Of all the reasons soccer is called “the beautiful game,” its ability to unite people from around the world may be the most significant.
The International Student Council has developed a version of the World Cup for its members to showcase their skills and bring together the international community. The tournament, which is held at Stehr field, began during the weekend and will run until the first weekend in November. There will be no games this weekend because of fall break.
Aspen D’Costa, president of the ISC, said he started to plan the tournament at the beginning of the summer semester. D’Costa, a doctoral student in workforce education from India, said he wanted to see international students form friendships and develop teamwork on the field.
“I think we’ve all seen a lot of camaraderie,” he said. “We want healthy competition.”
There are 13 co-ed teams in the tournament, many of which are composed of students from the same country or region.
Some of the teams are FC Korea, Arabian Arsenal, African Lions, China, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan and India. The Latin American Student Association also has a club in competition.
D’Costa said there were only six teams in last year’s tournament, which was the first since 2008. He said the tournament has been held at least 40 times in the history of the ISC.
Mira Spaniol, a sophomore from Malaysia studying university studies and ISC chief-of-staff, said she was pleased with the tournament during its first weekend.
“So far, it’s been a beautiful two days of soccer,” she said.
Spaniol said she enjoys when international students get a chance to showcase their abilities. She said she is organizing an ISC sports night to be held in November.
Spaniol said she was surprised to see students from different countries reach out to one another to practice weeks before the tournament started.
Arjun Subedi and Basanta Dahal said they first came to the United States from their home country of Nepal when the fall semester began.
Subedi, a graduate student in civil engineering, and Dahal, a doctoral student in micro and biochemical molecular biology, said they have made new friends through tournament competition and are happy to be a part of something that has united the international community.
Dahal said he enjoys the fierce competition from teams such as Saudi Arabia, who are the defending champions. He said he’s glad many of the international students play the game, which he said can bring anyone together.
“The important thing is that we share the same interest,” he said.
Subedi said he was happy to join his countrymen on the field.
“It’s our pleasure to participate here and represent our country,” he said.