By: Neewilli Saie
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
Soccer is a passion in the Ivorian community, so participation in the Unity Cup was a no-brainer! We love soccer!
What was your favorite moment from last year’s tournament?
My favorite moment was our quarterfinal game vs. Sierra Leone. Although we lost, the boys were very gracious in defeat, and they developed a hunger that I believe will propel us to the finals this year.
How did your team come together?
Most of our guys already play together at club level for Junior Lone Stars.
Can you tell us a bit about the rest of your team?
Our team is full of passionate but respectful guys. They love and cherish the opportunity to compete in the Unity Cup.
What does soccer mean to your community?
Soccer means a lot to our community. It provides an opportunity for guys to do what they’ve loved since childhood. It’s also a nostalgic tool for guys to think back on their lives back home in Africa.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
The Unity Cup is a great way to meet other soccer enthusiasts from other countries. We have made so many acquaintances and friends because of the tournament.
What places or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about the culture of the country your team represents?
There are several African restaurants on Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia that serve food and provide great ambiance from Ivory Coast.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your team’s country?
Ivory Coast has some of the most pristine and renowned beaches in the world. Grand Bassam, for example, is a very busy tourist spot that’s frequently visited by ex-pats.