PATCHOGUE, N.Y. – On Saturday, August 12th the 9th Annual “Play for Peace” Tournament was held at the Patchogue-Medford Youth Soccer League’s fields on Sipp Avenue. More than 500 players, spectators, coaches and volunteers came together to participate in the tournament that encourages togetherness in the community.
“This year’s tournament was a tremendous success,” stated Deputy Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. “In a terrible coincidence, as we played on Saturday the terrible events in Charlottesville unfolded as America watched. I helped organize the first soccer tournament after the tragic death of Marcelo Lucero. After I was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature, I felt it was important to continue the tradition of unity in the name of sportsmanship in our community. This year the tournament took on new meaning and is a reminder that we all must work to end racism in our communities. Hate is not welcome here. We must continue to play for peace and fight bigotry in all its forms each and every day.”
Deputy Presiding Officer Calarco first organized the tournament in 2009 in response to the murder of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero, while he was an aide to Legislator Jack Eddington. Since then it has grown to include women’s teams. In 2013, the tournament first included a “champion’s dinner,” donated by local restaurants and where the players all have a chance to sit together and eat when the games are finished.
“I am proud the host this tournament every year and I happy to see many returning and new faces from the soccer playing community,” stated Deputy Presiding Officer Calarco. “I want to thank the Patchogue-Medford Youth Soccer League for their partnership. I also want to thank the committee of dedicated volunteers who work all year to make this event as success.” Volunteers from St. Francis de Sales spent the day tending to the players and serving dinner after the games.
This year’s funds will be donated to Long Island Head Start’s scholarship program. Corporate sponsors of the event include Gershow Recycling, Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, TriTec Real Estate, Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, Suffolk Transportation Service and Bridgehampton National Bank. Coca-Cola donated 40 cases of Dasani Water and Powerade to keep the players hydrated. More than 30 local businesses and restaurants sponsored individual teams or donated food to the dinner.