Photo by Anne Downing, David Douglas High School teacher
The African-Asian team, winners of the final at the Portland Immigrant and Refugee World Cup held at Delta Park over the July 4th weekend. Sixteen teams competed, up from 8 last year. The event is a partnership between Portland Parks & Recreation, the Office of Human Relations New Portlanders program, and Portland Fire & Rescue whose staff provided both coaching and emergency medical assistance. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Kenya, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, and various Central American and Asian countries were represented, by youth who live in the Portland Metro area. The African Youth Community Organization (AYCO) also provided valuable assistance and partnership.
Special thanks to Alejandro "Alex" Vidales of Portland Parks & Recreation, Renault "Polo" Catalani in the Office of Human Relations, and Anne "Anne" Downing of David Douglas High School for providing the government staff support and pulling it all together. See this coverage in the Oregonian for more on why we invested City resources in this project.
Photo by Anne Downing
I got to start the kick-off for the final, using my Dad's whistle from his volunteer refereeing and wearing my England shirt. Sadly there was no England team in the tournament, and girls didn't play when I was growing up so I would not be any help if there was. My brother, who is a referee in England, later informed me that by the rules, the game should be restarted after a ceremonial whistle-blow. Given language differences and the fervor of the play, it would have been hard to stop the players once they had started.
Notwithstanding my opposition on economic grounds when considering whether to convert PGE Park from baseball to soccer, I am enjoying the Timbers season very much. My kids and I watch every game on TV, and we went to the friendly against Ajax Amsterdam. Ajax was my favorite continental-Europe team, thanks to Johann Cruyff whose poster was on my college dorm room wall -- because he was such a great player. So I particularly enjoyed seeing them live again. The standard of play at the Immigrant and Refugee World Cup was very impressive, even after watching MLS all season. The Timbers should put some serious scouting effort into recruiting # 4, who scored the first half goal in the final.