All-African soccer tourney set
24 teams represent 20 countries
Three-hundred-eighty-four players will represent more than 20 African countries, as well as the Caribbean, at the African Community Soccer Tournament (ACST) on Sept. 3 at the John Ferraro Soccer Complex at Griffith Park.
The tournament will feature Los Angeles-area soccer players from Africa and the Caribbean.
Twenty-four teams are set to compete in a playoff-style tournament similar to the World Cup that will eventually pit the best two squads against each other for the title. The tournament is sanctioned by CalSouth, the official youth and adult state soccer association of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer.
The first match round-up consists of eight groups of teams of no more than 11 players playing two games each that consist of two 25-minute halves and a 10-minute interval.
In addition to the soccer tournament, the day’s activities will also include arts, crafts, a parade, music, dance and food from the African Diaspora.
“The event began as a result of Los Angeles’ growing African and Caribbean communities,” explains event organizer Isaac Appiah from Ghana. “We had such a huge response from players wanting to represent their country that we expanded into all-day event complete with vendors in hopes of turning this into an annual gathering.”
According to the U.S. Census, it is estimated that the current population of African immigrants in the United States is about 881,300.
African countries in Los Angeles County with the most immigrants include Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Because of this, South African Consul General Cyril Sibusiso Ndaba has been selected to present the first-place trophy cup and Broadway Federal Bank prize of $3,000.
“Soccer has always been a big sport in African, Latin, and West Indian countries,” explains the Republic of Ivory Coast’s Charlotte Kouassi, event co-organizer and president of Vuvuzela Media and Marketing, a firm that specializes in advertising and marketing to Africans in the U.S. “The large immigration of Latinos into America has really helped to fuel the rise of soccer in the U.S.”
The countries represented in the African Community Soccer Tournament are: Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, The Republic of Guinea, Jamaica, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
First match schedules, directions, parking, and other information can be found online at www.africansoccerla.com. Follow the tournament on Twitter at www.twitter.com/africansoccerla.
Los Angeles has long been a dream for immigrants haling from various parts of Africa. The United States Census estimates the current population of African immigrants at about 881,300. With so few numbers in the disparate communities, Africans are a silent minority, carrying a very low profile. They are less likely than other immigrants, say Latinos, to question political decisions. And many come from countries where the political consequences for questioning government can be harsh.
Three hundred eighty-four semi-professional and amateur soccer players representing 19 African countries were featured in the first ever African Community Soccer Tournament that saw Sierra Leone’s Leone Stars defeat Cameroon’s L.A. Lions 2-1 to capture the first ACST Cup title.
Celebration of life services for Billy G. Ingram, Ph.D., founder and pastor of Maranatha Community Church, will be held on March 19 at 10 a.m.
Ingram, 58, died on March 8 of a heart attack while sleeping. He was taken by paramedics to Kaiser Permanente on Cadillac in Los Angeles where he was declared dead.
Los Angeles will join other U.S. cities and African countries in commemorating the 39th Africa Day with a free one-day cultural festival on Saturday, May 26, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Carson at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Ahhh, Los Angeles. The city that does eventually sleep, although fitfully and always jumpy to start back up again and get back into it—another balmy day to play.
One thing about L.A. is that there is always a wide diversity of things to do and get into, good or bad. October is one of those exhausting, breathless months when everyday there just seems to be so much stuff going on, too much for one tired body and soul.