Eleven Brothers was more than the name of their soccer team. “We are all brothers,” the coach says. “We are all one. We respect each other. We love each other as brothers.”
The Lincoln Journal Star tells the inspiring story of how these young soccer players who came to Nebraska from Vietnam, Cambodia, Kosovo, Sudan, Nigeria, Bosnia, Iraq and Mexico bonded together, overcoming cultural barriers with respect and honesty and bonding over their love for soccer. Their coach and mentor, Joseph Rafique, taught his young players manners, behaviors and integrity that remain now that they no longer teammates but young adults, and still brothers.
Through the common love of the sport, the youth who spoke English, Spanish, Arabic and Serbo-Croatian found success on the soccer field and a respect for each other and for each other’s culture, faith and race.
This mutual respect and cooperation is an important principle of Nebraska Is Home, recognizing immigrants who feel welcome, valued and included in the community are more successful at integrating into their new community.