The Worcester World Cup

Team Ghana celebrating their victory in the Worcester World Cup.
Team Ghana celebrating their victory in the Worcester World Cup.

Hundreds turned out to watch the Worcester World Cup last weekend, a citywide soccer tournament with teams representing nations from Bhutan to Togo. The eventual champions were the Ghana in the men’s field and the United States in the women’s, but overall the tournament featured teams from sixteen nations and five continents. Ghana defeated Brazil on penalty kicks after a hard-fought game left the score tied at the end of regulation and the U.S. defeated Ecuador 2-1 to claim the women’s crown.

Cultural Exchange Through Soccer (CETS), a Worcester organization dedicated to community development through the universal sport of soccer, organized the tournament. CETS is a group of soccer enthusiasts and community organizers who have been working to bring people in Worcester, particularly youth, together across cultures and nationalities through soccer for over ten years. Founder and organizer Laura Suroviak says that the Worcester World Cup is about more than just soccer, it is about recognizing “the changing face of Worcester.” Soccer is the number one sport in most of the world and as more and more people from different nations have come to Worcester having the tournament has been a way to show them that the city’s culture can adapt to their presence in a positive and welcoming way. CETS is also behind a drive to push the city to create more public soccer fields, which are relatively difficult to find in Worcester despite the sport’s popularity. Soccer is a wonderful game, but it is also a tool for bringing people together, building community, and empowering people, which are the larger goals of CETS.

The tournament was full of individual players with dazzling skills, but by Sunday evening, with only two teams remaining from a field of sixteen, it was clear that patience, teamwork and trust were necessary ingredients for a team to make it deep into their tournament. The champions seemed to always be aware of where their teammates were on the field and how to get them the ball at the right time. Like soccer, community development requires lots of communication and hard work to be successful.

-Brady Burton


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