In October of 2006, the New York Times wrote an article called Where Young Refugees Find a Place to Fit In. The article talks about soccer in Utica as a resource that brings new refugees together.
Many of the young refugees say they owe their survival here to soccer, a respite from trying, chaotic and often lonely lives (Santos, 2006).
Today, soccer is still a major part of refugee lives. I recently ran into a friend who came from Burma three years ago with her two sons. She said both her boys play soccer – she has to drive all over with them to games.
The Redeemer Church recognized this fact and in 2010 started the Redeemer Cup. The Redeemer Cup is a full on soccer tournament World Cup-style. It is designed so that each team represents a different cultural portion of our community. It is becoming an annual event in the Utica, NY area and is a great way to support the community and encourage cultural unity.
Redeemer Church Rick Andrew organizes the event. Andrew said those interested must be between the ages of 15 and 50 to play. One leader of a team must organize a group to compete. There’s usually about 16 teams representing different refugee groups in the area.
The 2012 tournament will take place June 2nd and 3rd at Proctor Park in Utica. Starting Over will be there to document the event – be sure to look for the Redeemer Cup display at our Gallery event in December!
For more information, visit http://redeemercup.com/ or check out this informational video: