RUSSIA + UKRAINE

Utah non-profit to bring soccer to Ukrainian refugees

May 16, 2022, 8:29 AM

A soccer ball on a field. Ukrainian refugees will receive un-poppable soccer balls....

Displaced Ukrainian children will receive soccer balls that don't pop. Photo credit: Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah non-profit will deliver soccer balls to Ukrainian children in Poland. The group, Refugee Soccer, aims to bring a small sense of normalcy to the kids.

The group’s founder Adam Miles said he knows the power soccer can bring to those who’ve been displaced. He knows that a smile or a high five as these kids get to play will bring them a small respite from their trauma.

Refugee Soccer will hand-deliver the soccer balls during a trip to Poland.

“The objective of this mission is very threefold. The first objective is to show Ukraine that Utah stands with them,” said Miles.

The second objective is to provide the children with a “tool for play” as a respite from the difficulty they face.

“To be able to provide them with some healthy activities, with something that they love. With something that would get them up, get their body moving, their blood pumping. It really takes their minds off of how hard their life is,” Miles said.

“Just help them get through this difficult time with something that’s fun and a healthy diversion for them,” Miles added.

The group’s third goal is to show the power of soccer as a unifying force. Miles called soccer the “world’s language.”

Refugee Soccer will also bring 40 or 50 balls autographed by Utah’s professional soccer players and Utah clubs.

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Utah non-profit to bring soccer to Ukrainian refugees