How Football is Bringing Hope to New York's Yemeni Community
It’s 5:30 in the morning, unseasonably cold and still dark in New York. Haidara Nasser, Osama Alsahybi, Ahmed Alzandhani and Abdullah Shaiba are on their way to the Bronx in Haidara’s minivan, which is at least a decade old but impeccably clean, with an improbable sunroof. They’re on the way to play their first game as members of the Yemen United Soccer Club. All of them worked until midnight, and no one has eaten a proper breakfast.
The day before, Ahmed, 18, and Haidara, 19, both of whom grew up in Brooklyn and speak fluent English and Spanglish, went to a Dominican barber shop for a “medium skin fade”. They wanted to look slick for the game. Afterwards, with gelled curls piled high above freshly shaved temples, Haidara headed to his afternoon shift at the family bodega, and Ahmed headed to Friday prayers.