Palestine United wins 2016 International championship. Soccer team named in honor of Palestine wins 2016 international championship in U.S. Competition
A team of Arab teenagers who played soccer under the banner “Palestine United” won the 2016 KICS Cup International Soccer competition hosted here in Chicago.
Organized by Coaches Sami Mahdi, Ali Abuhellaleh and Samir Al-Beitoni, Palestine United competed against eight other teams representing Mexico, the United States, Ethiopia, and Guatemala.
A team also entered from Palestine called Palestine 1948 which merged with the local Palestine Team to form Palestine United explained coach Sami Mahdi.
“The kids merged together and formed a great soccer team in the competitions,” Mahdi said.
“The team is named in honor of Palestine and included players who are Arab from several Arab countries including Palestine, Morocco, Yemen and Jordan.”
The KICS Cup is a youth tournament allowing soccer teams from around the world to travel to Chicago and compete against one another.
International entries have included teams representing China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Italy and Mexico. Mahdi said that he expects Jordan to field a team next year.
Mahdi and coach Samir Al-Beitoni said Palestine United played five games between July 6 and July 10 in Chicago winning each to claim this year’s title in the age category of 14 thru 16 (U16).
All matches are played in accordance with FIFA game regulations and also regulations set by the Illinois Youth Soccer Association, Mahdi explained.
The KICS Community Soccer League was founded in 2006 and now serving over 1500 near south families with year round, volunteer based community soccer. Serving families from the South Loop, Chinatown, Pilsen, Bridgeport, West Loop, University Village, Bronzeville, Kenwood, Hyde Park and beyond.
Competitions have been co-sponsored by many organizations including Chicago’s Sister Cities organization.
The Palestine United team was co-sponsored also by Ziyad Brothers Importing.
“We’re very proud of the sports achievements of our team, Palestine United which included participants from several Arab country backgrounds,” said Ziyad Brothers Importing Executive Vice President and Principal Nemer Ziyad.
The winning team was honored at the Chicago Fire Soccer Game Sunday August 14 at Toyota Park stadium by State Senator and Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek.
Here are the names of the winning players:
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
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