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Asylum seekers welcomed by soccer game in Portland

The Portland Press Herald reports that a handful of asylum seekers joined the Congolese Community of Maine for a rainy Sunday afternoon of soccer.
Credit: Ariana van den Akker/Portland Press Herald
Team Rwanda rests at halftime Sunday during a New Mainer Soccer Tournament put on by the Congolese Community of Maine at Fox Street fields in Portland.

PORTLAND, Maine — Newly arrived asylum seekers have taken to the field for a game of soccer with players from several African countries.

The Portland Press Herald reports that a handful of asylum seekers joined the Congolese Community of Maine for a rainy Sunday afternoon of soccer in Portland's East Bayside neighborhood.

Denis Mangangu Malepa, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said he left his home country in 2017 amid religious and political violence. He said he spent time in Brazil before traveling six months from Latin America to Portland.

He said he's been receiving translation services and information from the Congolese community.

Teams from Rwandan and Angolan communities joined the soccer games Sunday.

Portland has seen an influx of central African asylum seekers staying at the Portland Expo in recent weeks.

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