Shalom Life | October 31, 2014

Orthodox Jews Play Caribbeans in Soccer Game for Harmony

After the Jewish team beat the Carribean players in December, they are set to rematch.

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: March 23rd, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

Orthodox Jews Play Caribbeans in Soccer Game for Harmony

Although both the Orthodox Jewish and Caribbean soccer players of the Crown Heights area of New York are gearing to win their upcoming game this Sunday, the organizers say the game is about encouraging harmony in a neighbourhood that is historically divided.

Soccer for Harmony’s first tournament was held in December. The Orthodox Jews defeated two Caribbean teams, which quickly dispelled rumours and stereotypes regarding the players, many of which are Yeshiva students from Israel.

“We never heard of them being involved in soccer,” Frank Nicholas, coach for the Caribbean team, told NY Daily News.

“We figured it might be an easy game. We figured they’re probably not as good. But we got surprised.

“My guys can learn a lot from them,” he said. “We’ll be a little stronger, a little quicker, a little faster. We’ll try to win this time.”

The Jewish team, sponsored by Mendy’s Deli, is convinced they have the necessary technique to win again.

“We’ll fight on the field. We’re going to bring everything we’ve got,” said Nathan Abikasis, 29.

“We are small and skinny, and they’re bigger,” he said. “Then we realized that we’ve got the technique.”

Soccer for Harmony was created by Seeds in the Middle- a nonprofit that organizes soccer programs for children at Hamilton Metz Field. The folks at Seeds in the Middle noticed that a lot of adults were using the field, but usually remained in separate squads. This tournament aims to bring together different cultures through a common love.

“They both love soccer. That’s one of the things that can bring them together. They’re different, but that’s one thing they have in common,” said Brooklyn Crown Heights Eagles coach Josef Cabral.

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