A new event has kicked off at this year’s Manitoba Summer Fair. Eight indoor soccer teams have begun the round-robin games for the first Mayor’s International Cup.
"It’s a something about soccer," said Ukraine player Igor Lytvynyuk. "Everything is usually about hockey and it is great to have an event about soccer in Brandon."
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst watched Ukraine play against Ireland in Thursday’s first game.
"Soccer is hugely popular with a lot of our newcomers to Brandon and Canada," Decter Hirst said. "There is not many opportunities like this in Brandon or the province. It is a great new addition."
Despite being named the Mayor’s International Cup, Decter Hirst said that she was not a big part of the planning process. The cup was organized by the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba to be part of this year’s Summer Fair festivities.
"I am trying to see as many round-robin games as I can make it to," Decter Hirst said. "I want to be able to know how each team is before the playoffs."
The organizers approached local soccer teams to recruit teams for the event.
Each team is named for one of the team that will be competing in the FIFA World Cup starting next week.
One requirement of the teams is that at least one team member be of the descent of the country they are representing.
Team Ukraine has only one player who is not Ukrainian.
"We play together in a league on Saturdays," Lytvynyuk said. "It was an easy decision to sign up for this tournament."
Similarly team Ireland players are also in a league during the year, but not from the same team. Canada is being represented by the Assiniboine Community College varsity men’s team.
Round-robin games continue today at 5:30 p.m. and playoffs will kick off Saturday at 2 p.m.