A soccer tournament in August will feature teams made of up migrant workers
By Diego Flammini
A soccer tournament in Norfolk County next month will let migrant workers from Ontario farms showcase their skills in the game they love.
The Farms of Norfolk Football Association Tournament started in 2018 with six teams to integrate migrant farm workers, many who come from countries where soccer is king, to their communities.
“We heard from migrant workers that they wanted to be involved with the year-round residents of Norfolk County and have more social opportunities,” Carrie Sinkowski, the tournament coordinator and community developer at the Community Legal Clinic – Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, told Farms.com. “The feedback we got from everyone after the first tournament was amazing.”
Farmers in Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk employ about 7,000 migrant workers each year.
After a second successful tournament in 2019, which saw the talent pool rise to eight teams, COVID-19 cancelled plans for 2020 and 2021.
“This is our first year back since COVID so we’re pretty excited,” she said.
Nine teams are currently registered for the 2022 tournament.
The tournament is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 14 at the soccer fields at 660 West St. in Simcoe. The games run from 9am to 4pm.
Each team has 16 players, and at least two-thirds, or roughly 10 players, must be agricultural workers.
Team members can be from the same farm, multiple farms, or interested individual players can be placed on a team. Norfolk residents can also join a team if it needs a few extra players.
Each team receives jerseys and balls, and professional referees oversee each game.
The passion for soccer is evident during the games, Sinkowski said. “A lot of the players are very skilled. And everyone wants to win. There’s definitely a competitive edge on the field.”
Organizers added to the tournament this year to attract more spectators.
A bouncy castle, face painting, food trucks and DJs will be on site.
“We want more people to come out and support the players,” Sinkowski said. “Everything except the food trucks is free, so we’d like to have everyone come out, grab a bite to eat and watch some great soccer.”
Anyone looking for additional information can visit the Farms of Norfolk Football Association Tournament’s Facebook page or email email@example.com