Stanton Stephens Zach and Casey Loyd have been using their soccer skills and faith to help kids of refugee families.
On a recent, sunny Sunday afternoon, dozens of youth soccer teams were engaged in some pretty serious competition inside Plano's sizeable Russell Creek Park. Driving into the park, the scene wasn't unlike the one thousands of families from across the Metroplex witness every weekend. Youth soccer has long been a popular family-intensive activity, one that's often treated as something that can be taken for granted; something that will naturally occur during the course of a child's life, as it's indeed so prevalent in North Texas. But for the kids of one specific team playing on that day in north Plano, the chance to slip on a real uniform and play the beautiful game as a member of a real team is something that was far from assured in their recent past.
The two Vickery United soccer teams are comprised of boys that come from the homes of refugee families now living in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood in Dallas. The teams are a product of the Dallas-based Love Is Ministry, which focuses on the many needs of refugee families in that neighborhood, specifically. For decades now, Vickery Meadow, located just east of Central Expressway near Park Lane, has been a haven for refugee families from dozens of countries, looking for stability in a life that has been anything but stable after being ousted from countries such as Tanzania, Burma, Lebanon, as well as countries throughout Africa. Affordable apartments, easily accessed public transportation, and nearby schools have made Vickery Meadow as attractive to refugee families as any other single neighborhood in the United States.