Philadelphia International Unity Cup: USA beats Liberia

This story originally appeared on 6abc

Philadelphia Unity Cup Finals were held on Saturday evening at Lincoln Financial Field.

“It is a the real football, I mean it’s European football,” said Silvana Cela, from Huntingdon Valley.

Before the game a parade was held and a naturalization ceremony took place on the field.

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It was a matchup of Liberia, a long time winner, versus United States.

“They’ve been in all 6 finals if they win this will be their fifth in a row,” said Bill Salvatore, Unity Cup Director.

“All of our guys come from various backgrounds,” said Dean Giovanopoulos, Head Coach, Team USA.

Players say they have enjoyed meeting people from all other nationalities along the ways

“It was a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures and different teams we played as well,” said Nick Sarver, from Lancaster Pennsylvania, playing for USA.

“A lot of Liberians this is our sport this is what we love of course the world loves soccer but Liberia really really loves soccer too,” said Anthony Allison, from Newark, Delaware, playing for Liberia.

The city’s Parks and Rec Department holds the international soccer tournament to unite immigrant communities around Philadelphia. In its 6th year, 48 countries and are now represented. That’s around 1200 players.

“It feels good playing United again bringing an immigrant community together it’s much more than just winning the final to me,” said John Rufus Kortue, Assistant Coach for Liberia.

Over 2,000 spectators came to support the Unity cup even if their country didn’t make it to the final.

“We are proud of the Albanian but to be Albanian American as well,” said Bujar Gjoka, Chariman of Albanian Association Philadelphia.

“I thought like Albania would be here but it’s still fun to watch since I am also American,” said Selma Cela, from Huntingdon Valley.

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In the end team USA won with a 5-3 victory in overtime.

“You hear the music you see the flags you hear the crowd it’s a nice buzz in the air,” said Salvatore.

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