Soccer teams provide support, solidarity for migrants in US

PHOENIX (AP) — As Guatemalans and other Central Americans flood to the U.S.-Mexico border, groups like the Maya Chapin youth soccer group in Phoenix are providing support for young people arriving in the United States alone or with families.

Most migrants arriving with children at the Arizona border have traveled on to relatives elsewhere to await court hearings. Even so, the Maya Chapin group founded by a Guatemalan pastor has added 150 newly arrived migrants ages 15-18 to its roster of some 10,000 players during the first quarter of 2019.

Pastor Antonio Velasquez says the migrants are fleeing the same kind of extreme poverty and violence he fled nearly three decades ago. Guatemalan families now surpass Mexicans as the top nationality for migrants apprehended at the southwest U.S. border.

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