I’ve heard countless times that soccer is the universal language, and from my experience, I believe it. Every four years, the world comes together to celebrate the World Cup. Nations that are otherwise divisive unite to back the 23 players representing their flag, showcasing their talents, and defending their pride. Even on a smaller scale, soccer is a sport that brings together such diverse groups of people. On any given afternoon, pickup games consisting of all types of people spanning all generations spring up around nearly every town and city.
Potluck Soccer was inspired by my summer in Washington DC. I played pickup soccer nearly every day after work and was able to play with the most diverse and welcoming group of people I had ever met. After games, we would often go out to eat.
Potluck Soccer is a weekly pickup soccer hangout with a potluck barbecue after. Anyone is welcome to come play soccer–the meetings are on Sunday afternoons. After playing, the potluck meal begins. Each person is expected to bring a dish of some kind–cultural dishes are encouraged! The fields will be rented out ahead of time and grills, propane, and any necessary preparation materials will be provided. There would maybe have to be some sort of small seasonal sign up fee at the beginning of the season to account for all of this.
The idea behind Potluck Soccer is that people can very easily bond over sports and food. Playing with (or even against) someone else in a friendly setting can really bring you closer to them. Soccer is also the most played sport in the world, and nearly every country and continent has deep interest in it, so it draws from all sorts of people. I wanted to create an experience that would allow people to meet and understand people from other ethnic, religious, and cultural groups but do so in a more subtle way that doesn’t make people feel as though they are being forced to do so. Playing soccer and sharing food are both very natural ways to make friends.
To raise awareness for the league, I would focus on posting these fliers at all religious and cultural centers in town. I would make sure that all schools and diversity groups were promoting the league and would partner with them in some way.