THE REDEEMER CUP
If you asked us to point you towards an event that best represents Utica, we’d probably suggest you spend a day at the Redeemer Cup. Hosted by the Redeemer Church with help from the refugee center, MVRCR, lots of local sponsors, and a whole pile of volunteers, the Cup pits refugee soccer teams against one another in an all out 3-day tournament. Food trucks representing all the great cuisines Utica’s refugees and immigrants brought with them surround the 4 fields of play. Adam and I used to work on a show for MLS (the American soccer league) so we can assure you, the quality of play is good. But as Pastor Paul Schilling, organizer in chief, would rush to tell you, “That’s not really what this is about. It’s about getting the various ethnic groups in Utica together.” Last year’s final featured a Kenyan team against a Karen Burmese team. Despite the number of games each had already played, the competition was fierce. The African team won and then we got to see what the Cup is all about: tired players of all different ethnicities clapping one another on the back: the mutual appreciation that fuels the city. Nice.