Iraqi Soccer Project


Orphanage Visit + Giveaway

After connecting and driving and working our way through Jordan, an event that had been in the works for quite sometime finally came to fruition: a trip to an Amman-based orphanage for children impacted by nearby conflict. With 150 balls loaded up in our vehicle (they almost all didn't fit!), we made our way to the SOS Children's Village in downtown Amman, Jordan with the US Army Public Affairs representatives and our Jordanian Armed Forces counterparts. 

At first, the scene was rather quiet - just a basketball court turned into a makeshift soccer field. With a small selection of seemingly ancient and worn-out soccer balls brought to the court by the orphanage staff, we could tell the impact of our PARK SSC balls would be immediate. Balls were unloaded with no kids present.... and we waited. Then they came with a roar. The children came running down the hill with the support staff struggling to contain their excitement. Right away, we knew that all of the balls loaded into our vehicle would be needed. In what could only be described as a chaotic and hectic scene, over a hundred children were suddenly booming and blasting PARK balls all over the court and into the homemade goals at either end! 

For nearly two hours in the blazing Amman heat, we kicked, chased, and nutmegged (and sometimes got it in return!) with these children who need much more than an escape from their daily reality. What we do at this Project makes a small difference; at the end of the day, these balls and the smiles they bring do not replace the homes and communities these children were forced to leave. However, it would be impossible to ignore the escape needed that the Beautiful Game and our visit gave to them. More than just an afternoon of laughter and smiles, we maintain hope that the Game can translate into more far-reaching effects on their lives. Our team was humbled by the ability for these children to open up to us and share a common bond - a theme constant throughout our time in Jordan. 

This visit encapsulated and surpassed every dream we have had for this Project. A truly amazing experience made possible by some awesome partners that have bought into our vision. To see more of our orphanage visit, please check out our Instagram page @theiraqisoccerproject.

Wade McMinn