Football in Morocco

What does “solidarity” look like in my Community?

Football, known as soccer in the United States, is a significant part of Moroccan culture, celebration, and unanimity. One of my favorite parts of Morocco is walking down the medinas to find people young to old playing soccer or rallying around a TV to watch the games. In Rabat, my roommates and I often had to duck for cover walking back to our Riad as soccer balls flew overhead. In Tangier I watched a father kick the ball as his two sons played goalie. In Fes I sat on a terrace and watched the crowd grow bigger and cheers become louder as the game played on the big screen.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Once the Pandemic hit however, all gatherings, harmony, and activities surrounding soccer came to a sudden stop, as did most things. I remember speaking to a Moroccan living in Rabat during the Pandemic and he described how government lockdowns went so far as restricting people from playing soccer outside of their homes, even alone. People were simply not allowed to leave their homes. He talked about how hard it was for him mentally, not being able to pass the soccer ball with his friends at the beach, or simply dribble the ball in the street. He was forced to resort to technology, social media, and playing video games to stay in contact with friends and he admitted it was not an easy transition. I also asked him if he feels that the pandemic has changed the way Moroccans show solidarity and harmony for soccer once restrictions eased: personally, he found himself choosing lounging or gaming over soccer more so than before, but as a community he believes the city was restored with life once soccer in the Medinas and cafes returned.

Comparing Communities

In the United States, I feel our way of life is technology, video games, and social media. I feel it is rare to find kids without their heads in phones watching tik toks or playing video games. My cousins as young as three-four years old already know how to work iPhones better than I do. From my observations in Morocco, I believe Americans are viewing the world through screens and therefore missing the true beauty of what life has to offer.

I prefer to live my life in a way that resembles the Berber culture that I learned a lot about during my excursions and exploration in Morocco. To explain, the Berber flag is blue, green, and yellow with a symbol in the middle: blue stands for sea, green for grass/land, and yellow for the desert, with the symbol standing for free man and free women. Essentially, the flag represents the Berber tradition and belief to be one with nature and the natural. The way life should be and once was before the age of technology.

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