The public is invited to an inaugural soccer match at Gloucester High School on Saturday featuring a team of Gloucester High alumni facing off against an international team of players who are new to the community.

This is part of the Sawyer Free Library's new program "The Civic Hub," and organizers of the One Game One Community Soccer Matchup  encourage the community to attend and cheer on their friends and neighbors.

The free family-friendly game takes place at Newell Stadium, starting at 11:30 a.m.

There will be music and food for purchase from the GHS Boosters and Jalepenos Authentic Mexican Restaurant.  

"The One Game One Community Soccer Matchup is all about people from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds in our community taking to the turf to share their love of soccer,” said Beth Pocock, the assistant library director. “Across the world, everyone loves to gather together, laugh, compete, and cheer for sports. We hope that friendly soccer match up will highlight unity through common interest and celebrate the cultural diversity of Gloucester."

The library's new civic program was designed to create opportunities that foster civic engagement and discussion on issues facing the community both locally and beyond. Other organizers of the soccer event include Wellspring and the GHS athletic department.

The Gloucester High alumni team will be coached by GHS Principal James Cook and the Gloucester International team will be coached by Alex Coelho, a community member who plays soccer in the local men’s leagues. He also is a parent of sophomore Andrew Coelho, a current GHS varsity soccer player.

On one side of the field will be players from Gloucester High's soccer team, which has enjoyed success in recent years, and on the other side will be Gloucester International, whose players were recruited by Coelho. The international team will be made up of players of all ages who are new immigrants to the community.

"Diversity enriches us and makes us better. Our players are some of the most inspiring and resilient people I have ever met," said Cook. "Soccer has a unique influence in the world; it can mirror the world as it is, or it can shape it for the better. If we can be part of shaping it to be more inclusive, that is success."

Coelho added that there is a reason that soccer is considered the "world's game."

"It doesn't matter what language you speak or where you come from when you're playing soccer," said Coelho. "Everyone is equal. In the diverse community of Gloucester, soccer is helping create an inclusive space for people from all over."

Fans are then encouraged to stay for the Gloucester High School boys varsity game against Saugus High School starting at 2 p.m.

For more information, check out sawyerfreelibrary.org.

What: One Game One Community Soccer Matchup

When: Saturday, Sept. 21, 11:30 a.m.

Where: Gloucester High School's New Balance Field

This free event is sponsored by the Sawyer Free Library's “The Civic Hub,” Wellspring and the GHS Athletic Department to celebrate the city's vibrant international community. The game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For more information, go to sawyerfreelibrary.org.

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