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Dayton World Soccer Games Return

City of Dayton
The Olhmann Group

Soccer fever swept around the globe in June during the World Cup playoffs. At the time, many local businesses saw a positive economic impact as fans gathered in restaurants and bars to watch the tournament.

On Friday and Saturday, world soccer is back—at least in the Miami Valley—as players from Dayton’s immigrant communities take to the field.

City of Dayton Youth Services Director Joe Parlette says the games were born out of the Welcome Dayton initiative.

“[Welcome Dayton] really was just a public statement saying that Dayton is going to be, and be conscious and deliberate about being, an immigrant and refugee friendly city,” Parlette said.

Twenty-eight teams, including nine adult teams, have signed on to compete this year, and Parlette expects an increase in spectators.

“So, its really fun for us to come together as a community," he said. "Celebrate our differences doing the same thing that most of the world enjoys, which is soccer.”

Dayton’s immigrant population is about 4 percent but growing because of war and violence in Syria, Somalia, Iraq and other places.

The Dayton World Soccer games kick off Friday night at Action Sports Center in Dayton, when firefighters and police go head-to-head in a scrimmage match, followed by a 'parade of nations.'

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.