Idaho Juniors FC

When you look at the Idaho Juniors, what do you see? You probably see a bunch of kids that love the game of soccer and more importantly, love each other. Sure, they have their days that they butt heads, but isn’t that what all families do? I am sure people notice the passion of each of one of these kids every time they play. But lets be honest with one another, many notice the different skin colors, different languages spoken, and the cultural differences among the boys in our program. That’s okay, we take great pride when people tell us, ‘Your team is Idaho’s version of an International Soccer team.”

I read an amazing article trying to make sense of the letter I received Sunday morning. I have done everything I can to make sense of what happened. I came across an article written by Sara Watkins and I want to share with you what this article taught me and what it is saying to it’s readers.

Can you imagine how boring our world would be if everyone had the same skin color and same daily practices. Without diversity, we would never learn or be challenged to think outside of the box. In this article, the article compared the colors of a rainbow to diversity. Imagine a rainbow with only one color. It would be beautiful in its own way of course, but not nearly as beautiful when you look at a rainbow made up of several colors. It’s the same with people. We are ALL beautiful in our own individual way. Together, the results are remarkable. I am beyond grateful for the diversity present within our soccer club. It is the uniqueness of the Juniors that makes our club so special. We are a rainbow filled with different colors and experiences. This is what makes us strong and spectacular.

I always thought that loving each human in my life unconditionally was enough. I understood the importance of accepting each person regardless of cultural differences or skin color. Until lately, I thought I was doing enough. It was not until I received this racist and hateful letter on my vehicle in the driveway of my house that I realized how naïve I have been and perhaps even apathetic about the issue of race taking place in our country and in our community. After receiving this letter full of hate, I have concluded that racism is as real today as it was in the past. I cannot and will not stand idly any longer. I will stand by my families and boys and combat this hate with every ounce of strength and energy I have. I don’t know why God put me in a position to run a youth soccer club or to even start up the Juniors, but he did. This is no longer about soccer. It is time for the Juniors to make a statement and fight racism and encourage others to embrace diversity.

Children are our future. There is no better way to build a stronger future than to educate our youth. We need to stress the importance of love and acceptance regardless of how others look or talk. We need to educate our youth on the importance of diversity and help them understand that every family has different practices. If we want to fight hate and limit hate in our country, then we must teach our children. Kids do not get enough credit. They are so much smarter than we realize. My 2 year old son copies everything I do. He is a little sponge. Kids are sponges and they will absorb ideologies, beliefs, customs, and the traditions of those that are present in their lives. As a father or role model to those kids in my program, it is essential that I demonstrate racial acceptance and celebrate diversity in front of them. It is then that the acceptance will spread like a wildfire.

I have challenged so many friends to provide a solution to racism and what I have concluded is there really is not one simple answer. I experienced true hate for the 1st time in my life. This was the first time that anything like this has ever happened to me and I can’t help but to think, others have to live in fear of things like what happened to me EVERYDAY. I can’t even begin to imagine.

The juniors are no longer just a soccer team. We will be heard and we will fight racism and hate. Our program will not accept or turn our heads to ignorance any longer. Our program is made up of several refugees and families coming from different parts of the world. We are a very diverse program. 75% of families that play for the Juniors come from a diverse background. We have families from Ethiopia, Israel, Portugal, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Bosnia, Ukraine, Russia, Kenya, and many more. We will stand hand to hand, shoulder to shoulder, and stand against those that preach hate. Moving forward, this is what the Idaho Juniors will be doing to fight hate and racism;

Teach our children

Celebrate Diversity

Embrace new cultures

Teach our kids about new places and new people

Offer support

Stand up and speak up

Bring awareness through tools like social media

Be careful with what we say and how we say it

We will not tolerate hate or racism, joking or not.

Link up with groups and organizations that combats racism and hate crimes

Together, we can fight racism with love, awareness, and committing to things mentioned above. We are asking for community support. Together, we can build a world that is safe for all children to live in. The Juniors are committed to stand for ALL people.

Jeromy Tarkon

President, Idaho Juniors FC

[email redacted]


Nick Pew
Star, ID
Idaho Juniors Fc Inc (Idaho Juniors Fc)
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