By Gord Bowes, News staff
A soccer tournament with a Pan Am Games feel is wrapping up this weekend on the west Mountain. It’s the first summer tournament organized by the Fraternity Hispanic Association.
Players who emigrated to Canada from more than 20 countries, mostly in Latin America and South America, are taking part in the tournament. There are 45 players age 15 and up on four teams.
Soccer players and fans are very passionate, says Luciano Gonzalez, one of the organizers, so teams were picked by drawing names out of a hat order to avoid any sort of nationalistic feuds on the field.
“We selected them randomly to avoid rivalries,” says Gonzalez.
The tournament, which began July 6, is aimed at Hispanic Canadians, but it is open to everyone.
The Fraternity Hispanic Association offers a number of programs year-round — not just sports, but activities such as dancing and photography — at St. Charles Adult Education Centre on East 5th Street. It’s all designed to help people keep active, says Rocio Reyes.
The association found that many people who were active prior to arriving in Canada stop once they arrive in this country.
“A lot of the time when they come here they don’t know anyone and may not know what services are available,” says Reyes. “It can be very overwhelming sometimes.”
“Our target demographic is the Hispanic community, because we know their needs, but the programs are open to everybody.”
For more information, see afhhamilton.ca.
The tournament was organized by Reyes and Gonzalez along with Antonio Delprete, Luis Lasso and Julio Narvaez. They say they plan to run another one next year, plus the indoor soccer tournaments they established last winter.
The last two games of the tournament begin Saturday at 2 p.m. The games are being played on the field located on water reservoir at Garth Street and Stone Church Road West.