Adrian, originally from Moldova, initially had no specific interest in football, whether it was participating in trainings or watching the sport. However, when the war in Ukraine started, he understood that sports can be a powerful tool for coping with stress, especially for refugees. He believes that redirecting attention towards something beloved, such as sports, can make a significant difference. He now implements football tournaments for both Moldovans and refugees from different nationalities.

My Story

“I am Adrian, originally from Moldova, come from a background unrelated to football. However, when faced with the influx of Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, I felt compelled to take action. Inspired by the idea of fostering unity and bringing people from different nationalities together, I organised a one-time football tournament called the “Unity Cup.”

The tournament proved to be a resounding success for the participating players and received great acclaim from Moldavian society. This achievement marked the beginning of my organisation, which now has several ongoing projects. I am joined by my collaborator, Igor, who shares my passion for football and has personal experience as a Ukrainian refugee.

We further organised camps for children from different backgrounds aged 6 to 10 with high professional coaches delivering football trainings, as well as sessions with psychologists to support their mental health. I believe that sport can really help to cope with stress, because it allows you to change your focus. Of course, you cannot forget what is happening, but you can change your focus on what you love, like sports. And sport unites people.

The Young Coach Education benefits me a lot for my work because our organisation is also focusing on mental health and psychosocial support, and we somehow started with this not exactly knowing how to do it. During the programme, I can acquire more information on the topic and add more exercises that support mental health in our future programmes. It will help us structure the training session better and how we interact with the kids. I further find it very beneficial to have people from different nationalities and backgrounds here on this programme because we can share a lot of different experiences and perspectives. Every time I speak to someone, I can learn something new.

My main goal is to open our own football academy and offer free training to refugee children. Igor’s passion and our mutual support fuel our drive to achieve bigger goals. The limited football infrastructure in Moldova motivates us to keep pushing forward, ensuring that every talented child gets a chance to grow and enjoy life through football.”

Quick Facts
  • Young Coach Education in response to the war in Ukraine (2023)
  • UNHCR Moldova
  • Moldovan
  • 2 Peer Young Coaches
  • 300 Benefitting Children