PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field, soccer teams representing the immigrant communities of Liberia and Sierra Leone will face off in the second annual Philadelphia International Unity Cup.
The tournament this year featured teams representing 47 nations and one team consisting of refugees. The idea for the competition came from the Mayor Jim Kenney’s office to “unite the city’s neighborhoods and celebrates its diverse immigrant communities through soccer. ”
Both teams call Southwest Philadelphia their home base and Liberia made it to the final last year, falling to Ivory Coast.
“People know the love and passion we have for soccer in Southwest Philadelphia,” says Sierra Leone coach Foday Toray. He thanks the city’s Parks and Recreations department for helping the teams get fields to practice and play.
“We have a lot of talent [in Southwest Philadelphia],” Liberia coach Jason Waylee says. He hopes the Cup will shine a light on the players in that part of Philadelphia. Both coaches sang the praises of Derek Jones, a South West Philly product playing for the Philadelphia Union as well as featuring for the United States at the U-20 level.
As far as the final, Waylee says Liberia overcame a shaky start to make it to the final, “Our first game we lost it so you know, being the number 2 team from last year, people had a lot of doubt that even Liberia was going to qualify. But, we remained quiet and little by little we are back in the final.”
Toray made a Joe Namath-like prediction about his Sierra Leone team “I told the mayor Jim Kenney were the first team selected in the draft and I promised him team Sierra Leone will be in the final and we will defiantly win the championship.”
The final will be broadcast live on KYW Newsradio this Saturday starting at 5:30 pm.