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Belmont Enactus to host soccer tournament benefitting refugees

Belmont Enactus will host a soccer tournament at E.S. Rose Park Saturday to raise money to send refugees through the certification necessary to become soccer referees.

Enactus is a global non-profit made up of students and business leaders committed to using their passion for entrepreneurship to help shape the lives of others. Their problem-solving skills are used to create outside-of-the-box ideas eventually put into action.

As project manager of Sports Officials International, Belmont student Anthony Didion has done tremendous work for Enactus throughout his four years of involvement.

“We have targeted projects to help refugees to teach them how to sew and taking them through a course so that when they graduate the program they can start their own business,” Didion said.

This is not the first time Enactus has done something to help refugees, but this specific project takes a different approach to solving the same problem.

“Sports Officials International is different because we are uniting refugees from many different countries through the sport of soccer and teaching them how to become soccer referees,” said Didion.

Didion appreciates the way Enactus takes students’ drive to serve the community and gives them a place to use that passion.

“Through Enactus we provide many options to serve others by using the knowledge we learn in the classroom in real life on real ventures,” Didion said. “So not only do we get a safe place to practice what we have learned at Belmont, but we get to help social enterprises that we are passionate about.”

This is important to Nashville as a city because it unites the refugee community in a positive way.

“Nashville has one of the highest amount of refugees out of the entire United States, and has the largest Kurdish population outside of Iraq,” Didion said.

“When refugees come into a foreign country, they do not have a lot to help them once they are here. So we are able to help them figure out the culture, language, finances, and provide them with their first employment as they strive to get into a university to try to better their lives.”

Enactus partners with multiple social enterprises all around Nashville, and Sports Officials International is just one of the projects they’re currently working on. The organization’s influence contributes to change, and it starts locally.

“This will help future participants in our program gain certification and for English literacy classes, we are also working with Nashville FC to be a part of The Big Payback which is a charity event in Nashville that raises money for nonprofits,” Didion said.

The entry fee to play in the tournament will be $5 at the gate, and the event will take place from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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Article written by Coral Goldstein. Photo courtesy of Belmont’s Office of Communications. 

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