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In an effort to boost international pride through the spirit of sport, Arizona State University’s School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC) hosted the annual SILC Cup Thursday at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
The event featured 21 co-ed teams that were made up of Sun Devil students and staff members. The teams represented different countries, regions and foreign language classes and each team were competing for the tournament title.
“I organized the first tournament six years ago and we rented a park in Tempe,” said Enrico Minardi, a senior lecturer of Italian and French at ASU. “It started so small, but last year it became big enough that the athletic department asked us to move the event here.”
The partnership with the athletic department was huge for Minardi and company.
Not only did the players get to take the pitch at the school’s 1,000 seat home stadium, but members of the Sun Devil women’s soccer team were on hand to referee the matches. They also provided water and delivered Papa John’s pizza to the participants.
“I am Italian so I grew up playing soccer every day,” Minardi said. “We played in the snow, rain and sun. This makes me feel like I’m back home, for one day at least.”
At a university which boasts an international student population of more than 10,000, events like these help foster a sense of community.
“I got to speak to people who spoke Japanese like me,” said freshman Manny Banuelos, whose Zut Alors side finished the day with a record of 2-0-1. “There were people from all over, which made it a fun event for anybody.”
Participants competed in teams of five to eight players, playing 15-minute matches on miniature 30 x 35 yard fields. The day started with a group play format, which was used to cut the field down before a knockout-style bracket was implemented to produce a champion on Thursday evening.
The group going by the name “Real Madrid” emerged from the 21-team field to win the 2017 SILC Cup.
Carrying a seven-player roster, the majority of which hailed from the Southern African nation of Angola, Real Madrid marched through group play and knockout competition before topping the German side, “Friebier aus Geld” in the final.
“My favorite part was taking a picture with the trophy after,” said Belchor Sebastião, a civil and environmental engineering major and member of Real Madrid. “That was really cool.”
In addition to the victory, Belchor was also happy to compete in an organized tournament — he and the rest of his teammates typically play for fun nearly every Friday.
“We just wanted to put together a fun soccer event,” said Barbara Fleming, a SILC adviser. “It is amazing how much it has grown though. The field doubled this year, and next time it will probably be even bigger.”
Top photo: Luis Monteverde (right) a sophomore business sustainability major from Hermosillo, Mexico, steals the ball during a game against the Les Coqs team. Monteverde was filling in for a missing team member from team Overlords during the SILC Cup. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now