Over the weekend over 200 students flooded the community rec field to take part in the first annual Organization of International Students (OIS) Soccer tournament, which was held all day Saturday.
The tournament, backed by PSU Intramurals, was organized with the hopes of creating an event that would cater to the interests of Portland State’s international student community. OIS representative and tourney organizer Young Soo Yi said, "We know that people outside the U.S. love soccer, so we thought it would be a good idea."
"We started planning this a month ago," he added. "We are hoping to have a tournament every term." The turnout was strong, especially considering the limited time the OIS had to plan and advertise the event. Among the first to join up was the PSU Soccer Club team.
"The OIS came to us and invited the team to play," said PSU Club team member Carlos Cardenas between matches. "We have a lot of good competition here."
Cardenas plays club soccer year round, and is a new addition this season to a PSU club team that was league champion last year. "It’s been beautiful so far," Cardenas said.
Eight teams, representing Iran, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Persia, Turkey and the Middle East, competed for the first place trophy and a $200 gift certificate to Far Post, a soccer supply company.
Cardenas was one of many players to point out that different nationalities had unique styles of play. "The Japanese teams are usually really good," Cardenas said. "They are quick and fast."
Of the eight teams that competed, the strongest teams were Intramural regulars the Persian Mafia and the PSU club team, which faced each other in the championship match.
"The Persian team passes the ball well," Cardenas said. "They’re really skilled."
The Persians used their precision passing and shot out to a 3-0 lead in the first half, but the experience of the PSU club team proved invaluable. The soccer club rattled off six straight second-half goals to win by a final score of 6-3.
"It was a good game," PSU club player Brian Ryberg said. "The Persian team brought some ringers with them, and they probably expected to win."
Now Ryberg and the rest of the club team prepare for the March 4 start of their league season. Thanks to an outstanding 2004 campaign, the club team earned the right to compete in the Premier League of Portland, which is the highest-rated league in the area.
"It’s going to be tough this year and getting into the top three will be hard," Ryberg said. "But this tournament win was a satisfying way to start our season."