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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Jorge Fidalgo Memorial Soccer Challenge: Cape Verdean All Stars vs Brazilian All Stars

Jorge Fidalgo Memorial Soccer Challenge: Cape Verdean All Stars vs Brazilian All Stars

By Lucy Coutinho (http://www.caboverdeonline.com)

Nôs Jornal newspaper (USA)

Posted: September 01, 2006

A crowd of energetic soccer fans joined at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts for the 3rd Annual Jorge Fidalgo Memorial Soccer Challenge. The pouring rain was not enough to keep the spectators from enjoying a great game; they came prepared some with their umbrellas and some with their rain coats. Overlooking the bleachers, there were spectators of all ages.

The event commemorated the late Jorge Fidalgo, a respected community leader, radio show host, and soccer player. Fidalgo was murdered on April 23, 2001, leaving behind a wife and five young children along with a community that had an immense respect and appreciation for him. “He would have been happy about this. The hope is to continue his legacy by doing events like this, having soccer activities and programs in his name,” said Joceline Fidalgo, 17-year-old daughter of the late Jorge Fidalgo.



Coach Manecas Almeida with other team reps and Revolution General Manager Craig Tornberg at trophy presentation. Photo by Marc Masse


Jorge Fidalgo was a devoted advocate for Cape Verdean youths to be given an opportunity to participate in soccer matches on a professional level. “His dream was to always bring the national teams here and allow Cape Verdean players to play professionally,” said Flavio DaVeiga, CVC (Cape Verdean Community) UNIDO Youth Outreach Worker and one of the organizers for the event. “He was always a person that would be involved in the community and a big soccer fan,” said Da Veiga. The objective of the annual event is to keep his dream alive and carry on his legacy to uplift the Cape Verdean community.

In honor of his memory this year, CVC UNIDO collaborated with the Massachusetts Alliance for Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) to host the annual Memorial Soccer Challenge which featured a match between the local Cape Verdean and Brazilian All Star Selection Teams this past Sunday, August 27, 2006. “It is a great opportunity for us to do it at such a large stadium and a great opportunity for the future of our players,” said Denise Gonsalves, Executive Director of CVC UNIDO.

In March 2004, the Cape Verdean Community Task Force formally adapted CVC UNIDO as its new name. Founded in February 1999, CVC UNIDO is a non profit organization that serves the Cape Verdean Creole community of the Boston area. It offers a range of different programs and activities that reach out to both families and youths.

The very first soccer challenge was implemented by family members and friends of the late Jorge Fidalgo also in his honor. The Cape Verdean national team verses Maritimo from Portugal which brought over six thousand spectators to the Gillette Stadium in 2002 and it has since developed into an annual event organized by community leaders such as Denise Gonsalves. In 2005, the New England area Cape Verdean All Stars played against the Caribbean All Stars with Cape Verdeans being victorious 5-0. That year it brought together an incredible amount of Cape Verdean spectators and supporters. “My vision is for this tournament to become bigger and to have everyone in the community participate in it. It’s a lot of work but everyone can benefit,” said Alice Gomes, Jorge Fidalgo Soccer Match committee chairman.

Vargas & Vargas sponsored this year’s event and has been a great support for many other projects of CVC UNIDO. Local organizations sponsored the youths to attend the soccer game which generated a great crowd of young supports. Tickets were sold in many business venues in Brockton, Dorchester, New Bedford and Roxbury, Massachusetts and local stores in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The local shops have been a great tool in helping to promote the annual event. This event has also been a great opportunity to collaborate with the Revolution General Manager Craig Tornberg; he has been a tremendous support to the community in playing professional soccer.

The Cape Verdean All Stars took home the victory on their 3-2 win over the Brazilian All Stars. Both teams played a competitive game and proceeds of tickets sold in the community helped to fund health and social services programs for both CVC UNIDO and MAPS. Profits from some of the ticket sales were also used to fund the Jorge Fidalgo soccer league. “This event brought unity to the community and was a true indication that together great things can happen,” continued Goncalves.

This would have been Jorge Fidalgo’s vision for his community and it is with great honor that his legacy lives on. “Our hope is to get more supporters and more of the Cape Verdean community to come to the games on a yearly basis,” concluded Denise Gonsalves. “It’s about uplifting our community.”

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