What is your name and home field location?
Zach Jepson. We don’t have a home field. We’re generally from a few states across the East Coast so it varies when we get together.
What is your connection to Mongolia?
Our ancestors are from Mongolia. A few of us were born there, but most of us are second- or third-generation Americans whose grandparents or great-grandparents came over after World War I or World War II. Our goal is to bring together the Kalmyk Mongolian community together through sport.
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
It’s a unique, large-scale tournament and is the perfect opportunity to get us together to play again.
How did your team come together?
In its current form, it’s generally people of age with a background in playing. To be honest, there aren’t a lot of us Kalmyk Mongolians here so we all kind of know each other. A few years ago we got back together to compete in some Mongolian Soccer Association of America tournaments, and we’ve been together since.
Can you tell us a bit about the rest of your team?
The rest of the team is comprised of some of my teammates from South Jersey FC, which is one of the top clubs in the CASA Soccer League.
What does soccer mean to your community?
Historically, it’s always been important. Our parents and grandparents were part of some great sides that competed in national tournaments and had a lot of success. It’s in our culture.
Why is soccer important to you personally?
It’s an outlet for creativity and teamwork. What’s better than just hanging around with your friends and playing?
How has soccer made your life better?
I’ll answer this question with a question of my own, could you imagine a life without it?
Why do you think soccer is so popular around the world?
It’s simple and doesn’t require as much equipment compared to other sports. You can practice individually or as a team. It allows for frequent evolution and creativity. It truly is a sport that everyone can relate to in some way.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
Anybody can play and there are all kinds of players of different skillsets. You need players of varying skills to have a team that performs well. In its most basic form it promotes collaboration.
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about Mongolian culture?
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about Mongolia?
The history and how Mongolia helped shape the modern world with its conquests, along with geographically how large it is.