adem allavi syria refugee turkey

Syrian refugee in Turkey U14 squad

The war in Syria has destroyed and disrupted millions of lives.   The numbers are almost incomprehensible, the suffering unimaginable to anyone who has not experienced war, but the pain and damage is real and will last for generations.

Horror and grief surround the country and its far-flung diaspora. There are very few good news stories coming out of Syria.

But there are some.

Adem Allavi is a football-obsessed 13-year-old from Hama, Syria. Like boys the world over he dreams of playing for Barcelona.

He also dreams of playing for Turkey.

When he was 11 Adem fled the war in Syria with his family enetering Turkey as a refugee.

Now, two years later, after becoming a Turkish citizen, Allavi has been selected to the Turkey Under 14 national team.

He lives with his family in Istanbul.  His talent has caught the eye of several famous Turkish teams and he carries a growing reputation.

It is far too early of course to make any meaningful predictions about his talent or potential. And that would be to spoil a far more important story ..

There are millions of Syrian refugees in or passing through Turkey. They have fled war but their suffering is far from over. They face an uncertain and precarious future.

The pressures and strains of the situation in Turkey have caused massive friction. The Turkish state is bearing this burden heavily.

Perhaps the progress of a football-mad refugee can help illuminate the plight of refugees and bring people together. Sport can provide a beacon at the darkest of times. For those impacted by the conflict in Syria hope is rare indeed at the moment.


There are some very important charities looking to help refugee children through sport.

If you believe in the transformative power of sport please give them a look.

Adem Allavi is not the only Syrian refugee footballer. This is an amazing piece detailing the moving story of Mohammed Jaddou.

Why do some young players make it while others do not? That and other questions are the main focus of this site. Football prodigies, next-big-things, never-quite-were's and yet-may-be's.

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