“World Soccer” tourney moves to Lents

Find out why this competition takes place, and which parks saw 75 games played in them during the two-day tournament …

Instead of being in Delta Park this year, “Portland World Cup Soccer Tournament” games are being held in outer East Portland, with opening ceremonies held in Lents Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Since its inception, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s “Parks for New Portlanders Program” has hosted its annual “Portland World Cup Soccer Tournament” games at Delta Park.

But not this year. In 2019, a total of 75 games were played on two days, June 28-29, in outer East Portland – at Bloomington Park, Ed Benedict Park, and also where the opening ceremonies were held, at Lents Park.

The “Portland Fire” team, sponsored by Portland Fire & Rescue, gathers for a team photo; in the back row, from left, are the coaches: PF&R Lt. Brian Springberg, Portland Street Soccer coach Jacob Thoreson, and PF&R Inspector Eric Heard.

Welcoming the crowd to this year’s “Portland World Cup Soccer Tournament” games is the Parks Bureau’s Commissioner, Nick Fish.

“This is our 10th anniversary of providing healthy outdoor activities for immigrants and refugees,” said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, as the games were about to begin.

“This is a program of which we’ve very proud, at Portland Parks & Recreation; my predecessor, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, was a great champion of this program; and, as we all know, she’s a fanatic about women’s soccer,” Fish told East Portland News.

Participants and coaches gather for opening ceremonies.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz greets players, while PP&R’s Som Subedi and David Douglas High instructor Anne Downing – the originators of the tournament – look on.

“Over today and tomorrow, all these young people will be playing; then tomorrow, we’ll be giving out awards in the afternoon,” explained Fish.

The tournament does two things, the Commissioner, said. “First, it’s a great way to bring people together to participate in healthy activities. Secondly, this is wonderful community-building exercise that says Portland is a welcoming place. For no matter how long or short a time you’ve been here, you are welcome in Portland.”

These enthusiastic participants are with one of the nine female teams lauded by PP&R Director Adena Long at the opening ceremony.

During the opening ceremony, PP&R Director Adena Long proclaimed to the crowd, “This is for all Portlanders, for all languages, and for all cultures. I’m so excited that all of you are taking part in this fantastic event.

“This year we have a record number of 31 teams, including nine teams of young women, nice!” Long exclaimed. “I’m challenging you to make that 11 teams of women next year. You think you could do that?”

Hard at play are members of a competing soccer team. Photo courtesy of Ken Rumbaugh, PP&R

With that, the mentors and coaches directed the youthful players to different fields at Lents Park – including the main “pitch” (soccer playing field)where the park’s long-cherished gazebo once stood, before it was razed to make way for the soccer field – and the other two neighborhood parks..

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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