Champion Malagasy soccer team to compete in Nashville International Cup this weekend
By Janel Shoun-Smith on 5/30/2012
Nashville International Cup
Saturday, June 9, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free kids’ activities at 1:30 p.m.
June 1-2 RESULTS
Andy Randriamanohisoa (’12)
Rado Rambinintsoa (’12)
Tamby Rakotoarilina (’12)
Mendrika Ramarlina (’12)
Joel Randrianamolomamonjy (’12)
Mava Ralafiarindaza (’12)
Leonard Razafimamenolily (’12)
Yannick Antonin (’12)
Josh Simmons, student
Josh Kelly, student
Clint Rider, student
Stefano”AJ” Bacciocchi, student
Rob Randolph, student
Barat Hama, alumni
Matt Eby, member of
Casey Woodling, former
Coach Kevin Burk, Lipscomb University assistant soccer coach
- See photos of the team
- See a video about 2011 tournament
- Read more about the Malagasy students
- Learn about the Nashville International Cup
See the article in theTennessean
Update! The Malagasy team swept the preiminary games at the Nashville International Cup this weekend and will head on to the championship games June 8-9. Here are the scores from this weekend:
The semi-fnal games begin on Friday, June 8, at 4 p.m., and the Malagasy semi-final game begins at 8:30 p.m. If the Malagasy team makes it to the finals, they will play at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9.
They are one of the best-kept secrets at Lipscomb University: international soccer stars who walk among the undergraduate students on campus. They even accepted their diplomas this May with little fanfare.
These soccer superstars are several of the Malagasy students, who graduated in May, and who play on an amateur soccer team that last year won the Nashville International Cup.
The four-year-old Nashville International Cup is an amateur soccer tournament organized by InterFACE Ministries that brings 250 local international players from 24 countries together to play soccer for personal pride and glory.
This year’s tournament finals will be held this weekend, on June 8-9, and Lipscomb University is sponsoring the return of the reigning champions: the team from Madagascar, featuring eight Malagasy alumni and five current Lipscomb students.
The tournament games, to be played at the Montgomery Bell Academy Soccer Stadium, are all open to the public. Teams from Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Asia, Iraq, Kurdistan, Congo and other nations will join the Madagascar team to vie for victory.
“The international players are all a mix,” said Rob Vaughn, a minister with InterFACE Ministries who established the cup tournament after becoming involved in pick-up soccer games with some local Sudanese refugees. “They include Japanese businessmen, international students, refugees and immigrants. That is the beauty of soccer: it is a game that can bring them all together.”
This year, teams are sponsored by nine churches, four universities and two language schools, Vaughn said.
The Malagasy team has played in three of InterFACE’s tournaments, winning the last two they participated in: the 2011 Nashville International Cup and a special tournament organized for Nashville’s 10 Days of Peace leading up to the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedies.
Click here to see a video featuring the Malagasy team being awarded its trophy in 2011.
Because it was not feasible for Lipscomb’s 26 Malagasy students to return home each summer due to finances and security, most of them lived on the campus throughout the summer. And if they weren’t taking classes, campus life can get a little dull. So several of the Malagasy students began playing a lot of soccer during those months, said Rado Rambinintsoa, one of the Malagasy alumni involved on the team.
Click here to read more about Lipscomb’s Malagasy students.
As they hunted for soccer fields at sites around town, they met a lot of other international Nashville residents who loved soccer and knew about InterFACE ministries, said Rado, a computer engineering graduate. So in 2010, an informal group of Malagasy students and their friends played in the Nashville International Cup. They won three games, but as their team was not as large at that point, most of their team had to leave by the time the finals came around.
In 2011, the Lipscomb soccer nuts practiced their moves at campus intramural soccer games. Rado’s Nashville host family became involved in playing and cheering the team on, and Lipscomb assistant soccer coach Kevin Burk began to support the team. The Office of Global Engagement sponsored the Malagasy team in the 2011 tournament.
“I have 5- and 7-year-old sons, and my 5-year-old just loves Rado and the Malagasy team. Madagascar is HIS team. In fact, my son jumped up to give them the trophy in 2011,”says Vaughn. “That’s how this tournament works. It helps the team members to find a family here, like the Malagasys being adopted by my son. The people from the churches become their families while they are here.”
Indeed, one of the reasons the Malagasy students enjoy playing soccer games at the tournament and throughout the year is because it reminds them so much of home, said Rado. “In Madagascar, it’s something we do every day after school. Playing in the tournament, it’s like being at home. And it’s also neat to hear all the different languages spoken on the field,” he said.
It’s fun that Nashvillians and internationals from other nations get to learn a little bit about Madagascar, Rado said. “Even though we are all different, and you hear a lot of different perspectives of America, soccer is what we all have in common. On the field we are all the same,” he said.
In 2012, the admissions department is sponsoring the team, which will head into the semi-final round on Friday, June 8 at 8:30 p.m.
On Saturday, June 9, the tournament will hold soccer activities for kids starting at 1:30 p.m. The championship match will be that day at 3:30 p.m.
To learn more about the Nashville International Cup click here.
About InterFACE Ministries
InterFACE Ministries is a nonprofit educational, Christian organization which networks international students and scholars with culturally sensitive Americans who enjoy cross-cultural friendships and the open exchange of ideas. Just as computers need to interface in order to communicate, people from around the world should be encouraged to connect with one another to learn more about our world and the Creator.