Different cultures unite in soccer


To the Editor:

Martha’s Vineyard is a unique and beautiful place to live and work, which attracts people from all over the world. While people from different socio-economic backgrounds generally don’t have occasion to establish relationships outside of work, there are a few institutions that bring people from different cultures together.

One such institution is the International Federation of Association Football, commonly known as FIFA. This international soccer governing body is so widely respected that it has more member associations (209) than there are countries in the world. Families who immigrate to Martha’s Vineyard to build a better life bring with them cultural traditions. Outside the United States, association football (soccer) is a very strong tradition. It’s no wonder that the Vineyard’s Youth Travel and MVRHS varsity soccer teams are so competitive — despite competing against sometimes larger but less diverse communities. It is the infusion of this international passion for soccer that has helped raise the level of play and increased the success of our Island teams.

Since 2009, local adults over 40 with a love for soccer have come together under the banner of the Vineyard Football Club Masters. The VFC competes in the New England Over The Hill Soccer League, which is one of the largest adult amateur leagues in the country. The VFC, sponsored by Island Copper, is a truly diverse side including players from Brazil, England, Iceland, Ireland, France, and United States. In fact, the VFC player/coach Daniel “Nacho” Vignolo is from a Uruguay, which hosted the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 — which Uruguay won. While each culture plays its own brand of soccer and communication was a bit slow at first, the VFC came to understand each other well enough to score 32 goals this fall season.

The VFC were undefeated in the regular season at 10-0 and have earned a home field advantage in the OTHSL Division 6 Playoff Semi-Finals. The VFC will host Cambridge’s CD Faialense at 11 am on Sunday, November 11, at the MVRHS varsity field. Please come share in the celebration of our Island’s diversity and witness firsthand how people from different cultures can work together toward a common goal. All proceeds from this event will be donated to the MVRHS Soccer Booster Club.

Neal A. Sullivan

Vineyard Haven