Saturday, March 29, 2008

Men Who Fled Cuba Now Playing Soccer in Charleston

Men Who Fled Cuba Now Playing Soccer in Charleston
Hatzel Vela, Live 5 News

They knew they couldn't further their professional soccer career in
their own country, so two Cuban players decided to defect and leave
everything behind. Now they're in Charleston, playing for the Battery.

On a fresh-cut field and in a brand new country, Osvaldo Alonso and
Lester More kicked off their American soccer careers. While playing a
game in Texas, the two men decided to defect from Cuba in pursuit of
their sport.

"I had decided six months prior while still in Cuba when I found out
that we were coming to the States," Alosno said. " I knew that, in the
past, some teams were interested in me, but I couldn't leave."

It was a hard decision for both men and their soccer dreams came at a cost.

"I had to leave everything behind," More said, "leave everything I had
worked for to come here to a new country, learn a new language and live
in a new world."

"It was especially tough for my family," Alsonso said.

But now the two men are adjusting to a new culture and language, taking
on challenges that will have them scoring goals both on and off the field.

"You just have to be strong and give it your all," Lester said.

Alonso and More said they're not ruling out the pros, but for right now
it's all about Charleston.

"So far, I like the team and I like Charleston. Just last week, we
played three good games," Alonso said.

"We're doing this one day at a time," More said. "We're here and we have
to do our best while we're here."

Cubans are the only people who are granted refuge under the "dry feet,
wet feet policy." Under that provision, Cuban residents who flee to the
United States have a chance to remain in the country if they reach dry
land and can later apply for citizenship.

WCSC, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Story Created: Mar 27, 2008 at 6:21 PM EDT

Story Updated: Mar 28, 2008 at 1:04 PM EDT

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