What is your name and home field location?
Alvin Melhado. Our home field is Finley Recreation center.
What is your connection to Jamaica?
I was born in Jamaica, I love Jamaica, and I live Jamaica!
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
My interest in the Unity Cup was driven by the opportunity and pride to represent Jamaica, and to associate with the multitude of other immigrant nations in Philly.
As a returning team, what was your favorite moment from last year’s tournament?
My favorite moment was every single match we played. The thrill of playing and the joy of seeing Jamaicans in the stands cheering us on, after all the Mayor did say we have the BEST fans!
How did your team come together?
Our team came together last year through my initiative to register us for the tournament. I recruited the head coach and assistants, and invited some people to participate on the administrative side. We held open tryouts and selected our squad of 25. Soccer is the number-one sport in Jamaica, so it is followed wherever there is a Jamaican community. It is a source of community pride. Players who played together in Jamaica come here and continue that bond by playing together again.
Why is soccer important to you personally?
Soccer is important to me because it has served as a foundation for some lifetime friendships. We share a common experience that helps foster friendship, respect, and working together.
How has soccer made your life better?
Soccer helped some of my friends to get an education through a scholarship to a US university. It gave them an opportunity to travel and it helps in building new friendships.
Why do you think soccer is so popular around the world?
Soccer is popular because it does not take much to participate, a ball and some open space. It is one of the very few sports where all nations can participate in a true world tournament.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
The Unity Cup has highlighted and made me more aware of all the different immigrant nations here in Philly. Playing soccer in the Unity League has opened up a conversation and dialogue with other cultures around our love of soccer.
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about Jamaican culture?
I would recommend Talk of the Town (at Upsal and Limekiln Pike), Pat’s Caribbean (on Wadsworth Avenue), and Flavor Spot (at Rising Sun Avenue and Levick, and at Broad and Lindley).