Many youngsters who have never gotten the opportunity to play in an organized soccer tournament will get their chance Saturday in the Capital Area Soccer Leagues second annual Friendship Cup.
The soccer tournament helps provide kids who would not typically have a chance to play soccer in an organized league or on a well-kept field a chance to do so. CASL partnered with the parks and recreation department as well as the police-sponsored Raleigh Organized Community Kids Soccer, or ROCKS, to help form teams.
CASLs Friendship Cup will take place at WRAL soccer center on Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m.
The goal of the Friendship Cup is to provide youth the opportunity to play soccer in a safe, organized and inclusive environment which they may not otherwise receive. Teams will come from all over the Triangle, including Raleigh, Durham, Knightdale, Apex and Oxford, to play. CASL hopes the tournament will give the area a chance to come together around soccer.
It really is a community-based event, Lindsay Vera, director of marketing for CASL, said.
Teams will compete at the under-10 and under-12 age groups. Each team is scheduled to play a round robin with at least three other teams.
This year, the cup has been opened up to CASL teams, and the number of teams has grown from 16 to 26 this year. About 260 players are expected to participate.
Vera said last years event turned out better than expected, and thus, interest for the Friendship Cup has grown from last year to this.
It was much more of a festival than we expected, Vera said. The place was filled with people all day, and you could tell the people who were out there truly enjoyed the game.
Vera says an event like this is important to not only expand the game of soccer in the Triangle, but also to bring a community together.
An event like this gives kids a chance to integrate and play soccer, Vera said. It allows kids from different backgrounds and cultures to get along, build relationships and develop lifestyle skills.