My Y Story

Bilal & Naef



Earlier this spring, elementary school teacher and Y volunteer coach Elise Burrows noticed two new students playing soccer on the playground. And they were good! She instantly knew these twin boys would really enjoy playing on a youth soccer team – and she knew the place to go.

“They are extraordinary for their age in both academics and athletics,” Elise quickly learned.

But these twin 1st graders, Bilal (#19) and Naef (#6) Yusef, just moved to the United States from Ethiopia. Their family, brand new to the country and culture, initially had limited resources available, so an anonymous donor stepped up to sponsor the boys this season and give them an opportunity to play and make friends in the Y’s Rec Soccer League.

Despite having played the game since they were three years old, this is Bilal and Naef’s first experience on an organized team. But you’d never know it. According to Coach Megan Hartz, “They fit in wonderfully! They are very respectful of the other players, and of me as their coach. They always stay late after practice and help pick up cones and balls.”

And they’ve sure taken advantage of the chance to play! Both boys scored multiple goals and dazzled past defenders in their team’s latest game.

Megan continued, “It’s really amazing all of the tricks and skills that they know! During games, they are aware they are more talented than [most of] the rest of the players, but they do not act as such… They display wonderful sportsmanship. After one made a header goal, both just smiled like it was a totally normal thing for a 7 year old player to do!”

Do you want to help kids like Naef and Bilal? You have the power to make the impact!

(Music by The ReMINDers)