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Immigrants Bring Power Soccer To Kansas City's Historic Northeast

Coach FodayKamara is proud that countries in the World Cup are represented among the immigrants living in the Historic Northeast neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo.

Kamara — an immigrant from Sierra Leone - has been in the United States for nine years. He was a professional soccer player before he came. 

Now he's trying to form a soccer league in Kansas City's Historic Northeast. He says the area's diverse population lends itself to some excellent soccer.

"Everybody here is playing soccer." Kamara says. "All the immigrants ... (grew up) playing soccer."

On a recent hot, muggy Saturday, the teams held  a mini-tournament on a field next to the Samuel U. Rogers Health Center at 9th Street and Euclid Avenue.

The make-shift field was small — about half the 100 to 130 yards needed for the length of a regulation FIFA field. The goal nets were about 8 feet wide. Regulation nets are 8 yards wide.  Before the game, an official walks the field and spray-paints holes in the ground with white paint so players can watch out for them.

When I arrived mid-afternoon, a team of Liberian immigrants was playing a team of Algerians. I'd  just missed the Liberia-Burma match.

 The Northeast has become a mecca for immigrants, in part, because of the many social serviceslocated there. Also, once a group of immigrants is settled, family and friends will locate nearby.

This audio postcard about soccer in the Northeast is part of a  KCUR series coincides with the World Cup and is about  communities of soccer enthusiasts and players in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
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