ISA soccer tournament encourages international interactions

December 18, 2009

by Quentin Anderson

The International Student Association hosted an indoor soccer tournament at the Maxie Lambright Intramural Center on Dec. 10-12.

Of the eight teams that participated in the event, the final showdown pitted the Toasty Toasts against Hip Hop. In a dramatic double-overtime round which was decided by a penalty shot, the Toasty Toasts finally took control of the game and won the tournament’s final round.

Bishal Basynat, ISA vice president and a senior biomedical engineering major, said the tournament’s purpose is modeled after the International Federation of Association Football’s goal of uniting a diverse range of people through athletics.

“The main purpose of soccer is to unite people from different nations,” Basynat said. “Our main objective of this tournament was to carry that very tradition. People from different nations participated. Teams included Americans and international students, and I must say we accomplished our goal.”

Basynat said participants hailed from countries like Nepal, Nigeria, Honduras, France and Saudi Arabia, making the event what he called a “global spectacle.”

“I think we brought international students together,” Basynat said. “But we also were able to interact with American students as well. Thus, this event helped strengthen the bond between both international students as well as American players.”

Normally, the organization’s largest endeavor is the International Student Office’s International Scholarship Dinner.

However the weekend soccer tournament was one of the ISA’s biggest events this year with 64 participants and a large crowd of students, ISA members and volunteers to support and cheer on the tournament’s teams.

Pratik KC, ISA sports director and a junior mechanical engineering major, was also impressed with the diverse participation in the event and said he hopes the soccer tournament will be the first of many similar events this year.

“[The tournament] helped us to intermix, exchange views and create new friends,” KC said. “Hence, such events should be organized so as to keep this same spirit alive. We are planning to organize more sports tournaments like volleyball, ping pong, cricket, badminton and many more if possible.”

Sujal Acharya, a freshman civil engineering student who also participated in the weekend’s tournament, said he agreed that events like the ISA’s soccer tournament are a perfect place to meet new people from different countries.

“As the event was organized by the ISA and since the event involved many international students, I was determined to help make this event a success,” Acharya said. “In the end, the experience was priceless.”