There is an effort underway to establish a street soccer (football) tournament in Buffalo. According to promoter Michael Jackson, unlike traditional field soccer games, the street play incorporates an urban sporting dynamic that ties into cultural significance. “More international refugees are resettled in Buffalo than in any other city in New York state,” Michel told me. “Between 40-50 different languages are now spoken in the city, largely concentrated on the West Side. There is one language that we all understand – the language of “the beautiful game” of soccer.
“On July 20-21, people and cultures from around the world will come together in a celebration of peace, friendship, and diversity, as expressed through the game in its most elemental and accessible form – street soccer. This 4 versus 4 tournament, to be played on two closed-off blocks of Lafayette Avenue, will highlight Buffalo as the City of Good Neighbors, and a great soccer town that is now also a beacon of hope – a City of Light – for people from around the world who have resettled here.
“All tournament proceeds will benefit Concerned Ecumenical Ministry (CEM) – a human service agency located at the corner of Lafayette and Parkdale Avenues. CEM offers programs for children and seniors, and emergency food services for those in need. Through the support of individuals, congregations, denominations, governmental agencies, businesses, and foundations, CEM provides for the needs of many in the community. It’s a place to learn, to socialize, to get help navigating entitlement programs, to eat a nutritious meal, to get emergency groceries.
“It’s a place to matter. It’s a place to make a difference.
“You can register to play by filling out the attached form and mailing it to: CEM, Attn: Street Soccer Buffalo, 286 Lafayette Avenue, Buffalo NY 14213-1455. Or, you can register online at www.streetsoccerbuffalo.com. For more information, please visit www.cembuffalo.org or www.facebook.com/StreetSoccerBuffalo.”