Saskatchewan

Soccer tournament aims to keep immigrant youth on good path

A soccer tournament organized by the Regina Youth Immigrant Sports Development Centre is happening in Regina. Organizers want to use sports to keep youth off the streets and also provide a space to showcase the soccer players' talents.

Regina's first Integration Cup is underway

One of eight teams participating in the 2016 Integration Cup at the QC Soccer Facility. (Mahdi Mohamud/Tournament organizer)

A large group of Regina's immigrant community is cheering loudly this week at the QC Soccer Facility for the first ever Integration Cup.

The four-day soccer tournament has been a work in progress for the Regina Youth Immigrant Sports Development Centre.

"We have youth willing to expose their talents," said tournament organizer Mustafa Khassim.

I don't want to see a young talented kid who could have been something for Saskatchewan remain in the streets.- Mustafa Khassim

According to Khassim, there was a lot of interest in the tournament and some teams had to be turned away due to the size of the venue.

Khassim, who moved to Canada from Somalia five years ago, said activities like the Integration Cup are needed for immigrants.  

"We have to spend our time and resources with the youth," said Khassim.

"I don't want to see a young talented kid who could have been something for Saskatchewan remain in the streets."

Games free of charge

Khassim started thinking about a soccer tournament last spring and said the community really latched on to the idea.

The entire staff of the tournament are volunteers and all games are free of charge.

Khassim said many talented players are in Saskatchewan and most of them don't make it to university. He wants to use this tournament as a starting point to build a space for those players.

"We need another centre for developing the talents of the youth. I want to bring that issue into my agenda, I want to help the youth."

The tournament is taking place at the QC Soccer Facility located at 1560A McDonald Street and games are from 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. CST with the final game happening Friday evening.

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