What is your name and home field location?
Mick Huynh. We do not have a home field, but we play regularly at a recreation center around 4600 Cottage Street. Our team usually comes together to play on Tuesday and Thursdays.
Note: Mick is responsible for bringing the Vietnamese team together!
What is your connection to Vietnam?
Vietnam was where I was born. Growing up, soccer was the sport that we valued and played the most.
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
Nationally, Vietnam has never made it to the World Cup. We wanted to participate in the Unity Cup to bring awareness to our beautiful country. We also wanted to get to know all the nationalities represented in Philly. No matter where you are from, we have the same passion in soccer. That is the beauty of the Unity Cup.
As a returning team, what was your favorite moment from last year’s tournament?
Our last game against Senegal. We were originally leading, 2-0. We fought and played our hearts out, but unfortunately, we lost. Another memorable moment was the parade in the stadium where we got to represent Vietnam.
How did your team come together?
Basically, I’ve been playing soccer in the tri-state area for 20 years now. I hosted soccer tournaments before because it was a way to get the community to be more social and active. With the tournaments, I could recruit more players for the Unity Cup.
Can you tell us a bit about the rest of your team?
Our team has been together for a few years now. Our players range from the ages of 18 to 34.
What does soccer mean to your community?
Today, we can see how technology affects our lives and the lives of our kids. Some parents work long hours, and with their busy schedules, kids these days turn towards technology. To me, soccer is a way to get the kid out of the house. Soccer is great exercise for everyone, which helps boost your health, your energy, and your life overall.
Why is soccer important to you personally?
Personally, soccer is the sport I love the most. Soccer is my hobby and it keeps me active. I was born in Vietnam with very little means. I didn’t have the means to get a real soccer ball. I had to make my own with hay. I would literally do anything to play soccer.
How has soccer made your life better?
Soccer keeps me busy and active. Staying active in soccer gives me a positive outlook on life. It encourages me to create friends in and outside of my community.
Why do you think soccer is so popular around the world?
People love the sport. It’s a part of their culture and lifestyle.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
The Unity Cup, like soccer, promotes unity. No matter where you come from, soccer brings people together. This is such a positive event.
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about Vietnamese culture?
There are so many Vietnamese restaurants in Philadelphia. I would recommend for everyone to try Pho, which is the most popular dish. For Pho, go to Pho Xe Lua Viet Thai on 9th and Race in Chinatown or Nam Phuong on 11th and Washington Avenue. For those that like Pho Ga (Chicken Pho), Thanh Thanh Cafe in Kensington is your spot!
Bánh mì is a common dish in Vietnam, too. Try QT Vietnamese Sandwich in Chinatown between Filbert and Arch Streets.
I also want to share this song written for the Vietnamese that escaped the country after war in 1975.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about Vietnam?
For most people, the only Vietnamese flag they know is the one with the giant yellow star in the middle of a red flag. However, this flag is not a true representation of the Vietnamese community. For our community, we honor the flag dating back to 1949 with the three red stripes on a yellow flag. Sadly, this flag was discontinued in 1975 when communism took over our country. We are still trying to keep the yellow flag with red stripes alive everywhere we go.