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The Afghan Youth Sports Exchange: 2004 Program Summary


The first ever Afghan girls soccer team arrived to the United States on June 20th, 2004 and were greeted to a warm welcome to the States. The team arrived into the Maryland/DC area for two weeks where they became acclimated to their new environment. They were hosted graciously at the home of Duaine and Barbara Goodno. The girls enjoyed a relaxing time at their home and enjoyed the pool where some learned to swim for the first time.
They got re-adjusted to their new time zone, and had an opportunity to go on several fun excursions to explore the United States. Their six-week stay in the States started off busy with dental cleanings done by a local Afghan dentist, Dr. Riaz Rayek and members of the Kings Park Dental Partner. Another local doctor, Dr. Behsudi, helped by examining the girls with a medial check-up.

The girls had many fun trips planned for them which included visiting the National Zoo in DC, a trip to Virginia Beach, and an exciting trip to Bush Gardens. Their fearless spirit came through at Bush Gardens where the girls conquered every roller coaster in the park. By far this was the highlight of their trip! The team also enjoyed watching professional level soccer at a Washington Freedom women's soccer game, and at the D.C. United Game.

Part of their stay involved a visit to the Pentagon to meet Secretary Rumsfeld. The girls had an opportunity to learn soccer lessons from the Washington Freedom Women's Soccer team on the front lawn of the Pentagon while members of the International Women's Council watched on. The girls took this opportunity to share with the Secretary their hope and dreams for the future of Afghanistan. For lunch that day, the girls were treated to a wonderful lunch hosted by The team was hosted by Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad, his wife Shamim Jawad, and staff of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington D.C. A press conference was also organized for the team while at the Embassy


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