Today is World Refugee Day in Milwaukee and also the date for the final of the MKE Refugee Soccer Tournament, which kicks off at South Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
This year, the Refugee Final is being held on Monday, June 20, under the lights at the new South Stadium between One World and United Kings. One World is a mixture of many different ethnic groups, while United Kings is a team composed of primarily young Karen refugees of Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. Milwaukee Soccer Development Group (MSDG) has organized various soccer events and with the city's help would love to help build one around this match to create a very special atmosphere for both sets of teams.
The tournament started on June 4th and included players from over a dozen countries who spoke more than two dozen languages! Countries included Myanmar (Burma), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Thailand, Congo, Laos, Malaysia, Somalia, and even Mexico to name a few. Some of the languages overheard included Karen, Chin (a few different dialects), Karenni, Tigrinya, Hmong, Maay May, Somali, Burmese, Spanish and a lot of English.
MSDG is challenging the community to support and attend this match in force to prove to everybody the true power and impact of soccer by supporting the players. It's going to be a warm Monday night in Milwaukee with over 500 people expected in attendance, and the players are very excited to be playing in front of such of a large crowd of soccer fans.
MSDG is only promoting the final. The Wisconsin Department of Children & Families is sponsoring the event, Milwaukee World Refugee Day 2016, in partnership with Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, UMOS, International Institute of Wisconsin, Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities.