By Jeanne Gagnon
York University won the Iranian Students’ Association at Ryerson University second annual soccer tournament last Sunday, beating the University of Toronto 1-0 and taking the title away from Ryerson.
Ryerson landed in third place after winning the consolation final against McMaster University 3-0. Ryerson University won the event last year. “The Ryerson team was not really prepared,” said Nima Ahmadi, president of ISARU.
“They had a better team last year. This year, most of the players were new, first or second-year students.” In the first round of the playoff, Ryerson was tied with York, but lost on a penalty kick that knocked them down into the consolation round.
Before kick-off, York team captain Amir Nazhat said he was confident because his team had better players than last year. “This year, we held tryouts,’ he said. Farhad Shahla, a public relations officer with ISARU, said the tournament brings together every aspect of student life, including athletics.
“The event has nothing to do with culture. It’s a sporting event. Soccer, we love it. It is the most common game in the world,” Shahla said. “It narrows the gap between universities. It creates unity.” Many players commented that soccer ?– or, as ???they prefer, football — is the main sport in Iran.
Amir Naghari, captain of the Ryerson team, said it is important for him to participate because he meets other people from the community. “It is more than soccer, it is a gathering,” he said. Sina Fazel, captain of McMaster’s Iranian soccer team, said they took part because McMaster is a small university and doesn’t get enough credit.
He added the tournament also provides the opportunity to contact other cultural clubs. The event was scheduled at the start of second semester since students are busy the rest of the year. “Right now, not many students are involved (with their studies), so it’s a good time,” Shahla added.
Naghari said he was convinced his team would win, saying the games were “just practice for them.” Maybe more practice was needed.