«Cup of Nations» Third Soccer Tournament took place in Houston

Goal! We got scored on!

Goal! We got scored on!

It happened on «Cup of Nations» Soccer Tournament. During two April weekends 20-21 and 28th 2012 my husband and I went to Houston to participated in Third Annual Soccer Tournament took place in Houston Baptist University (HBU).

Open Ceremony

I was born and raise in Europe where we love a football. In the USA it is called soccer. Actually I am not a soccer player. Both of us, me and my husband, are journalists and we did media coverage of the event. Before I present you with the summary of the event, I want to share about the weather. On the way to Houston, on April 19th, the heavy rain started. Instead of 4 hours of driving we had 8.5 hours stop and go travel. We tired a lot.

But the next morning, around 8 am, we were in a gym. We didn’t want to miss the Open Ceremony. Thirty four nations who participated in the Tournament entered the gym caring the flags of their countries. The students of HBU opened the Ceremony singing the National Anthem of the USA. Before the «Cup of Nations» was started, a lot of guest from famous sport Christians missions congratulated the participating teams. Sixteen teams participated in the Tournament. Part of them were first time players, but most of the teams were “Cup of Nations” Tournament veterans.

I want to tell you about the fans. They were so active, loud and soccer friends. For example, Argentina and Mexico fans were following their players during all three days of the Tournament. Iraqi fans were screaming a lot in their language. Russia teams were supported by their fans, “Go, Russia! Go, Russia! Go, Russia!”.


The first part of Tournament was dribbling competition, when representatives from each teams were doing incredible things with a ball. Iraqi player did it better than others. He was a winner. After dribbling there was a lottery. Player from Jordan team won a 32” plasma TV.

Finally, the Soccer Tournament started. Sixteen teams wanted to win the Tournament. These teams were from Bosnia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Nepal and other countries. Sixteen national characters were on a field, sixteen different styles of soccer became a gift from teams to fans. I enjoyed a lot Thailand’s games. The players from Thailand are short, small, but they beat the Mexico team and other stronger teams.

Unfortunately, not only football took place in HBU. Some conflict situations happened on a fields. I don’t like that part of the Tournament. But what I like it is the way one the organizers (his name is Serge Khripunov, he and his family are refugees from Uzbekistan) put down the fire.

Serge Khripunov

Parts of the Adult Tournament were Kids Football Games on April 22. Children were enjoying the soccer games more than their parents.

Kids Football Games

On April 28 a half time of Tournament took place. For third place Azerbaijan and Iraq teams played. Iraq team won. The runner up was a Argentina team. Actually three players who played for Argentina are from Saudi Arabia.

The Ecuador team become the winner. It surprised almost everybody in the Soccer Tournament. But Ecuador team showed a real, strong and beautiful Latin American’s style of football.

The Ecuador team become the winner

Watching the final game in the small gym, I felt myself like a real football fan at the huge ten thousand people stadium.

What I liked most about “Cup of Nations” are funny moments, like this (see in a picture). Definitely, mini-football is not a ballet, but some times it is.

Mini-football is not a ballet, but some times it is

Ludmila Taran

Photo by Serge Taran

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