By Alex Labidou
With the World Cup less than four days away, it isn’t unusual to see adults and children practicing Cristiano Ronaldo stopovers or juggling on the street. Wanting to take advantage of the intense passion that the world’s biggest sporting event brings every four years, South Africa’s Consulate and MetroSoccer NY have teamed together to have its own version of the tournament in the city.
In an effort to promote the games being played in South Africa, both the youth and adult programs are teamed in nations. For the adults, it presents a great opportunity to network as many top corporations including Verizon sponsor the tournament and have players involved. It also doesn’t hurt that many of the players are semi-professionals or have experience playing in youth professional leagues overseas. The educational advantage of learning about the nations participating and getting solid fitness is the benefit for the younger athletes.
MetroSoccer NY’s president Ian Walker is proud of the progress made by the tournament, especially from the adult athletes who are assisting in providing funding for the youth tournament. Speaking at a party to commemorate the tournament at Sushi Samba 7, he discussed that many of the kids playing in the games come from urban backgrounds and wouldn’t have the access to the tournament otherwise. Gaining valuable geographical lessons and being involved with the world’s most popular sport has helped all of the children involved improve in many facets of their lives.
During the event at the trendy Japanese restaurant, New York Tokyo, one of the corporate teams in the tournament, entertained its guest with some ball tricks and fancy stopovers. It was clear to see that the mission of generating excitement for the World Cup had been accomplished.