Refugee women find relief in Greek soccer | TribLIVE.com
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Refugee women find relief in Greek soccer

Associated Press
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AP
In this Thursday, May 2, 2019 photo, members Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team join hands in a huddle before a friendly game in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, April 24, 2019 photo, members of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team practise during a training session in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, April 24, 2019 photo, Hiba from Iraq prepares for a training session of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, April 24, 2019 photo, members of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team warm up during a training session in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, May 22, 2019 photo, members of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team talk outside the locker room before a train session in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, April 24, 2019 photo, Katerina Salta, Sport for Protection Program Manager keeps notes during a training session of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, April 24, 2019 photo, Fatima from Afghanistan passes the ball during a training session of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Thursday, May 2, 2019 photo, members of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer and AO Vrilission players fight for the ball during a friendly game in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, May 22, 2019 photo, members of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team prepare for a training session in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Thursday, May 2, 2019 photo, members of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer and AO Vrilission players shake hands after a friendly game in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Thursday, May 2, 2019 photo, members Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer and AO Vrilission players pose for a photograph before a friendly game in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, May 22, 2019 photo, Katerina Salta, Sport for Protection Program Manager holds the Global Goals World Cup trophy as members Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team applaud in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Thursday, May 2, 2019 photo, coach of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team Mary Gavala gives instructions to her players before a friendly game in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.
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In this Wednesday, May 22, 2019 photo, members of Hestia FC Women’s Refugee Soccer team raise the trophy of the Global Goals World Cup in Athens. Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play or even watch soccer matches in their home countries. Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Many of the players at Hestia FC weren’t allowed to play — or even watch — soccer matches in their home countries.

In Greece, they make up the country’s first women’s refugee team and hail from 14 countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

At a recent practice, team founder Katerina Salta and her coach go through instructions with the help of a translator who speaks English, Urdu, Pashto, Dari and Farsi.

“The atmosphere in the team is fantastic,” Salta said. “I started this program to empower them but what actually happens is that every single day I get empowered by them — their will, their (determination) to continue trying for their lives even in such difficult conditions.”

More than a million migrants and refugees crossed through Greece and onto other parts of Europe in 2015 and 2016 and the country is still struggling to manage its refugee crisis using a network of camps on five Aegean Sea islands as well as the mainland.

The United Nations Refugee Agency, known as the UNHCR, says there were 76,100 pending asylum claims in Greece at the end of 2018, in a report prepared for World Refugee Day on Thursday.

Hestia FC was set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, a non-government organization created in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee and Greek Foreign Ministry. The team took part in the Global Goals World Cup in Denmark last month — a five-a-side international women’s tournament aimed at promoting gender equality.

None of the migrant women were allowed to travel and were represented by mostly Greek volunteers who agreed to play in their place.

Unexpectedly, they won the tournament.

“It’s a (vindication) of our fight to get them travel permits,” Salta said. “To let them know how many people they inspire.”

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