Have you ever looked around and noticed the beauty in the diversity we have here in Memphis? So many different faces, each one unique and special – and behind every face is a story. As we embrace our diversity and celebrate our stories, we also look for ways to find a common ground, a common thread that holds each face and each story together.
Local businesses and individuals are joining together to honor our city’s diversity and find that common ground, through a love of sports. The third annual Memphis Cup of Nations is scheduled for, Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Christian Brothers University Field and Stadium. The main event is an internationally inclusive adult men’s soccer tournament. The Memphis Cup includes a family festival to give family and friends a fun place to eat, play, and watch the games. Among the many sponsors are Barnhart Crane, Christian Brothers University, World Relief, and Christ United Methodist Church.
The Cup of Nations is a success in other cities like Houston, TX, Atlanta GA, Boston, MA and St. Louis, MO. Jan Averwater, Christ United Methodist Athletics Director, attended the St. Louis tournament. “It was an eye opening experience to see so many nationalities represented – and how pleased the players were that the city cared enough to make a big deal about their favorite sport,” she said. “Even with the many different languages, soccer was the common factor that brought them together.”
The tournament features 8 local men’s amateur teams representing their ethnic cultures. Both as a sporting event and as a way to embrace diversity, the Cup is gaining ground. Ali, a player from Afghanistan, recently related that he’d lived in St. Louis for several years, and was about to stop playing soccer completely because his team had no one to play against. The Cup of Nations gave him hope, he said – hope that his team could continue to play the sport they loved.
Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton is a supporter of the event, and feels the remarkable growth of soccer is a boon to our community. “It seems like every weekend hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors come to Memphis for the many tournaments our city hosts,” he said. “Not only is this an economic driver for our restaurants and hotels, but it showcases Memphis and our important ‘quality of life’ assets. The Cup of Nations Tournament is an important signal to the many immigrant populations in Memphis that their interests are being recognized. I commend all the sponsors who are contributing to help make this event possible.”
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell joined Mayor Wharton in thanking the sponsors who are making the event possible. He added, “Shelby County continues to grow in diversity, which means we also grow in our need for talent and educational competency. We celebrate not only the rise in skills that many in our international community provide, but we are also pleased to be able to support a friendly and competitive activity like the Memphis Cup of Nations.”
So make your plans to join us on Saturday, April 18th. All players of all nationalities are invited to compete for the Cup, and everyone is welcome to watch the matches and enjoy the festival.