New York, NY - While soccer is a game of strategy, it is also the game of passion. Passion… a soccer player's best friend and worst enemy. It can motivate us to become our dreams but it can also become our nightmare.
Even though it may temporarily blind one's judgement & emotions, passion always leaves open the window of adaptability and redemption. That's the beautiful thing about passion.
And with the return of New York City's World Cup, this year's Cosmos Copa NYC 2011 will be full of passion. If last year's finale between Poland and Jamaica was a classic where Poland was declared the winners after winning 5-3 in penalties, imagine how competitive this year's tournament maybe.
Founded in 2009 by Spencer Dormitzer and Chris Noble, this year's summer blockbuster amateur adult soccer tournament formerly recognized as "Copa NYC" will feature 30 New York-based teams representing their countries in their quest of hoisting the Cosmos Cup.
Thirty New York-based teams; 29 Winners and 1 Champion. One team will have their destiny fulfilled while the other 29 destinies is fatally delayed for another year. This is the tournament where cultural borders are broken and mutual respect are forged amongst the teams.
The winning team will be declared the "Cosmos Copa City Champion;" Heroes who their ethnic community can be proud. Even though one team will be declared champion, the other 29 teams will have plenty to be proud off because their participation will help build the tradition of this marvelous tournament.
Along with passion comes commitment. On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, the defending champions, NYC Poland helped kick off this year's Cosmos Copa launch reception at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York.
It was at that event where the representatives of this year's participating teams made a commitment not only to participate in the Cosmos Copa NYC 2011, they agreed to represent their communities.
That was the night where I promised some of the teams that I will learn about the Cosmos Copa through their eyes. So I contacted both Spencer and Chris; the New York Cosmos and told them about my initiative.
They were more than open to the idea and I was provided the paperwork which explains the rules and process in becoming a team. Introductions were made and from there, I spent many Friday Nights and a few Saturdays' and Sundays' watching plenty of soccer.
So what did I learn? I learned that whether you're the Team President, Manager, Coach, or Player, you're making a sacrifice to be part of the team. While the tournament maybe diverse, the DNA structure of each team is diversely fascinating.
If you remove their team titles, you have individuals who are "Nine to Fivers," college students, son's and daughters, parents, husbands & wives who come together from various locations within the Tri-State to become the best team for their community.
In layman terms, they're you and me. Not only are they passionate about soccer, they've also made the commitment to make time for their Country and team. While the professional leagues are entertaining to watch, the real passion comes from us.
If you've ever volunteered or coached a team, you know it's not an easy position. From taking the time to contact their players, submit their Team Application, while maintaining constant communication with players, team administration, and the Cosmos Copa organizers, it's a position that requires many hours and coffee.
The same could be said for the players who are not only committing to their Cosmos Copa team, some are currently competing in their respective leagues while working a full-time job, or attending college, and in the case of some both.
With the tournament kicking off this weekend, twenty-two teams will be competing for the final eight spots so they can compete against the other eight are already qualified. The action begins at 8:30am on Saturday, June 18th at the Parade Grounds in Brooklyn, NY and will conclude on Sunday, June 19th at the College of Staten Island.
The final eight teams from this weekend's Cosmos Copa action will face the already-qualified eight teams in July where from July 9th until the Championship Match on July 24th, the final 16 teams will battle each other at the Corona Park Fields in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
With the training sessions and friendlies have concluded, the action begins this Saturday!
Before Saturday arrives, I wanted to take a moment to thank all 30 Cosmos Copa Teams for allowing me to learn their dedication and sacrifices that they've made. I also want to thank Spencer & Chris of the Cosmos Copa & the New York Cosmos organization for granting me their permission to embark on this journey through my vision.
I especially want to thank the Borough Boys, 5 Points Press, and Chris Dobens of TotalFootBlog.com because the enthusiasm and dedication they've already demonstrated for the "special project" that we're working on is going to be a sure winner.
So if you're in New York City or you plan to visit… please make an effort to support the Cosmos Copa NYC 2011 because this one will be a classic.
To find out if your Country is being represented, please go to www.cosmoscopa.com. You may also follow the latest Cosmos Copa news on Twitter at @CosmosCopa and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cosmoscopa.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press & USSoccerPlayers.com ; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at [email protected] and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.