by Thomas Pitney

After the resounding success of last year’s Wooster World Cup, International Student Services (ISS) and Residence Life confirmed this week that the event will repeat for a second year. In a campus-wide email, the offices announced that sign-ups for the tournament are open until March 1. Scheduled for Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14, the second edition of the Wooster World Cup promises to promote teamwork, friendly competition and sports within the campus community.

Making its debut last year, the Wooster World Cup enables any student on campus to participate in a competitive football (or soccer in the United States) tournament representing their country of origin. This year, the event will host eight teams, each consisting of six field players and one goalkeeper. Teams are also allowed to have up to four substitute players and a maximum total of 11 competitors.

The exciting event was initially inspired by Rayan Dos Passos’ ’25 passion for the game. “My love for football transcends mere sport; it embodies the essence of life itself,” he said. Hoping to enjoy the sport with other Wooster students, he approached ISS with the idea of hosting a mini-World Cup event on campus. Thanks to the help of Jill Munro and Hannah Thomas — the former Director and Assistant Director of ISS respectively — Passos launched the event in Nov. 2022. The event was widely praised across campus for bringing the community together through football.

Last year, 10 total teams competed, representing Ethiopia/Ghana, Djibouti, Morocco, China, Vietnam, the United States, Côte d’Ivoire, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Zimbabwe and Korea. As each team played under one flag, they forged a uniquely close bond throughout the tournament. Passos was struck by how students proudly represented their countries. “I believe in harnessing this love for the beautiful game to empower our fellow community, allowing them to represent their roots and celebrate the diverse tapestry that enriches our collective identity,” he noted.

Observing the success of the Wooster World Cup, ISS decided to renew the event this year. Red Yasar ’26, a key planner of this year’s World Cup in his role as an ISS Intern, said this was “due to the positive response and the community spirit it fostered among participants and spectators alike.” Passos, who will once again play a crucial role in the event, was thrilled to see ISS’ commitment to continue the tradition. As he put it, “this tournament is a testament to the inclusive ethos of our community — open to all, irrespective of nationality, gender, age or any other demographic distinction.”

Through ISS’ collaboration with Residence Life, Yasar and Passos discussed exciting new plans for the event’s second edition. “This year, we’re infusing the Wooster World Cup with even more excitement by adding intricate details to make it not just a tournament, but a show that captivates all who attend,” Yasar stated. Many of these changes intend to make the event more spectator-friendly. Passos highlighted that the final match will be played under the lights at John P. Papp Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m. on April 14. He also teased that the game will celebrate artistic student organizations. “Prepare to be dazzled by a halftime extravaganza courtesy of the Chasing Dance Group, with the added allure of a special performance by the [bag]piper band,” Passos declared.

Yasar emphasized that competitors are expected to show etiquette and sportsmanship, saying, “at the end of the day, we’re here to have fun and make a show out of it.” Passos is looking forward to watching his idea cement itself as a Wooster tradition. “Join me in reveling in the unity and camaraderie of the Wooster community as we come together in the pursuit of a world that fosters inclusivity and connection.”

The Wooster World Cup is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14. Students are encouraged to compete, spectate or otherwise participate in the event.