RSM Soccer Takes on the Memphis Cup of Nations
The 2022 World Cup might not have started yet, but PVS students have already been competing in another soccer championship: the 2022 Memphis Cup of Nations, which was held at Bellevue Baptist Church on Saturday, October 22.
Organized by Christian community partners, such as World Relief Memphis and Christ Church UMC, the Cup was a day-long soccer tournament featuring a total of 16 teams representing 16 nations including Mongolia, Palestine, Sudan, China, Jamaica, Burundi, among others. The theme of this annual event is “to seize the universal passion for sport, connect the nations, and build community,” said the Cup organizers.
Each team was initially separated into four groups, allowing each to compete in three group stage matches. The top team from each group qualified for the semifinals, and the winner from each semifinal group competed in the final match of the tournament. From there, the champion of the tournament would be determined.
PVS high school history teacher Mr. Andre Clarke coached the Mongolia team, which consisted of players on the Red Star Memphis (RSM) soccer team. Founded by Clarke over ten years ago, RSM includes both PVS players and outside members, many of whom are PVS alumni. Fayadh Chowdhury ‘25, Omar Jebril 25’, Ibrahim Malik ‘24, and Aidem Barakat ‘23 were among the PVS players represented.
RSM placed third in the group stage and were unable to qualify for the semifinals, as only the first place winner advanced. “Overall, we were inexperienced, which led to a lack of understanding with one another,” Chowdhury explained. “We didn’t play at our best. However, we were one of the better teams in the tournament.”
Chowdhury was right. Despite the unfortunate ending to the tournament, RSM players demonstrated great skill and fervor throughout the Cup. Barakat scored a total of three goals and Malik scored two, one of which was an electric shot rocketed from half-field. The skillset and passion displayed on and off the field is something to be proud of, even if the team didn’t get the results they wanted.
"The tournament was overall a great experience,” Malik said. “This was the first time this RSM team had participated in an event like this, so it was something new to us and definitely helped us learn. I really enjoyed the highly competitive but friendly nature that made the tournament exciting.”