From The Clayton News-Star (North Carolina)
CARY — Their feet were weary and their soccer balls scuffed from the mountain roads when they heard the voice: “Hey, hey,” cried a woman, chasing after the college students as they dribbled through the tiny town of Nebo.
“Do you want a drink?” she asked. After 20 miles of kicks and footwork they certainly did.
Minutes later, the Muslim, Jewish and Christian trio was laying its cause before the black congregation of St. John’s Methodist Church, hundreds of miles from the students’ homes in Cary and New Bern. They were kicking soccer balls across North Carolina, they explained, to defuse religious conflict here and half a world away.
“On the spot, (congregation members) were donating money left and right, asking us details about our lives,” recalled Ahmad Saad, the Cary resident of the trio. “It was a really great experience when we still weren’t sure what to expect.”
Saad and two friends, Sasha Seymore and Dylan Simel plan to dribble from Asheville to Morehead City, supported by family members in vehicles. By the time they reached Cary, the University of North Carolina students had traversed 270 miles and raised $4,500 for Middle East peace charities.