Does your country have a saying/slogan?
Glory to Ukraine – Glory to the Heroes.
Can you tell us about your team’s makeup? How did your team come together?
Many of the guys have been practicing together for years, back in the late ’90s/early 2000s. Our original club Holland United was formed where we played 3 times a week, pick-up games all around Philly and now in Richboro, PA (as part of Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals, Major II). Currently, the club has over 60 active members! We participate in other leagues and sometimes we 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, which we have won our division for 3 consecutive seasons!
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
It is one of the most popularized 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—they start playing at age 4, sometimes earlier! Great sport 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 new countries for some people. 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?
There are many places around Northeast Philly, just drive along Bustleton Ave. and you will see many restaurants and stores! Also: Ukrainian American Sport Center (Tryzub) in Horsham, PA (Lower State & County Line Rd.), Ukrainian League of Philadelphia (800 N. 23rd St., Philadelphia, PA), and The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center (700 N. Ceder Rd., Jenkintown, PA 19046).
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 kind, friendly, and welcoming nation with the beautiful land.