LiU students train new arrivals
Many newly-arrived immigrant children want to start playing football. But most clubs are already full. Then Tina Neset at the Department of Thematic Studies – Environmental Change had an idea: why not ask LiU’s two student football clubs?
The weather is at its best this Tuesday evening in June: the sun is warm although it’s five in the afternoon, and mild summer breezes are blowing over Grenadjärvallen where seven newly-arrived immigrant boys have gathered for football practice with the help of LiU AIF and AC Studenterna. This will likely be the last training session before the summer, but it will continue in the fall.
“It’s not easy for new arrivals to start playing football in a club,” says Ms Neset, by day a senior lecturer at the Department of Thematic Studies – Environmental Change and in her free time involved in the BK Derby football club, where she sits on the board. “Our club has had a lot of inquiries from people in asylum housing, but the team has already taken on many new players and doesn’t have the space for more in its regular activities just now.”
Inspired by the “LiUs initiativ i flyktingfrågan” (LiU Refugee Issue Initiative) project, Ms Neset contacted LiU’s two football clubs; both were interested in helping with training for new arrivals. Arve Ingvaldson, (at right in the white shirt), who is studying Behavioural Sciences, plays for AC Studenterna.
“A lot of us have done various projects for new arrivals, and I think it’s important to be a part of it now that we have the time. People want to join in, they feel they can help with something.”
Jonathan Eriksson (in the blue LiU shirt), who just finished his education in Industrial Economics and plays for LiU AIF, agrees.
“Football is for everyone, it’s a reasonable thing. But it’s not so easy for new arrivals to get into a club.”
BK Derby has backed them up with things such as clothes, shoes, and water bottles. The students have also gotten instruction from trainers in the club so that they can train on their own. They communicate with their bodies, and it seems to be working really well. The students demonstrate, and the newly-arrived immigrant youth copy them.
What might possibly have been a problem is the logistics of getting to the training sessions. Gustav Borg (in the black shirt at left) is a youth educator, and has taken the bus from the Olivlunden housing in Ljungsbro to teach Najib, a new arrival from Afghanistan, how to get to the football training session.
“There is interest among the boys in our residence, nearly all of them like playing football. But it’s difficult to get in; the teams are full and it’s also difficult for many to get to the training sessions on their won. Most still find Swedish difficult.”
For Ms Neset, her involvement is also about more than just football itself.
“The goal is to build up training habits in young people, to be part of a team and feel at home on the site, and to learn Swedish. My club, BK Derby, has a fan club that is also planning some activities with these youths. So far there haven’t been very many at the training sessions, but when we continue this fall, we’re hoping for more participants. We can take around 20 young people.
Last updated: 2016-06-20