Categorized | Community

Viva G.O.A – Are you Ready for an Indoor Soccer Tournament?

Posted on 31 August 2009 by .

Goan Overseas Association (G.O.A) is a cultural organization that works to preserve the Goan culture throughout GTA.  I talked with Roland Mascarenhas, the youth coordinator of Viva Goa, to enlighten me on Goan culture as well as the organization that he has been working with. This non-profit organization was established in 1970 to help people immigrating to Toronto to settle down. Now they have an executive team of about 23 members efficiently running the organization.  Having about 15-20 thousand Goans living in Toronto, Roland says that it created a community in GTA and a cultural organization, which has subsequently been growing ever since.

One of the biggest events organized by them is Viva Goa, which is partly a soccer tournament and partly a cultural show. With an attendance of more than 7000 people in North York they have attracted media coverage from City TV, CBC Radio and several different media organizations. To make the event a success about 400 volunteers dedicate their time every year at Viva Goa.

Talking about the soccer tournament, Roland mentions that the membership fee to participate in the tournament is 225 dollars per team if 75% of your team has Goan members and $285 if less than 75% of the team is Goan. This comes to about a rough estimate of $25 per member that guarantees 3 games, free entrance as well as invitation to the official after party. They have 4 fields for their soccer tournament. Also, they will be using a brand new facility at Alpin soccer center. Roland mentions that when they started the indoor soccer facilities within Toronto were scarce but now they have grown up to 30-40 facilities, “Viva Goa is huge and its been running for 10 years. It has really blossomed since then, as indoor soccer has grown so has this event.”

In Viva Goa, all ages are welcome to take part although the average age is 17-23 years old. Roland explains that the age group is diverse as well but the teenagers are a bit shy to come out.

Talking about the interest South Asians show in soccer, he explains that the assumption that South Asians are only involved in cricket is fallacious, “When I went to India, West Bengal, Calcutta, even Punjab are major hub for soccer. It’s no different here os majority of my friends that are Punjabi play soccer and are very attracted to it or get involved in it. But they don’t necessarily have the same resources or don’t know very much about it.”

Although Viva Goa typically has Goan teams, G.O.A is trying to incorporate different South Asian teams as well.  He also explains that it is not necessary to be a Goan to participate in the events. G.O.A believes in diversity and multiculturalism and is working to promote that. This year, they are incorporating south Asian teams in order to promote integration within the South Asian culture.

Finally, talking about the youth involvement, Roland says that the facebook phenomenon has made it more accessible to reach out to the youth to get them involved. Initially it is the word of mouth and families and friends that spread the word around but Ronald with help of a subcommittee of 10 members has made use of the social networking sites to reach out to the shy youngsters who want to come out but are hesitant for some reason. So, make use of your facebook account if want to get involved as well!

Author: Kiran Takrani (Mississauga)

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