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City’s Diversity on Display at Worcester World Cup this Weekend

Friday, August 10, 2012

 

Team Iran celebrating its victory in 2010

One of Worcester's more unique events, the Worcester World Cup, begins today and will highlight the city's many distinct cultures.

With 20 different "national teams" all vying for coveted cup, there will certainly be an emphasis on the many pockets of different nationalities that call Worcester home. The four different women's teams come from Ecuador, Portugal, El Salvador and right here in the U.S.A. while the men's teams range from Albania, to Burma, to Iraq.

"People don't realize how truly diverse Worcester is," Jenique' Memnon of the Worcester World Cup organizing team said. "This is a representation of Worcester, and with soccer being the world's game, it's just a perfect match."

All games will be played at Foley Stadium, with action beginning tonight at 5:30 pm with a matchup between defending men's champion Brazil and 2010's champion Iran. The tournament is done with the help of Kohl's and Henry's Copy Center, along with the Worcester Hydra, Blush, Randy Feldman Immigration Law and others.

Now in its seventh year, the event has grown tremendously in popularity. Memnon says the organizing team even gets requests from other cities to see if their teams can join the tournament. But, she says, the tournament will remain loyal to Worcester based teams, with openings going first to returning teams.

Still, Memnon would like to see the tournament expand a little bit, citing their inability to accommodate every team that wanted to participate. She says the tournament could not fit in teams with backgrounds from Greece and Kenya, among others, due to only having one field.

"We have grown to 20 teams, but we would like to get even bigger, especially on the women's side," Memnon said. "Foley Stadium is the only place we can play, but there used to be a smaller soccer field right next to the current field. We would love for the city to make that a field again, or develop some other soccer fields, especially with the game's growing popularity in the city."

Whatever happens in future years, this weekend is sure to be filled with intense action and national pride. The tournament will run through Sunday, with the women's final taking place at 5:30 pm and the men's final following shortly thereafter at 6:50 pm.

"I feel that this is a great event because it represents Worcester on an international level," Memnon said. "It really gives me great pride that we are able to do this." 

 

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