Community, scholarship, and soccer come together at the Hope Soccer Festival. Held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, the Festival is played in a 4v4 (four players per side) round-robin format. Proceeds directly support refugees, creating opportunities by covering educational expenses through the Star City Soccer Foundation.
What is it?
In 2009, Landon Moore was the head coach at William Fleming. Working day to day with the many refugee and immigrant players on his team, Landon recognized a deep need for these students to overcome language and educational barriers in order to become valuable members and leaders in the community.
His passion for improving the lives of his student athletes led to the establishment of the Star City Soccer Foundation (SCSF), with a mission to support refugee students as they develop the motivation, skills and confidence to succeed.
Under Landon’s leadership, SCSF has provided Roanoke-area refugee students with tutoring, mentoring, leadership training, internship and community service opportunities.
In 2012, SCSF created the Ndarugiriye Mariam Scholarship Fund to support the educational needs of the eight children of a local refugee family who lost their parents. To raise money for the fund, Landon launched the “4v4 Eight Soccer Festival.” The success of the event has allowed the Scholarship Fund to cover many thousands of dollars in college tuition and fees, along with cooking and nutrition classes, after-school programs, and summer school expenses.
In 2017, the tournament was renamed the Hope Soccer Festival, reflecting SCSF's decision to broaden the mission and dramatically expand the positive impact of the scholarship fund.
The Ndarugiriye Mariam Scholarship Fund will continue to provide opportunities for Mariam’s children, but with the broader vision and expanded mission, proceeds from the Hope Soccer Festival can support many more refugee students in their quest for improving their lives and enhancing their communities.
The Festival has raised more than $25,000 in its first five years. This money has been used to pay for educational expenses at Roanoke College, Radford University, Virginia Western Community College, West End Center, Roanoke City Public Schools, Roanoke City Parks and Recreation, and Roanoke Natural Foods Cooperative.
The Festival showcases everything we love about the worldwide language of soccer.
More than 1,000 particpants have taken part in the Hope Soccer Festival since 2012.