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Soccer Club makes first 'new American' team

The U19B, FC Packers, team, which includes: Ahmed Ahmed, Khalid Ahmed, Jhulendra Barakoti, Amir Basnet, Ram Dahal, Ramesh Dahal, Sagar Dhakal, Khem Ghalley, Buddhi Khapangi, Barsha Magar, Mohamed Mohamed, Dinesh Mongar, Arjun Monger, Purna Monger, Suman Monger, Jalan Rai and Ramesh Thapaliya. Submitted photo

The West Fargo Soccer Club has reached a personal milestone with its U19B "FC Packers" team, which played in its first tournament, the Tri-City Tournament in Fargo, on Sunday, June 30.

The U19B team is the first entire team to be formed from "new Americans" and those waiting to become American citizens.

The team is made up of 14 players from Nepal and three from Somalia. They range from ages 15 to 19 and all are West Fargo students.

"In other communities they tend to form their own club and stay within their group in the community," WFSC Director of Coaching Danny Dougherty said. "These boys were determined to represent West Fargo in our club."

The team was formed in the middle of the summer season, as there were some challenges to overcome. Dougherty was notified that a number of Nepalese and Somalian students wished to play for the West Fargo Soccer Club, and agreed to meet them at West Fargo High School.

"I expected a couple students to show and was surprised to see a full team to show up," Dougherty said. "From there I met Ram Dahal, who was instrumental in getting these players to register and show up for practice. Without him that team would not have made the tournament."

Dougherty, an experienced soccer coach, was both surprised and pleased with the number of new-to-the-area players eager to represent the club and community.

"I have been coaching in North Dakota from rec to high school to college the past 25 years and cannot remember when a group of "new Americans" played in such a large number and on the same team for their community."