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ASA hosts world soccer tournament

MEGAN DOYLE | Monday, April 19, 2010

Teams representing Notre Dame’s cultural clubs shot to score on Stepan Fields in a soccer tournament Saturday to raise funds for relief through the Haiti Fund and the Chilean Red Cross, African Students Association (ASA) president Brigitte Githinji said.

“A soccer tournament was just a great way to fundraise without necessarily placing a cloud of sadness over everyone,” Githinji said. “At the end of the day, the purpose of the tournament was to bring people together in celebration of the World Cup.”

The tournament was the kickoff event for Africa Week 2010, and the tournament entry fees as well as T-shirt sales throughout the week will form the basis of fundraising efforts for victims of natural disasters.

The theme of world unity promoted both by Africa Week and the World Cup inspired the ASA and other multicultural clubs to serve others in the global community, African Students Association vice president Odara Omusi said.

“With unity comes solidarity,” Omusi said. “I think that is something that is important for countries like Haiti and Chile that have been affected by earthquakes in recent times.”

The organizers also hoped to spread awareness of the options that students have to join cultural clubs on campus. By promoting these organizations through the tournament, they believed they could expand membership and interest.

“The event was inspired by a vested interest in soccer as well as a desire to see more collaboration among clubs and organizations that otherwise don’t interact,” Githinji said.

As South Africa prepares to make history as the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup this summer, Githinji that a miniature World Cup was a natural project for the ASA.

The African Students Association, German Club and the Italian Club collaborated to plan a world soccer tournament in order “to raise awareness and participation in each of the cultural clubs,” Italian Club president Kathleen O’Connor said.

Githinji and O’Connor worked with German Club president Aaron Steiner to bring teams representing Germany, South Africa, the Philippines, Italy, Spain and India together on Stepan Fields. The Spanish team emerged as the gold medalist after the final match with Italy, O’Connor said.

“There were also several students not involved in cultural clubs who played,” O’Connor said. “Hopefully the tournament will inspire these students to join a cultural club in the future.”

After Saturday’s success, the organizers would welcome plans for another tournament in the future.

“Italian club would definitely be interested in continuing the tournament in the future,” O’Connor said. “Given the success we had this year, I think we will have even more participants next year and in years to come.”

Githinji encouraged students to participate in other Africa Week events, including the World Unity Banquet on Thursday with international food, multicultural performances, and an address from Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves.

“Hopefully, we can keep that enthusiasm and collaborative spirit going as we continue with the rest of Africa Week 2010,” Githinji said.