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Kicks for Kids Program Gets a Boost From a Soccer Star

April 4, 2011 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - FC Edmonton News Release

EDMONTON, Alberta - Asmir Begovic knows what it feels like to lack the means to take in a professional soccer game. As a child, the starting goalkeeper for Stoke City in the English Premier League fled Bosnia with his family who eventually made their way to Edmonton.

His father worked two jobs just so Begovic could play the beautiful game but sometimes even that wasn't enough. Family friends, like the Lams (Sam plays for FC Edmonton while Matt is on loan to JEF United in Japan), pitched in to help the teenager pursue his dream of playing professional soccer.

Begovic is now a star. He signed with Stoke last January and has even played on the Bosnian National Team but he hasn't forgotten the time he spent in Edmonton and the former St. Francis Xavier student is now giving back in a big way.

Begovic has joined FC Edmonton in an effort to help children in need attend professional soccer games through a program called Kicks for Kids.

"I come from a bit of a tough background. My family and I came to Canada with not a lot as part of a refugee family so my parents had to work really hard in order to give me anything I had," Begovic said. "I do some work with kids here in England so when I was presented with this opportunity, I thought about it a little and it made a lot of sense because I think I can do some good over there as well."

The Kicks for Kids program was designed for companies and individuals who want to make a significant difference in the lives of disadvantaged and at-risk youth. Through the program, thousands of children will be provided with tickets to FC Edmonton games they otherwise might not be able to attend.

"Working with kids who are maybe less fortunate is something that I really believe in," Begovic said. "Having a goal for kids to look forward to is so important. There was no professional team when I was growing up there, the only opportunity we had was to go to Europe. Hopefully FC Edmonton can be that go between and that the community comes out and supports it."

FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath said he is proud to have someone like Begovic support this program to help Edmonton-area children.

"Working with our Kicks for Kids sponsors, we want to identify those deserving youth in the Edmonton area who have demonstrated hard work in the classroom, a benevolence attitude towards others and are striving to become future leaders in our local community," Fath said. "We believe that by recognizing these young people and rewarding them for their kindness and excellent attitudes, we can help mold and inspire a future generation of young professionals and maybe even another Asmir or two."

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