What is your name, country you represent, and home field?
My name is Gin Sum, representing the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma). Our home field is Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia, and we also use Murphy Park as a secondary field too.
How did you hear about the Unity Cup?
I heard about it from a friend, who happened to have received the invitation email from Hani White, the Deputy Director of Immigrant Affairs at the City of Philadelphia.
What were your initial impressions of the Unity Cup?
I was excited to be a part of it and be able to participate as a team playing against another national team.
Why are you passionate about soccer?
It’s my favorite of all sports, followed by Table Tennis and Chess. I’ve grown up playing soccer shoeless on the sidewalk with friends from the neighborhood. I also like the sport because it teaches you how teamwork functions and how to be closer to teammates.
What is your connection to the team you are playing for?
Every player came from Myanmar a few years ago; we are the first generation group of Burmese refugee youths here in Philadelphia. It’s our motherland.
Is there someone you identify with as they biggest influence in your community, either through soccer or in some other way?
Dai Lai Htoo plays an important role in both the committee and the team as well. He leads the Karen (ethnic group) community in so many different ways and is a great advocate for students too. He will be our 2nd goalie and the team is grateful to have him.
Is there someone in your community you look up to?
Zing is a mother of 4 kids, but she never lets the Burmese community down just because of her busy schedule and chores for her family. She works at SEAMAAC as an outreach coordinator, but everyone knows she always goes the extra mile, helping the families who are in need of social services.
What do you love about living in Philadelphia?
100 years ago, Reverend Cope from Second Baptist Church of Germantown came to Chin State in Burma for missionary work, translated the Bible and showed us the light. It’s a blessing to be living in the town where he came from originally. Almost every community member lives closely, and it feels like back home hearing people talking in their language on the street. Philly has wonderful transportation, and my favorite part is all the ethnic foods that are cheap.
Do you participate in other leagues or tournaments?
No, we don’t participate in any leagues in the city, but some team members often played at a few tournaments that are out of State.
Can you provide a tagline or quote for your community/team?
Alertness and courage are life’s shield.
Where do you get your information?
Mostly on Facebook, and I just started using Twitter as a newbie. We don’t have any official community organization yet, unfortunately.
How are you promoting your team? How are you bringing the team together?
We have a Facebook group and use Viber or text messages to communicate, and have formed a committee to steer the coaches and support the players. The team meets every weekend for practice at FDR Park.
If someone wanted to learn more about your team and cultural heritage where they go?
Rangoon Restaurant at 112 N 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Golden Triangle Restaurant at 610 S 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147