th, 2014
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News November 5, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – As more tracks get laid, more information becomes […]


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Social Media helps nab alleged illegal dumper

    Northeast News Nov. 20, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A video taken by Brett Schoffner, Executive Director for the Cliff […]

    Northeast’s Most Wanted

    Northeast News November 19, 2014 East Patrol Division These people are sought by the Kansas City, Mo. Police Department and […]

    Boulevard church could soon get historic listing

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News November 19, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – A Northeast church is one step closer to […]