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Boro to host soccer tourney

When 16 soccer teams take to the pitch in Flushing Meadows Corona Park later this month, they may not have the talent brought to the table at the World Cup, but that does not mean the world will be any less represented.

A group of rabid soccer fans is gearing up for the inaugural Copa NYC, a 16-team soccer tournament designed to emulate the World Cup, but with teams fielded entirely by New York City players.

The tournament started from meager beginnings — the concept was formally set in stone at a Greenwich Village bar — but co-founder Chris Noble said he hopes it will become an annual tradition in the city.

“Copa NYC is committed to becoming an annual multi-cultural celebration, promoting health, community and diversity through sport,” Noble said. “The ultimate goal of Copa NYC is to bring people together and to enjoy and develop the game of soccer on a local, national and even global scale.”

The action will get underway July 25 and last through Aug. 2. Although Noble hopes it will grow in the future, the inaugural tournament will field teams representing 16 countries: the United States, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, England, Ireland, France, Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Liberia and Ghana.

Still in its infancy, the tournament already has some support in high places.

“By using soccer to promote health, community and cultural awareness, the tournament will unite people of all nationalities in cheering on the diversity of New York and the world’s favorite game. On behalf of the City of New York, I commend all those associated with Copa NYC for establishing this tournament and contributing so much to our city’s lively spirit of sporting competition,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement on the tournament.

The tournament schedule had not been set in stone at press time, but for updated information, check Copa NYC’s Web site at copanyc.us.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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