An annual soccer match played by Latin Americans in Taiwan seeks to bring people from the region and Taiwanese closer together and to share the fun of the sport with others at a time when most have had their lives disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, match organizers said on Friday.
In its seventh year, the Copa America Taiwan is reaching out to a Taiwanese audience by working with local partners — the Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association (TDDA) and the Guatemalan Association in Taiwan — for the first time, the group said.
Using soccer as a way to connect with people is a good idea, because the sport is in the blood of Latin Americans, said Juan Fernando Herrera Ramos, one of the Copa America Taiwan organizers.
It is what everyone growing up in Latin America plays and watches, the Honduran said.
“So for us, football is more than just a game, it is a way to connect with each other, to become friends and it really makes us feel like we are at home,” he told reporters.
More than 20 teams from 12 countries — including Taiwan, Belize, Panama and Paraguay — are to compete at the free event, which takes place on Oct. 17 and 18 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, Ramos said.
There are to be men’s matches and women’s matches, as well as — for the first time — matches for children aged 10 or younger, the organizers said, adding that Taiwanese would be participating in all three categories.
The event is also to offer music performances and Latin American cuisine, Ramos said, adding that he hopes to see 1,500 people attend this year, surpassing last year’s 1,000 participants.
The event seeks to help connect Taiwanese with the global community at a time when many international exchanges have needed to be suspended, TDDA chairwoman Kuo Chia-yo said.
“There are 760,000 foreign nationals in Taiwan, and they are actually the best channel through which we can stay in touch with the world,” she added.
The organizers said they are conducting a fundraiser to produce event footage to show on Latin American media and social media.
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