Do you have a home field where you practice or play regularly?
Ukrainian American Sport Center in Horsham, PA.
What was your favorite moment from last year’s tournament?
Last year’s participation was a great success, and we look forward to building up on that. Top-level amateur soccer with a great network of awesome people to meet. It’s also great to have Ukraine included in the event. The game vs. Puerto Rico was a great experience!
How did your team come together? Can you tell us a bit about the rest of your team?
Many of the guys have been practicing together for years, back in the ‘90s and early 2000s. Our original club, Holland United, was formed where we played three times a week– pickup games all around Philly and now in Richboro, PA. Currently, the club has over 60 active members!
We participate in other leagues, and we will sometimes hold our own one-day tournaments. We played in various leagues in the area, and now we are playing in the United Soccer League of PA, where we have won our division for two consecutive seasons!
What does soccer mean to your community?
We’ve all played soccer all our lives, and soccer is by far the number one sport in Ukraine. It’s a way to stay fit and see friends more often in this busy life. We get our heads away from the day-to-day hustle, meet a lot of great people, and stay connected with our community.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
It is one of the most popular sports, and soccer players have become role models for many kids these days. It has the best fundamental ability to develop kid’s physiology from very early childhood, as they start playing at age 4 or sometimes earlier. It’s a great sport for motivation and fitness, among other things!
With the Unity Cup, it adds the ability to wear pride for your native country, show your culture, and meet so many great people and nations– sometimes even learn about new countries. Very bright idea by our Mayor Jim Kenney.
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about the culture of the country your team represents?
Many places around Northeast Philly– just drive along Bustleton Avenue.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your team’s country?
That we are not part of any other country, but the biggest country on the continental Europe with our own identity, culture, sovereignty, and history. We are a very kind, friendly, and welcoming nation with beautiful land. I can go on and on…