In large cities like Toronto, youth sports play an important role in building and strengthening communities for both the players and their parents. For the last 5 years Toronto’s Horseed Soccer Club has been doing just that for Toronto’s Somali community. The organization is a volunteer-run effort that aims to teach team-building, communication, and of course, soccer!
Initially launched by Head Coach Hassan Harbi, the club is guiding Somali youth towards positive goals. It provides space and coaching year-round to hundreds of Somali children in the Dixon community, and teams have gone on to compete in several tournaments across Ontario and in the United States.
Growing up in Somalia, Hassan Harbi used to be a professional soccer player for the original Horseed Football Club, the first Somalia League team to reach the CECAFA Club Cup Final. After the civil war broke out in the late 1980s, it ceased to exist, and he came to Canada in 1989.
Now Hassan is passing on the values he learned as a professional soccer player to today’s generation of youth who are growing up in the Toronto Somali community.
And on the same soccer field a new and exciting initiative is just getting underway: The Toronto Girls Soccer Association is another growing volunteer program launched recently by former professional soccer player and coach, Hanan Warsame. The TGSA offers young girls a comfortable environment to play and be active, and focuses on building confidence in youth, helping them grow, and bringing the community closer together. The group of girls aged 8-14 will soon be getting their own uniforms, and practicing year-round to build the skills and confidence they need to succeed both on the soccer field and in their lives.
To casual observers, initiatives like these may just look like a way to get kids active for a couple hours, but for Hassan and Hanan and all of those involved it’s much more!
Contact the Horseed Soccer Club:
Contact the Toronto Girls Soccer Association: