One powerful kick can score a goal and bring a range of cultures together.
Swapping out T-shirts for jerseys, dozens of Roanoke soccer aficionados battled it out on the field at River’s Edge North Park on Sunday.
The City of Roanoke helped organize the International Soccer Cup to acknowledge the growing diversity within the area.
It’s a sport played in nearly every corner of the world and Elvir Berbic said it can surpass language and cultural barriers.
“Soccer is played out in the street whether you are rich or poor,” he said.
17-year-old Erin Robertson slipped on her cleats to not just play a sport she’s passionate about but to also learn from other people.
“I love it,” she said. “I learn so much from them, even different playing styles from different cultures. I think it’s amazing.”
Coming from West Africa seven years ago, Ulrich Glele said it’s games like these that help families find comfort in their new home.
“Inclusion of people,” he said. “You don’t want people feeling like they’re an outcast. You want people to come together. That’s what builds a community.”
Arara Language Solutions Founder Josaline Austin is one of the sponsors of the tournament as she wanted to give back to the community that accepted her 14 years ago after moving from Brazil.
As Afghan refugees settle in Roanoke, Austin said it’s time for the community to open their arms and welcome them in.
“A lot of them come from a lot of trauma,” Austin said. “And being able to come to a whole community that receives them with welcoming arms, so that gives them the support for them to be able to learn English and do better in life. Help grow this country like our forefathers. That was their goal.”
The city has a list of more upcoming cultural events on its website.
Source: WSLS News 10