What is your name and home field location?
Konstantinos “Dino” Thomazos, I am the players’ captain. We play and practice at various fields in Delco, PA.
What is your connection to Greece?
A lot of us were born in Greece and we learned the game there, some others are the children of Greek immigrants that were inspired by their parents to pick up soccer as their sport of choice. Personally, I learned to play soccer in the parks and streets of Athens. Together with the other guys on the team we have played together, against each other; we are going to the same churches and see each other at various social events. In the end we Greeks tend to unite in common purpose and we see representing Greece in the Unity Cup as our common purpose right now.
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
The tournament, all the events, and everything that goes on with it is a really great opportunity for all the communities to come together and mingle, to make friends and make relationships. I think that’s the key here. Getting to know other people, getting everyone from across the world to speak together, I think it’s a great thing. That’s probably the best reason why we’re in the tournament: making friends, and trying to adapt to their ways and their culture and understand it. Plus, soccer makes it fun. It’s an international sport.
How did your team come together?
We were very excited when we heard that we were in the Unity Cup. Our team spawned out of the players that participate in our pick-up games. Also, our coaches Chris and Paul and a lot of our players play in various leagues in the area. We put the word out and our guys answered the call.
What does soccer mean to your community?
Besides a sport, it is a social event too. It’s an opportunity to catch up with the people that you have not seen for a while.
Why is soccer important to you personally?
I learned from it, it instills discipline where it is needed; it forms my opinion of power, athleticism, ability, fairness, charity, honesty, speed of thought, and helps shape one’s character.
How has soccer made your life better?
Apart from the fact that playing sports is good for you physically and mentally, all the lessons that you get in sports can be applied to real life as well. I’ve made decisions based on those resources. Soccer gives you resources to become a champion and by going through the process life improves.
Why do you think soccer is so popular around the world?
Soccer is considered a game for the masses elsewhere in the world. This could be because you don’t need much to play: a ball and a few markers for the goals, maybe, and a few kids trying to imitate the idols they watch on TV.
Also, the euphoria in anticipation of a big game combined with the local and international rivalries tends to attract a huge following to the sport as well.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
Any time people as diverse as the participants of this tournament can get together on occasions like the Unity Cup, they use soccer as a common language to bond together, to interact with each other, and to accommodate their soccer needs. They will then cherish the relationships that soccer helped create and a lot of times move on to deal with each other in other aspects of life as well. Other sports have this ability as well, but because soccer is universally popular it is unique in that it attracts people from more diverse backgrounds.
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about Greek culture?
A great place to learn about Greece in general, and Greeks in the Philadelphia area in particular, would be the pages of The Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia.