What is your name and your team’s home field location?
I am Virginijus “Virjis” Anusauskas. We play on Horsham-area fields.
How did you hear about the Unity Cup?
I saw it advertised in the newspaper and wanted to get involved. I went to the informational meeting first and then decided to join.
What were your initial impressions when you heard about the Unity Cup?
I thought it would be a very good event for community. There are a lot of leagues (I play for Phoenix SC in Feasterville) that have very intense competition, and those leagues really focus on winning. This is a good opportunity for many different types of players. This is for everyone to get together, even if you are good or bad. There has never been anything like this before because players can get together and see there are soccer players from places in the world they never thought of before.
Why are you so passionate about soccer?
All my life I’ve played soccer. I played for youth national teams and the Lithuanian national team for Olympic qualification, even though the team never qualified. I also played professional soccer in Lithuania and Germany.
Why is soccer so universal?
It is an affordable game. You need a ball and two posts, and that’s it. It’s not like American football with a lot of equipment. It’s extremely accessible for all people all over the world.
What is your connection to the team you are playing for?
I was born in Lithuania and have lived in the US for 15 years. I met my wife and had my kids here.
Is there someone you identify with as the biggest influence in your community?
St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Philadelphia is a meeting point for the scattered Lithuanian community. For this reason, I’d name Fr. Peter Burkauskas, the priest of St. Andrew’s, as the most influential in the Lithuanian community because of how centered the church is in the Lithuanian community.
Is there someone in your community you look up to?
Rimas Gedeikas, who organized a lot of the Lithuanian community in terms of community activities. I’d describe him as the “activity guy.” If you want to do anything with sports, you talk to him.
Vytas Karalius – worked in Parks & Rec, did a lot for the city of Philadelphia, as well as the Lithuanian community.
Fr. Peter Burkauskas – Mentioned for his role listed above.
What do you love about living in Philadelphia?
It’s a great city because there are a lot of opportunities. There are a variety of different cultures and I believe the government is on the right track. I find the city beautiful and historically significant.
Do you participate in other leagues and/or tournaments other than the Unity Cup?
Yes, the United Soccer League and Phoenix SC. Both are very competitive and successful.
Quote/tagline for your country
“Freedom is great” (the years under Soviet influence and oppression in Lithuania are the inspiration for this tagline).
Where do you get your information/news from?
Philadelphia sources (TV, other media), organizations (Office of Immigrant Affairs), Churches (not all Lithuanian people are Christian, but the Church are still generally influential). There is a Lithuanian community newspaper, but it is inconsistent and unreliable. I also get Lithuanian news through “Algimantas and Terese Gecys” (email@example.com).
How are you promoting your team?
Word of mouth and social media. The Lithuanian community is scattered, but everyone still talks.
To learn more about your team and cultural heritage, where can someone go?
Church events would be the best place. The best way to experience Lithuanian culture would be to experience it first-hand, and this is the center of the Philadelphia Lithuanian community.