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Lucero-inspired soccer tourney seeks teams

A soccer tournament with a message of peace is looking for a few more good players.

The Play for Peace 2011 Soccer Games is now registering teams for the July 30 event at the Patchogue-Medford youth soccer field in Medford.

The tournament, now in its third year, was the idea of Legis. Jack Eddington (I-Medford), who wanted to find a way to unite the Patchogue community after the 2008 stabbing death of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadoran immigrant, near the village’s train station. The killing, and the subsequent arrests of several Patchogue High School students, roiled Long Island and exposed Patchogue’s divisions over immigration.

“I wanted to make sure that the community got together and I thought the best way to do it was not in a contrived way, but through a soccer event and get all different ethnic groups together to play and eat,” Eddington said. In the first tournment, in 2009, teams had roots in soccer-loving countries ranging from El Salvador to Turkey.

“That first year at the park, all the ethnic groups brought their flags and put them under the American flag,” Eddington said. “It was quite a sight.”

This year the tournament wants to include more teams and to field women’s teams for the first time. The goal is to have 16 men’s and eight women’s teams. Each team will play at least three 40-minute games, and the final game will match up the two best men’s teams and the two best women’s teams.

Interested teams can register by July 1 by calling Eddington’s office at 631-854-1400 or emailing his chief of staff, Robert Calarco, at robert.calarco@suffolkcountyny.gov.

Above: The 2008 stabbing death of Marcelo Lucero was the inspiration for the annual Play for Peace Soccer Games.

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