U.S. military, FAN personnel challenge local Agadez soccer team to exhibition match

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III
  • 435th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Soccer, the world’s most popular sport, transcends boundaries bringing together people of different ages, abilities, backgrounds, beliefs and nationalities to boot a ball into a net.

Deployed U.S. military personnel and Forces Armées Nigeriennes (Niger Armed Forces) members from Nigerien Air Base 201 teamed up to face a local soccer club during an exhibition match in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 8, 2020.

Facilitated by the U.S. Army 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion Civil Affairs Team 219, more than 60 Airmen and Soldiers from the base connected with scores of local civilians at the Agadez soccer stadium.    

“Today was good,” said Abass Ali, Association de Anciens Joueurs d’Agadez president. “We played soccer for the base and the Nigerien people to have a relationship, a partnership and to better get to know each other.”

After the game and celebrations concluded, the Civil Affairs Team donated 15 soccer balls and 30 jerseys to the youth soccer program. 

“We’re guests here in Niger, but the civilian population rarely gets to meet the personnel that come to Nigerien Air Base 201,” said U.S. Army Sgt Christopher Hartmann, CAT 219 Civil Affairs NCO.  “This was a great face-to-face opportunity, and friendly competition in sports that helps build camaraderie.”

During last year’s game, the Agadez locals were victorious, but this year, the U.S./FAN team brought home the win with a score of 4-3.

“The FAN has some really great players,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Adam Schuck, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron services representative. “We were all able to work together, we communicated, and we came out with a victory. It was a very enjoyable time with everyone.”

The tradition will continue; CAT 219 is already planning the next game for this friendly rivalry.