Morad Fareed: Athlete and Entrepreneur
Palestinian-American entrepreneur and soccer player Morad Fareed acted on his dreams in a very public way. He appeared prominently in the acclaimed 2006 documentary Goal Dreams, which captures the aspirations and experiences of the first Palestinian national soccer team.
When Fareed learned that a Palestinian national soccer team was being assembled to attempt to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, he jumped at the opportunity to join the team. "I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't try out," he says. "I spent a year trying to convince the coach to give me a chance. In the end, I showed up in Egypt for the tryout and eventually I made the team."
Fareed calls playing on the Palestine National Team "the proudest and toughest thing I've ever done." The team brought together Palestinians from the occupied territories and around the world. They trained in Egypt. They played their "home" matches in Qatar, because Israel's occupation policies made training and playing in Palestine impossible. For Fareed, who played soccer growing up and throughout college, participation on the team signified more than just an opportunity to play soccer. "I saw it as a way to contribute positively and to help in communicating the Palestinian story in an honest, apolitical, but human way," he says.
Born in 1979 in Long Island, NY, Fareed spent part of his summers in Palestine as a child. His mother is from Nablus and his father is from Kuf'rai, both in the West Bank. "I still have grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends there," he explains. "Growing up, Palestine was never far from my consciousness, though the political situation was often confusing. In a sense my parents, by virtue of being here and not there, shielded us. They came here to improve their lives and wanted to keep their kids away from all the negative things they escaped."
Morad Fareed now lives in Manhattan. He is an entrepreneur and assistant coach for the men's soccer team at his alma mater, New York University. With his father he started a technology company and later, with his siblings, co-founded a real estate investment fund, Fareed Capital LLC. He currently works in real estate development for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.
Although the soccer team never made it to the World Cup, Fareed has no regrets about dropping everything for a year and a half to give it a shot. "I knew it'd be something I could only do while I was young," he says. "I have no doubt that the team can continue to progress despite the obstacles, and one day, qualify for the World Cup. And I intend to be there in support."