ISA hosts mini World Cup
Jared Evans | Collegio Reporter
Early Saturday morning cheers erupted from the stands in a half-dozen different languages as the “Brazil Dream” team scored its first goal against South Korea’s “Gangnam Style” at the annual International Student Association soccer tournament.
“It was great to see the amount of people here in the middle of the United States that enjoy soccer,” said David Campuzano, undecided freshman. “Especially since most of us here are not originally from this country.”
Campuzano, who played for the Paraguay team, said that he enjoyed the event because it brought people of many nationalities and cultures together.
“It’s like our own little version of the World Cup, but it’s not as serious and we’re all just out here to have a great time,” Campuzano said.
Each team participating in this year’s ISA tournament was allowed only six players on the field at a time, which is five short of the usual soccer team. The rules were also set at “double elimination,” which means that, after losing twice, that team is knocked out of the running.
This event is meant to give another opportunity for international and domestic students to get together and interact.
“What is a better way to have fun than to have a little competition and share the passion for one of the most international sports in the world?” asked Yana Kirichenko, who helped with the set-up of the soccer tournament.
While having six players is a unique stance on the game, not everyone on Saturday was happy with the unusual number.
“The teams are too small, almost half of what I’m used to,” said Yao Sun, a graduate student from China, who played the Brazil Dream team. “One player has to stand in for two and that wears everyone out. It is unfair.”
Besides the fact that the teams were too small, Sun says the field was about twice as big as it needs to be.
“And that’s too much running for only six people,” Sun said. “If they are going to do that, it would be better to spread the games out for two or even three weekends.”
The extra work took its toll on both players and referees, who were all drenched with sweat at half time. Kafui Alomenu refereed, and though originally from Ghana, also played for the United States.
“All of the teams are cooperative. It is a great time and a fantastic experience. Everyone is out to have fun with players from and representing other countries,” said Alomenu, graduate student.
Despite different cultures and nationalities, Alomenu said that it was still a friendly game.
“They all play well together—no hard or illegal hits and no foul play, just simple misses and errors that everyone makes when they play soccer,” Alomenu said.
Over the nine hours of playing time, five of the eight men’s teams were eliminated. The final three teams playing for the championship were the United States, Brazil Dream, and the Saudi Student Association.
The United States and Brazil Dream both entered the third-place game with one loss each. In that game, the U.S. defeated Brazil Dream 2-1, to move on to the championship game against SSA. The SSA went on to defeat the United States 2-1 to claim the championship trophy in the Men’s Division.
The Women’s Division hosted two teams, the Pink Gorillas and Kick Ass, who played two games, the first of which was a shutout of Kick Ass by the Pink Gorillas, 4-0. The Pink Gorillas ended with first place in the Women’s Division with a second game score of 5-1 against Kick Ass.
“I had an amazing time not only at the game, but even prior to that when all the organization’s steps were planned and executed,” Kirichenko said. “I really appreciate that the International Student Association allowed me to do this event again this year, and I hope to do it next year if I’m still here.”