HAMRIN, Iraq – Soon, Iraqi soccer players will be wearing new jerseys donated by an English football club.
Soldiers from Company C, 1-68 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, presented the jerseys to the town mayor, Khaled Ibrahem Khalaf el-Jarbary.
The mayor said he hopes to schedule a match between two of the teams wearing the jerseys.
“This makes me very happy,” el-Jarbary said. “It is a good feeling knowing you military guys take care of the civilians.”
The jerseys were procured by Company C’s predecessors, Battery B, 1-10 Field Artillery, 3rd Infantry Division. However, they were not delivered until after the units had changed out late last year.
Capt. Angel Brito, Company C’s commander, said he was glad to finish the job.
“I really didn’t do much,” said Brito, a Levittown, Puerto Rico native. “I was just on the receiving end of what they had done.”
There were enough jerseys donated for five teams, each sporting different color schemes. It took two soldiers to carry the gigantic box into the mayor’s home.
Despite much community interest in soccer, the teams have had little in the way of support until now. The mayor said the uniforms would be put to good use.
“There will be a lot of happy young people,” he said. “The teams will be very happy.”
The Ipswich Town Football Club donated the uniforms. Brito’s predecessor, Capt. Mark Stoneman, who set up the donation, had contacted the English team.
For his part, el-Jarbary said the presentation should be a good start to a good working relationship between the town and U.S. forces. He pledged to continue working with U.S. and Coalition forces to help sustain peace here.
“I am going to do my best to continue this,” el-Jarbary said. “I want our relationship not to be like military to civilian, but be more like brothers.”
In addition to the uniforms, new soccer balls also were delivered. It was a different sort of mission for the Soldiers of the Fort Carson, Colo., unit who were greeted by about 50 local children.
“It’s really nice to get out and meet the public,” said Spc. Nathan Yancer, a driver from Athens, Mich. “It’s good to see smiling faces.”
“When you see their smiling faces, it makes what you’re doing here seem more worthwhile.”
See Also: Kit Arrives in Iraq – this story gives background on how the contact was made with Ipswich Town and how the kit was collected.