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Boise librarian helps refugees come together to form Nations United soccer team

Fifteen of the 17 players that make up Nations United are refugees.

Boise's South Junior High School librarian Mary Karol Taylor opened two of her students' worlds to more than just books.

"They kept coming back asking for books about soccer," she said. "Then it came up that even though they love soccer so much, they are not on a soccer team."

So Taylor did some research to get them on a team.

"There was a lot more interest and so we thought let's just start our own team."

And the Idaho Rush's Nations United U-16 coed team was born. Of the 17 players, Karol said 15 of them are refugees.

"Everyone is from different countries and then when you meet them it's like we already met before," said Ehpaw Ku, a player from Thailand.

"They've been through the same thing as you've been through," said Justin Karangwa, from Rwanda. "They understand you."

Soccer is their passion, but one that wasn't completely fulfilled until joining Nations United.

"They are so happy to play a real game with refs and nets and white lines," Taylor said. "That's a first for almost all of them on the team."

And they have a head coach who understands their background as well. Fawad Suh Kahan is from Afghanistan.

"They have the skills they just didn't have anyone to give them the right direction," he said.

The team's first season has been a successful one. They are 3-1-1 so far.

"We are like family," Karangwa said.

A family brought together by soccer.


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