Soccer and social justice reunite childhood friends

In 1984, two 12-year-old boys – one Black, one White – met on a Connecticut soccer field, and decades later they have been reunited through soccer and social justice.

David Cohen grew up in the upscale side of Hartford while Dushawne Simpson lived in the tough side of the city.

Despite their differences, they developed a deep respect for one another through the game of soccer. They both have had lifelong soccer journeys and have kept tabs on one another over the years through social media.

David is currently the CEO of Doc Wayne, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that works with at-risk youth.

Dushawne is currently the head girls soccer coach at the Pingree School.

Earlier this year, David noticed that Dushawne was expressing his frustration with the growing racial tensions and unrest in our country on social media. David felt the same and reached out. The friendship reignited and David recently asked Dushawne to serve on Doc Wayne’s Board, a full-circle moment for both.

David’s career has been spent helping kids like the one he met on the soccer field all those years ago and Dushawne is using his talent to help kids like those he met while playing youth soccer develop their talent and play competitively.