Dayton Children’s Hospital assists young man’s hopes for soccer team

Mukhammad Shadhnanov hopes Dayton Children's Hospital's assist will help him score in his plan to start a competitive neighborhood soccer team and ultimately join a league.

The hospital, which is active in the Old North Dayton neighborhood where it is located, donated four nets, two sets of flags to mark boundaries on the pitch, a striping machine to put down the lines for the pitch and practice vests. 

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The gifts, delivered to 15-year-old Mukhammad on Monday evening, were a surprise. The kid who holds down a job at Evans Bakery in the neighborhood said he has been trying to get a soccer team going to represent Osman Gazi Mosque, where he is a member. 

"It was a great thing that they did for us," the nervous recipient said of the hospital's donation. "A very generous thing." 

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He lives near Stuart-Patterson Park, where he has played soccer with friends for years. They also play at St. Adelberts. 

He said he believes the donations will bring the community closer together. 

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Abbey Rymarczyk, community relations and injury prevention coordinator with the hospital, said, "We try to give back to our neighborhood where we sit." 

The hospital wanted to give back, she said, because the hospital had heard about the teenager's plan and knew he and his friends didn't have nets. 

Mukhammad Shadhnanov is hoping a donation from Dayton Children's Hospital helps him get a youth soccer team off the ground. (Jim Noelker/Staff)

The hospital likes to reward young people who are living active healthy lifestyles, Rymarczyk said. "If they're not inside playing computer games all day, we like to give those kids special recognition. 

Mirza Mirza, a board member at the mosque, said the team -- the Osman Gazi Yenicheris -- is mostly Turkish but would like to create a more diverse roster. He's looking to attract players ages 12 to 16. 

In a few months, he said, they'll be looking around Dayton for a league to join. 

It's simpler for Mukhammad: "We plan to have anybody who wants to play for us and be a part of our team. We'll get better as we go."

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