From street basket child to student assistant

With eight years of experience in GAME, Souhail Abdeddaim has dribbled his way from participating in GAME’s street basket practices in Næstved in Denmark, to score a student assistant job in GAME’s Platform for Street Sports. In Souhails opinion, it is a development which GAME has been a part of by giving him responsibility and trusting him to fulfil it. 

It was Souhail’s love for basketball, that paved his way into the GAME community when he was a child. When volunteer GAME Playmakers executed weekly basketball practices outside Souhail’s school in Næstved in Denmark, he would recurrently tie his shoes and show up with his friends from the area.  

“Back then I didn’t know what GAME stood for, and what their purpose was. To me, it was all about playing basketball. That’s how it started – pure fun and games,” Souhail explains  

As a teenager Souhail looked up to his big brother and his older friends. When they chose to participate in GAME’s Playmaker education and become street sports instructors and rolemodels, it was natural for Souhail and his friends to tag along. Even though Souhail recalls that his first years as a Playmaker were challenging, he eventually rose to the occasion.   

“My friends and I would argue quite often and not a lot of children attended our practices. Often, we had to cancel practices. Eventually several of my friends quit as volunteers, and that is when I started taking more responsibility for the GAME Zone and started new initiatives. Now we offer both street football, street basket and dance for lots of children,” he says  

Responsibility and trust are Souhail’s driving forces 
It was with advice from, and in collaboration with, experienced Playmakers like Souhail that GAME developed a new education for the volunteer Playmakers. It gave him an obvious opportunity to catch the rebound and get another shot at the role as volunteer Playmaker. Since then, Souhail has become Zone Coordinator in Næstved in Denmark. After much success with practices in Sydbyen, he is now involved in starting a new GAME Zone in the nearby area in collaboration with young people as new Playmakers.  

“The new role in GAME gave me an opportunity to do it my way. It didn’t exactly work to begin with,” Souhail laughs and continues: ”But you have to make a few mistakes, before it works out 100 percent” 

Souhail emphasizes that it is important for his development that he is gradually given more responsibility in GAME. He is certain that the reason that he can write eight years on his CV, is because his efforts are always recognized, and that he is always trusted to do even more.  

”Every time I want to try something new GAME gives me the possibility. I’m always developing personally, while also getting the chance to be involved in things that I’m interested in. That is the reason I’ve been involved for eight years so far,” he says  

GAME is different
Souhail notices that the moments, that are not necessarily about sports, are what makes a huge impact on the children.  

“We are able to involve kids, who have a hard time, in a community where they have good experiences. It is a lot more than just sports. We have practices, where we sit down and talk to the children afterwards. Sometimes they open up and tell us about their problems. That doesn’t happen in the same way in a common sports club,” Souhail says 

Witnessing social change 
The reason why Souhail continues to put on his GAME shirt week after week is because he is passionate about making a difference in the area where he grew up.   

“A lot has happened in Sydbyen, Næstved since I was a child. Back then the school was a meeting point for young people who were getting into trouble in the evening and that just doesn’t happen anymore. It’s so great experience” Souhail says   

Making a change politically
With his employment in GAME’s Platform for Street Sports, Souhail hopes to make a difference on a new level. He is looking forward to participate in the development and expansion of street sports in Denmark, and to make politicians aware of its’ potentials, to ensure that street sports get a part of the lottery fonds that the political system distributes to sports initiatives in Denmark.  

One of Souhail’s first tasks was to arrange a street sports event for the political spokesmen for sports in front of the Danish Parliament, Christiansborg. It was most definitely a different task than arranging street basketball practices in Sydbyen in Næstved, but according to Souhail it was just as exciting – and just as important.