RAMALLAH, July 3 (JMCC) - An American Palestinian player is just one of Palestine's assets as it faces off against Afghanistan in a qualifying soccer match in al-Ram on Sunday, reports CNN.
Omar Jarun was recruited from Peachtree, Georgia to play with the professional Palestinian soccer team.
On Sunday he will line up as a defender for the Palestinian national soccer team as they take on Afghanistan in a match that, just one year on from the World Cup final in South Africa, represents one of the first steps towards qualification for the next tournament in Brazil in 2014.
Besides being Palestine's first World Cup match on home soil, Sunday's encounter will have extra significance for Jarun. It will be the first time he has ever set foot in the West Bank and he plans to visit his ancestral town of Tulkarem.
His team traveled for 24 hours to be able to play their first match against Afghanistan. The game was moved from Kabul to the tiny aluminum smelting town of Tursunzade in southern Tajikistan -- a few miles from the Uzbek and Afghan border -- for fear of violence in Afghanistan.
Palestine won 2-0 and now have a good chance of qualifying for the second round where they would play Thailand.
The return match, to be held Sunday in Ramallah, will also be a landmark: Palestine's first ever World Cup match on home soil.
My dad taught me to play the game. He would always take me and my brother out and we would always play around the back yard, Jarun says.
I kicked football in high school, and I was actually pretty good at it. They wanted me to pursue it in college but I didn't really want to. I wanted to play with a team, I really wanted to play soccer.