Dayton World Soccer Games Return
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.'