Canceled for the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a unique event will bring Richmond-area first responders back together with members of the region’s multicultural community on the soccer field.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, Chesterfield’s River City Sportsplex will host the Community Cup, a fun-filled day of soccer, community building and opportunities to learn more about the positive ways that police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters interact regularly with the residents they serve.
“This event was a huge success when it was held for the first time in 2019. With such incredible support from our community partners, we’re excited to once again be able to come together and celebrate our region’s growing diversity,” said Dalila Medrano, Chesterfield’s multicultural community engagement coordinator.
The Community Cup is a regional partnership between Chesterfield and Henrico counties, the City of Richmond and Virginia State Police. First responders from across the region will play in the soccer tournament alongside members of the multicultural community, as well as engaging with youth in a variety of fun activities throughout the day.
“The oath to serve and protect our communities is one that is inherently inclusive and we hold that trust very near and dear to our hearts. We recognize how meaningful it can be for residents to see first responders off duty and in a different type of uniform, enjoying some good-natured competition on the soccer field as teammates,” said Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard. “I hope this event will continue to help build trust, encourage communication and ultimately strengthen public safety across the region.”
Chris Winslow, chairman of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors, played alongside a group of firefighters from Chesterfield Fire and EMS during the 2019 Community Cup. His team reached the championship match before finishing as runner-up.
“Soccer is not only the most popular sport on the planet, it’s also an unspoken, universal language that brings together people from all nations, races and cultures,” Winslow said. “I forged friendships on the pitch three years ago that continue to this day. I’m looking forward to being out there again in October.”
In addition to the soccer tournament, the Community Cup will feature food trucks, a kids zone, festivities incorporating cultural representation from African, Asian, Arab and Latino communities, first responders’ vehicles on-site and information booths staffed by public safety agencies and local organizations.
River City Sportsplex is located at 13030 Genito Road. Gates will open at 9 a.m., with activities scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Feel free to bring lawn chairs and coolers, but no glass containers are allowed on premises.
While admission is free, attendees are encouraged to bring donations to benefit the Waymakers Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to provide immigrant Latino families the foundation for a healthy lifestyle by developing culturally sensitive programs that address their needs in the areas of food, health, education, finances, art and culture.
Among the items requested are rice (jasmine preferred), cooking oil, sugar, soap bars and shampoo.
For more information, visit chesterfield.gov/culturalevents. If you have questions, contact Dalila Medrano by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 804-796-7085.