Redeemer Cup 2012 kicks off in Utica

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y.(WKTV) It's quickly becoming one of the most talked about events of the year here in Utica, the annual Redeemer Cup soccer tournament at Proctor Park.

The third annual Redeemer Cup kicked off in grand style Saturday morning with sixteen teams.

It's put on by the Redeemer Church in North Utica.

Redeemer Church Pastor Rick Andrew organizes this event each year, and says this type of event is what the City of Utica is all about, "we all call this country a melting pot. I remember reading one time that someone said, 'is it a melting pot, or is it a stew?' Maybe we're all in the same pot, but do we really mix with each other? And that's what we're trying to do."

Chris Salo of Utica brought his young daughter Hanna to the opening ceremonies, and is amazed at the pageantry, "this event could just keep growing, it could grow exponentially, you just have no idea how big it can get."

Those in attendance Saturday morning heard from maybe the most successful recent refugee here in Utica, Hamdi Ulukaya from Turkey, the founder of Chobani Yogurt, "I started with five people, and today Chobani has 1200 people strong."

Ulukaya says America is the perfect place to live out your dreams.

The crowd also heard from News Channel 2 News Anchor Bill Worden who says all of these refugees are a very important part of what Utica is today and has been for the past century or more, "they say Utica is an immigrant city. Utica has always been an immigrant city. It's not something that just happened, but we're beginning to realize the importance of the refugees coming here for freedom, for safety, and to raise a family, and that's what Utica is all about."

The Redeemer Cup competition continues all day Sunday, with closing ceremonies set for right after the final game.

The event is free to the public.

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