Saturday, July 27, 2013


Young fan reflects on the
complexity of organizing
 a soccer tournament.

You go to a sporting event and it seems so easy. You’ve got your teams, your coaches, your referee or umpires, your fans, maybe an announcer, someone keeping score, and someone selling food. However, If you’re like most people All that doesn’t even cross your mind because you’re there to watch the game.

Well after my first Copa OYE experience, I have news for you! Organizing a sporting event is far from easy.

Copa OYE is our premier sporting activity of the year. It is a soccer tournament held for young men and women that promotes healthy activities, sportsmanship, and youth empowerment in a safe competitive environment. The 2013 tournament invited youth, ages 13 to 25, to form teams with their classmates, friends, and family. The teams battled it out in 40 minutes of up and down, back and forth, sudden death action to arrive at the final or at least finish in the top three and receive a prize.

Captains from Parces FC and Chocos
meet before the match
While I will not lie and say it was easy, this year was inspiring. OYE was proud to host 23 teams in the tournament, 15 male, and 8 female. The teams represented nearly every part of the city and small surrounding towns. Recruiting the teams was a unique experience. The staff teamed up with scholarship students and took El Progreso by storm, a storm of posters that is. Copa posters were distributed to over 15 local high schools, both public private. Two weeks later OYE returned to The Pearl of the Ulua, El Progreso’s largest high school, registering captain’s classroom by classroom.

As our deadline approached we were scrambling to confirm the teams, and, after the deadline passed, we were scrambling to find space for all the teams that continued to show up. As we closed the inscription two things was clear, 1) El Progreso is full and youth, and 2) Honduran youth love soccer!  Many of the participants informed us that due to violence and unemployment fewer institutions are willing to host soccer tournaments, making Copa OYE on the few opportunities for at-risk youth to participate in a formal sporting competition.

Neris and Heidy

Ritmo Online, OYE’s radio program, transported its broadcasting equipment and PA system to the field and hosted a live broadcast. Hot sun good music, and soccer can’t be beat-seriously, ask anyone.  Yarli, Ivelis, Ever, Heidy, and Sandra updated the fans with scores, wins, and highlights from the games.

Marvelis, Yarli, and Ivelis

The games themselves couldn’t have been any more intense.  New teams and old came to play and leave it all on the field. At the end of three long days the best teams proved themselves in an extremely competitive COPA OYE.

The games themselves couldn’t have been any more intense.  New teams and old came to play and leave it all on the field. At the end of three long days the best teams proved themselves in an extremely competitive COPA OYE.
OYE's Kenvirlyn dancing around the defenders

Opportunity on goal for Chocos, contra Parces, a game
ending in 4 to 4 tie! - Parces takes it in PKs

Former OYE Scholarship student, Vincente Rivera, dominates
the ball at midfield for Fichas FC, contra VIP.

Shot from behind the goal, champions Elite face off against Holi Spirit.

Elite Women's Champs

Congratulations to Fichas FC for winning the men’s division and Elite FC for being crowned champions of the women’s. Second place finishers include Napolis FC in the men’s division and Fichas FC in the women’s division. Congratulations go out, as well, to third place finishers Amigos de Alcachofa for the men and Galaxy for the women. Although not receiving prizes, Alianza and Atlas finished in fourth place receiving honorable mentions.

“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.”
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Fichas Men's Champs
Second Place Fichas FC Women's

Second place Men's Napolis FC

As all of our OYE activities this tournament was made possible by the dedication and involvement of the scholarship students. A huge thank you to the OYE students that made this tournament possible, and a special shout out to Neris Avila and Luis Miguel who took on the daunting task of coordinating the event.

Equally important for the realization of this event was the sponsorship of local and national businesses. OYE hosted the 23 teams gave out killer prizes to first, second, third place, most goals scored, and best goal keeper, covered the fees of the fields, supplied all of the players and many fans with water, and provided referees for each game, while spending just $100 from our budget. That is to say that the event was self-sustaining thanks business and institutional support. Cinemark, Coresa (Pepsi), Coca Cola, Cargil, Padilla Sports, the municipal government, the chamber of commerce, Grupo Karim, Stylos, and Copy Color all joined OYE’s hallmark donors Las Tejas and Monte Cristo to support at-risk Honduran youth.

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