Three freshmen are hoping to set a world record by dribbling soccer balls across North Carolina — but that’s not their main goal.
In May, freshmen Ahmad Saad, Sasha Seymore and Dylan Simel will dribble soccer balls for about 410 miles across North Carolina to raise money and spread awareness about the bond that soccer creates among people all over the world.
The differences between the friends in religion and background led to the decision to support three charities with the funds they raise: Soccer for Peace, the Maccabim Association and the Peres Center for Peace.
Seymore, Saad and Simel practice Christianity, Islam and Judaism, respectively. Simel is also a videographer for The Daily Tar Heel.
“(Peace in the Middle East is) something that we really care about, and just to have a cause that we’re all passionate for is such a good feeling,” Seymore said.
“It gets us pumped.”
Seymore said the friends were talking about how soccer is the most popular sport in the world and how it has the power to bring people together and form relationships when Simel brought up the idea of dribbling across the United States.
His friends made fun of the idea, comparing it to famed movie character Forrest Gump’s run, until Simel settled for crossing just North Carolina, and the idea seemed a bit more realistic.
Now they have made their plans and are finding sponsors. They are contacting many of the local businesses who support the Dozen Doughnut Dash, and have met with a representative from a soccer supply company to discuss potential support.
The group will start dribbling in Asheville, stop in Chapel Hill for Saad and Simel’s brothers’ graduation and end in Morehead City.
Their dates and route are not exact yet, but they are planning to begin the trek on May 5 and continue through May 28.
The three have also contacted soccer clubs all over the state to inform them about the trip, and many are planning to meet them along the route and dribble a couple of miles with them.
Saad, Seymore and Simel are enthusiastic about having others to dribble alongside them.
“I’m gonna get tired of these guys,” Saad said, laughing.
But in reality, the three have been very close ever since meeting each other through soccer activities.
Saad and Seymore play club soccer at UNC and Simel grew up playing soccer with Seymore in New Bern.
The three are spread across campus through their various activities outside of soccer, ranging from JV basketball to being an admissions ambassador.
Although it is not their main goal, the trio will attempt to make the Guinness World Record for the longest distance dribbling a soccer ball — there isn’t one currently.
For more information on Saad, Seymore and Simel’s trip across North Carolina, visit http://kickingacrosscarolina.com.