Building a stronger community
Iraqis build three soccer fields for youth
By Spc. Courtney Marulli
2nd BCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE RUSTAMIYAH, Iraq—Iraqi and Coalition Forces have been working together to build a better Iraq, but in the Al Razul area of eastern Baghdad, the Iraqis carried out a community project themselves with only financial help from 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment.
The 1-8th Cavalry, operating in eastern Baghdad attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, helped Iraq’s in the Al Razul community to undertake a project to build three soccer fields near a school that students and the general public can utilize during their free time.
Capt. David C. Freeman, the effects coordinator for 1-8th Cav, said the idea to improve the area stemmed from seeing how unsuitable it was for use to the community and from the squadron’s desire to help develop that neighborhood.
“It’s a project done by the Iraqis to better an Iraqi community with the money going directly to the community,” Freeman, a Detroit native, said.
Wanting to help make the area better for the residents, the project was started but given to the Iraqis to control and implement.
“When you use local workers the economic impact goes straight to the community versus up to higher,” he said.
Utilizing a local contractor and 37 local workers, the Iraqis took a flooded and overgrown area and turned it into three soccer fields.
The location near a school enables the school to use the fields, but is available to the entire community, much like facilities run in the United States by city parks and recreation departments.
Economically, Freeman said the project allows the local Iraqis to have a stake in building up their community because they are in charge of the project. It also gives the youth a positive outlet for their free time such as playing soccer or just interacting with one another.
“The youth can develop a sense of unity through sports,” Freeman said. “You see it in the U.S., too.”
The community’s reaction has been positive, Freeman said. When the Soldiers drive by on patrols they see more people out playing.
“It’s not a huge project,” he said. “But it doesn’t have to be huge or expensive. It can still make an impact.”
A once-flooded and overgrown field in the Al Razul area in eastern Baghdad is now the site of three soccer fields available for use by local schools and the general public. The project was completed by Iraqi community leaders in the area with help from 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, currently attached to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. (U.S. Army photo)
Three soccer fields replaced what was once a flooded and overgrown field in the Al Razul area in eastern Baghdad. The soccer fields are available for use by local schools and the general public. The project was carried out by Iraqi community leaders in the area with help from 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, currently attached to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. (U.S. Army photo)