Ottawa. – Close to 300 players celebrated community spirit at Brewer Park Sunday during the 8th annual Community Cup, a fun-packed festival bringing new and mainstream Canadians together through soccer.
From Somali Family Services and the Latin American Women Support Organization (LAZO) to CBC, Carleton University community radio CKCU, Special Olympics, Ottawa Paramedics and Ottawa Police, the 8-hour long festival fostered connections on four soccer fields as players and supporters celebrated goals, camaraderie, sportsmanship and community spirit.
Over 30 organizations displayed their information at the Community Tent and with something for everyone from the Musical Language booth to exquisite food, live entertainment and the Kids Zone, with a soccer program run by Capital United FC.
Over 40 nationalities were represented with The Lions of Persia lifting the Community Cup after defeating the Ottawa Karen Youth Club in the final, while CKCU took the Spirit Cup for their excellent display of fair play throughout the co-ed 7v7 tournament. The Lions were awarded by Member of Provincial Parliament and Community Cup co-chair Yasir Naqvi.
Several participants of the OSA’s Soccer and Settlement project supported the festival as volunteers, including Victor Ogbechi and Nicolas Hamunjela, who assisted with the soccer tournament, as well as Mukhles Al Fares, who shared his soccer anecdotes with CBC. While others such as Kate Zhang and Karla Hurtado played with their respective teams and Johnson Caal, a police student and newcomer to Canada from Guatemala had the chance to play with his potential future employer, the Ottawa Police. The LAZO girls connected to Ottawa Rockers United one of the 60 clubs sanctioned by the Eastern Ontario District Soccer Association. All players and volunteers received tickets to attend Ottawa Fury PDL and W-League matches
"Today was a great demonstration and celebration of our welcoming communities. Thanks to the sponsors, our funders, 160 volunteers, and community partners, this soccer event continues to exceed expectations and integrates people around common interests such as food, music, dance, and sports", said Community Cup director Dan Dubeau.
Attending his first Community Cup, Kuwait’s Abdulsalam Msiar was impressed by the turnout and happy to have made new friends after being in Ottawa for only a year. As an eligible new Canadian Msiar has signed up to take an Active Start and FUNdamentals course under the OSA’s Soccer and Settlement project July 3-4 and will be keen to join a local club to further his skills as a coach.
Several newcomers to Canada learned about the project and how they could connect to sanctioned soccer in Ontario. The two-year project has trained over 60 referees and a similar number of coaches, some of them already contributing to soccer in the Ottawa region.
“Supported by the Government of Canada through Citizenship and Immigration Canada”
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