Sixteen-year-old Afghani-born Majid plays soccer to become closer to a dream most adults would find unnervingly selfless for such a young man; “I really enjoy helping people. That is my goal.”
Majid was born in Afghanistan and made his way to Australia alone when he was fourteen. He spent time in Indonesia, then in Darwin and at Broadmeadows detention centre before arriving in Melbourne. He met his foster-mother Judith through the Hotham Mission and has been living with her since December 2011. When Majid’s case manager suggested that he apply for a SWB Sports Scholarship to play soccer – a longtime dream of Majid’s – he was rapt. “His team was very welcoming,” says Judith of his club, the Glen Waverley Junior Soccer Club. “It’s a very multicultural team.”
Majid is in year ten and spends a couple of hours studying each night. “We have to tell him to take a break,” says Judith. He goes to the reserve behind the house and kicks a ball, does some running; “It’s a break from studying.” Majid plays every weekend and trains one night a week. “I love it,” he says. “I’m getting better and stronger.” He is quick to share his success; “On Sunday I scored a goal!”
Yet Majid approaches his games with a maturity that surpasses perhaps even professional players. “If I play a good game I feel happy,” he says. And after a loss? “It’s normal to feel a bit disappointed but everyone has bad games.”
Majid has dreamt of playing soccer since he was as young as seven years old. “I want to play (when I’m older)" he says, and is very thankful to his SWB Sports Scholarship for supporting him to begin playing in a local club. His soccer playing is geared towards one dream, though. One day Majid hopes to help people who, like him, have lost their parents. “My aim is to earn lots of money so I can help people who need help,” he says.
My aim is earn lots of money so I can help people who need help – I want to help people who have lost their parents.
Judith says Majid’s involvement in soccer has given his team and the wider community an idea about how they can help asylum seekers in Australia. For Majid, until he reaches those big leagues, for now just playing every week is something he looks forward to. He says it best, simply, “I love playing soccer.”