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March 23, 2012 1:37 pm

Round 2: Caribbean Soccer Team Takes on Orthodox Jews

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Caribbean and Orthodox Jewish soccer players in a 2011 match. Photo: Soccer for Harmony

Following their win over a local Caribbean soccer team last year, a group of Orthodox Jewish soccer players will have to defend that victory this weekend during a rematch set up to bring the two communities closer.

“We’ll fight on the field. We’re going to bring everything we’ve got,” Nathan Abikasis of the “Mendy’s Deli” Jewish club, told The New York Daily News.

A non-profit group called “Seeds in the Middle” has put together the games after they became aware that players were using a local field, but were splitting themselves up based on background.

“They both love soccer. That’s one of the things that can bring them together. They’re different, but that’s one thing they have in common,” said Josef Cabral, a local soccer coach.

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According to Frank Nicholas, the coach of the Caribbean club, his team was caught off guard by the quality of play that came from the “Mendy’s Deli” Jewish team during last year’s match.

“We never heard of them being involved in soccer. We figured it might be an easy game. We figured they’re probably not as good. But we got surprised,” he said.

Much like the Olympics and the World Cup, Nicholas says that while the teams may not know much about each other, it is sport that can bring them together.

“It’s a universal game, no matter where you go. You don’t even have to understand the language, you can play soccer.”

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