Mushen Nasser, the mayor of the Mada'in Qada, is joined by community leaders as he cuts the ribbon to open the new soccer stadium in Wahida, Iraq, on April 4. Hundreds of people were in attendance to watch the inaugural game played on the qada's only grass soccer field.
By Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Hundreds of men and children gathered on March 4 to mark the grand opening of a new soccer stadium in Wahida, Iraq.
Leaders of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team and civic leaders were present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the stadium, which was followed by an inaugural game.
“Today we opened the soccer field in Wahida,” said Mushen Nasser, mayor of the Mada’in Qada. “It is very important for the Iraqi people and it is a great step for the people of the Mada’in Qada. We put a lot of resources in this project for the youth of the qada.”
“When we see the crowds … come to watch the soccer games it shows how the security is more stable and calm,” Nasser said. “Thanks to the Iraqi security forces for providing security and bringing us back to stability and a normal life.”
The field is the only grass field in the qada. Nasser said he hopes to form a league where teams throughout the qada can compete against one another.
“This is a very good day for the people here,” said Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb., deputy commander of the 3rd BCT. “This is a great investment for the children of this community. You can feel how excited everyone here is today. This is one of those projects that makes everyone involved feel good.”
The 3rd BCT funded construction of the stadium using local contractors. The project took five months to complete, but the wait was worth it to Nasser.
“This is a beautiful stadium,” he said. “I am extremely happy for our youth.”
The 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.