West Side soccer tourn. bring cultures together

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-09 12:22:43-04

On Saturday, from 10am - 4 pm, West Side International Soccer (WSIS) hosts their 4th Annual Street Soccer Buffalo Charity Tournament at Front Park.  

The 4v4 tournament includes over 24 teams consisting of local soccer players (both kids and adults), who come from all over the world. 

WNY businesses and organizations are supporting players in joining together in a celebration of peace, friendship and diversity. WSIS is committed to providing safe places to play soccer and the mentoring of young people from diverse backgrounds.

This tournament is held every summer to help raise funds to continue a free soccer program for over 300 underprivileged and refugee children in Buffalo.

Along with fast-paced rounds of "street soccer", concessions are sold and spectators are able to join in soccer games and activities along the sidelines.   

WSIS was co-founded in 2012 and has been providing soccer programming year-round to children ages 4-19 for the past four years. 

Their volunteer staff, community aids, parents, players, neighborhood residents and community partners have all been a part of the initiative to break down cultural barriers and to give access to children who could not otherwise afford paid participation in sports.

"As co-founder of West Side International Soccer and a parent, I know the importance children having a safe, positive environment to play sports," said Amanda Escobar. 

"As the immigrant and refugee population in Buffalo continues to grow, our program utilizes soccer as a way to engage youth in a positive way.  Soccer transcends language, culture, religion, and socioeconomic background."