The Lackawanna voters recently elected my good friend Abdul Noman to a seat on the 1st Ward Common Council. He defeated three other opponents this week. I've known Noman since I was about 10 years old. He has been at the helm of the Lackawanna Yemen Soccer Club for around 30 years.
When I was having problems getting South Buffalo teams into the Western NY travel organization, I gave Abdul a call. Our South Buffalo girls' teams had no sponsoring club and I didn't feel like dealing with any of the area's ultra suburban clubs. Mr. Noman let us join his club and he helped me throughout the entire process. We were with Lackawanna for two years until we were reinstated ourselves the following season.
Newsweek was doing a story on how the players from Lackawanna Yemen, one of the last ethnic clubs in the area, were treated at some of their away games. The reporter called me because I was listed as one of their coaches. I told the reporter I never encountered serious discrimination against our girls mainly because they weren't Arab-American. She was confused when I told her most of our girls were Irish Catholic and from South Buffalo.
The Lackawanna Yemen Club is one of the oldest clubs in the area now. I've been in their clubhouse and seen how much pride Noman has instilled in the neighborhood through soccer and academics. Many of these kids could not get to the away games if Noman didn't drive them there himself in the famous red Lackawanna Yemen van. Congratulations to Noman on his recent victory. I believe he will be a great, independent voice for the citizens of Lackawanna's 1st Ward.