Chicago KICS Cup: "Soccer is the international language of the world. It will unite us once again this year."
(if needed): Football freestyle, more than 120 teams playing and thousands fans of soccer will celebrate together like never before
Petya Kertikova/ Marin Kostov/ Bulgarian International Television (BiT Chicago)
For a third year in a row, Chicago KICS Cup will unite fans of the world’s most popular sport with people from all ages and ethnicities. The event will be a special celebration for kids who come from five different continents to compete and have fun playing their favorite game.
But before we talk about the tournament, let's first talk more about the magic of soccer and how it captivates everyone – from founders to players. "There is no other way to bring everyone but through the language of soccer,” Matt Miller, one of the co-founders of the competition and a former professional soccer player, says. “Soccer is the international language of the world. Literally everyone plays soccer.”
This year's event is special to Miller because the Chicago KICS Cup is expanding its family. The competition will have twice as many teams joining compared to 60 teams last year.
”The proudest moment for me last year of the tournament was seeing all the smiles, the smiles of the children,” Miller said. “They are in their countries for 51 weeks of the year and whatever happens during that one week here, this experience is theirs forever. When children are on the field, they can be free. The smiles that I saw last year were a very rewarding part of the tournament and, I guess, ultimately, [this is] one of the biggest things that we want to achieve. We want everyone to experience that cultural exchange and diversity. There are no boundaries. Teams are coming in. You can put aside your differences, come and play the game of soccer and enjoy the experience all together," Miller added smiling, his voice full of excitement.
Chicago KICS Cup kicks off on July 21 and ends on July 26. The grand opening ceremony is scheduled for July 19 and will be held at the Millennium Park in the city. Girls and boys between 8 and 16 years of age from all over the world will take part. The organizers are promising lots of fun, many awards, an unforgettable experience and many cherished moments.
The people behind the KICS Cup work with numerous sponsors, friends and supporters of soccer who are all united by one goal – to play the beautiful game. “Here in the US and especially in Chicago, we have a tremendous backup from the mayor of Chicago. We thank him for all of his support and his team who are behind us, we have over 100 people working with our team here directly and overseas. One of our major partners is “3-D World”, but let me start with Coca-Cola. Their support was fantastic last year; their mission fits what we are trying to do … to basically engage the youth of the world through peace and bring everyone together through one common language which is soccer," Miller further explained.
If you think you will only see kids playing soccer and parents enjoying being outside, think again. "This year we are doing something really special,” Tina Feldstein, director of special events at the KICS Cup, said. For the very first time this year, another competition inside the KICS Cup tournament – the Freestyle Football National Championship – will take place during the opening ceremony.
"The Championship will be held right there, at our opening ceremony starting with the top 16 players. Everything will be happening on the stage. We will have a musical performance from one of our fantastic international musicians and then we will have a tournament right on the stage. With the opening event on July 19th, we hope to invite the world which includes not only all of those neighborhood teams, local teams, regional teams from the United States, but teams from around the world and of course so many of our ethnic communities in Chicago. Hopefully these people will come and be proud of their nations and help us to celebrate the world at the opening. The magic comes when all these different people from around the world come together for one reason - for peace through soccer," Feldstein said.
Sixteen freestyle soccer players from all over America will be competing on a national level in the heart of KICS Cup. This kind of soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Some of the most famous players, such as Lionel Messi from Argentina Neymar and Ronaldinho from Brazil, are working with the Freestyle Football Federation. In the coming days, soccer and freestyle will meet and become one celebration for all.
“It's a great stage for our sport because we are talking to a huge audience, families, and young people,” the president of the federation in America (F3), Daniel Wood, said. “We hope we can start educating them about the lifestyle around freestyle as well. But we also believe that we are going to bring some great content that is going to really add something very exciting and unique to the Kics Cup," he added..
For more information and for a complete list of the events, please visit the official Chicago Kics Cup site at www.kicscup.org.