By: Nick Laveglia
There are not many cities in the world diverse enough to hold its own World Cup style tournament. Fortunately for New Yorkers, we can!
Last night, at the Polish Consulate, the 2011 CosmosCopa kicked off in grand fashion. Just from last night’s event, you can see the power this tournament can truly have in our city. As we waited for guest speaker Tommy Smyth of ESPN to start off the tournament draw, you enjoyed pick food and beverages and mingled with a crowd that was as diverse as the 4 train during rush hour. The only difference was, instead of pushing and cramming for space in the car, this diversity was all brought together in celebration of one thing. Soccer! By far my favorite was the Ghana contingency that came all decked out in Ghana scarves showing that the communities involved take this seriously.
Talking with another member of our group in attendance, we realized that all these people in attendance normally would stay in their local community and celebrate the game their own way, and someone from across town would never really get to experience that. Luckily, Spencer Dormitzer and Chris Noble not only had the vision to create this tournament and put in hours of hard work to implement it.
If you did not attend last year’s tournament, you really missed a chance to experience something special. The Irish fans came all decked out in green, the Argentineans marched into the field with drums playing music, the Polish won a fantastic final in a penalty shootout and everyone just had a festive time with it.
While the 2011 version will offer even more teams and hopefully more great matches, it’s really up to the fans to maximize this experience and unite with fellow soccer fans. If the supporters do it right, you can not only celebrate your heritage but share it with fellow New Yorkers and maybe offer a learning experience.
As stated before, there are other cities in the world that can pull off this kind of tournament; but none have the character that New York has to make it a truly fantastic cultural experience. Get behind your background, come on out to the CosmosCopa and share with New Yorkers, your love for the game of Soccer.
Remember, the goal is for all New Yorkers to be under the same roof creating a soccer environment second to none in this country for a New York City based team, why not start working on that now?