H.S. FOOTBALL | Moore Mustangs Celebrate Diversity

09/11/2017 12:30 PM

“I believe that sports have no language barriers. Have no color barriers. You kind of welcome that diversity,” explained Moore’s offensive coordinator Tombe Thomas.

The Moore Mustangs have one of the most diverse football teams around.

Thomas’ family is originally from South Sudan.

“My mom is from Mexico, really a small town- a small village in Mexico. She moved in when she was young in America and my dad is Salvadorian from Central America,” added Luis Ceron, a senior defensive end.

“My family is originally from Uzbekistan, but they moved to Russia.” Nadym Murtov, a fellow senior and kicker for the Mustangs explained.

Some of the team are immigrants themselves; some are the children of immigrants. Something they all share, they each came to America looking for a better life.

Murtov recalled life in Russia being “hard”. Thomas remembers the same in Sudan.

“Didn’t really have much of a childhood. I was born amidst the southern Sudanese civil war, which is the longest conflict in the African continent.”

In a political climate where immigration and refugees are a hot topic, the Mustangs are all-too-aware of what is going on in the world.

“We’re all human beings in this world, everybody is the same. It doesn’t matter what color or race you are,” Ceron told Spectrum News.

“I recently became a citizen after a long time, so I’d just like to see others get the same opportunities I had,” Coach Thomas explained. “I know it’s difficult to try to provide that opportunity for everybody, but it’d be great, because essentially, that’s what America is, you know, and that’s what makes America great, because of the diversity.”

For the players and coaches alike, the diversity is something they take great pride in.

“There’s like so many people from so many different backgrounds and it’s like, there’s somebody from everywhere. Like, our kicker is from Russia, our offensive coordinator is from Sudan. It’s like so many different people on the team and like, everybody comes together, like you would think nobody would get along,” explained senior defensive tackle and tight end, Charlie Allen.

Ceron agreed.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s like a brotherhood honestly. Everybody works hard, everybody communicates. That’s one big thing here that we have is communication, you know, we get along. Great bonding.”

Head Coach Robert Reader thinks this experience on the gridiron will prepare his players for the future.

“It’s real unique. I like it a lot. It’s the makeup of our school, it’s kind of how America is now. You know? And a lot of that has been talked about lately and these kids make it work. It’s kind of preparing them for as they go on in life and get in the work force, go to college, it’s exactly what they’re going to see there, so it’s not something that we talk about, but it works for us and I knew that when I got here and I’m pretty excited to be a part of it. It’s a neat thing.”

While the Mustangs embrace their diversity, they can’t dwell on it. With a 3-1 record, they’re preparing to face the defending 4-A State Champions, the Johnson Central Golden Eagles on Friday night. That game is set to kick off at 8:00 p.m. central at Moore High School.

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