Soccer is taking over the weekend and UH fields in the second annual UH Mini World Cup.
UH is hosting the event for both community and student soccer players and fans from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in fields located behind UH’s Wellness and Recreation Center.
Jose Pablo Ramirez, a finance student and the president of the Latin American Students Association, is one of the main organizers of the event.
“We encourage everyone to come out and cheer for their teams. There is no admission charge and food will be sold at the event,” Ramirez said.
Organizers are expecting over 250 people to show up and have “more than enough room” to accommodate more.
“It comes about as a combined effort of three different school associations at UH to put on a fun event for the international community at UH,” Ramirez said.
Associations involved with the mini world cup include LASA, the Brazilian-Portuguese Association and the Armenian Student Association.
Silva Gevorkyan, president of the Armenian Student Association, is friends with Gustavo Chamusca, president of the Brazilian-Portuguese Student Association, and said they had always wanted to organize an event together.
“As we are both passionate soccer fans, Gustavo told me he had always wanted to organize a World Cup event and it sounded like an exciting idea,” Gevorkyan said.
“It took us some time to formally begin organizing the event, but with help from LASA and BPSA members, we were able to pull off a great event,” Gevorkyan said.
The event will provide entertainment not only for the players but also for the fans, Ramirez said.
“The UH mini world cup is an event that takes the global appeal of soccer and uses it to make an event that celebrates what makes us alike,” he said.
“It is a way to promote understanding by stressing what an international community has in common: soccer.”
Besides soccer, the event will include other things that students and Houstonians will enjoy.
“We will have raffles going on that will give away prizes like a soccer ball signed by the Dynamo players,” he said.
Organizers also will hand out charts for people to fill out with their bracket prediction, which they see as a good way to get fans to take part in the whole tournament.
The first day will be the group phase of the tournament, where teams will play against group rivals and try to qualify for the elimination round.
The elimination round will be on Sunday and will end with the final.
Highlights for this year include the return of many of last year’s teams ready to face off again for the new grand prize, Ramirez said.
Another highlight will be the appearance of the Dynamo marketing team, which will bring their tent full of Dynamo memorabilia.
Last year’s tournament gave the main organizers — Ramirez, Gevorkyan, Chamusca and ASA member Araz Sarkissian — a sense of pride and provided inspiration for this year’s event.
“You can’t imagine the pride we felt when we saw how successful the tournament turned out to be, which is why, as (Ramirez) said, we gained confidence to organize an even bigger tournament for this year.”