Coalition And Iraqi Joint Forces Use Soccer To Aid Helping People
One of the main areas of outreach for the Iraqi police that has been very successful with the Iraqi Community is the Iraqi National police soccer program. It gets police officers out into the community on an informal basis, and allows full contact between regular citizens and the police. Playing each other also gives the citizens a chance to see the police as individual people, and to humanize them.
Recently there was a 32 team soccer tournament that has been successful in bringing together citizens from throughout the area and resulting in a championship that will be played in early October.
The winner of the tournament will play the Iraqi Security Forces Top team, for the ultimate championship. The goal of the tournament is to broaden the success of the tournament held the previous month, and it will be designed as a community outreach program for the Iraqi Police.
The tournaments serve to bring people together. Matches have been taking place steadily throughout the month of September and will continue until the championship in October. The police officers feel these tournaments serve to show that while they deserve respect as uniformed public servants, they are also human, too.
Previously hostile neighborhoods around Al Kut, the police were approached by groups from these neighborhoods and asked why they were not being included. The police were stunned, believing that they didn’t want to be a part, but including them has helped heal these regions and assists in bridging previously hostile relationships.