CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (NEWSPLEX) -- The Armoas Cafe FC is an amateur soccer team based out of Charlottesville. The team has qualified to play in the prestigious Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup which allows amateurs to have the chance to play against MLS teams.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer tournament in the United States and dates all the way back to 1914. Aromas Cafe FC is the first team from the Commonwealth to qualify for the tournament in two decades.
"We're the first team from Virginia in over 20 years to make it into the tournament, to qualify for the tournament so we are excited to be able to represent the state and represent Charlottesville, specifically with all the talent and soccer that we have," said Aromas Cafe FC captain David Deaton.
The roster is made up of players ranging from their early 20's to their mid 40's. But what is even more unique about the Aromas Cafe FC is how the players on the team span the globe.
"We have players from Iran, Croatia, Kenya and then we have lots who were actually born and raised right here in Charlottesville, as well," said Deaton. "So, this community of Charlottesville is very unique in the fact that it has so many international individuals that are able to come here and that allows us to have a team that is really represented across the world."
Hassan Kaisoum is the owner of Aromas Cafe. Kaisoum hails from Morocco where he became an orphan at 11 years-old. Growing up without his parents, Kaisoum turned to soccer to help get him through.
"A soccer ball, gave me so much hope, I get my soccer ball and kick it and kick it and kick it," said Kaisoum. "It got me through a lot and make me so many friends, so many beautiful people to know from every (back)ground, every religion, every ethnic group, rich, poor. It's amazing what sport can do to unify people."
While the goal of this years squad is to win the Lamar Hunt Cup, Kaisoum and Deaton believe that the Aromas Cafe FC can mean even more to the community of Charlottesville.
"I think in many ways we are trying to demonstrate that if you have a really well diverse community and you're able to translate that into comradery you can do a lot more than you think," said Deaton. "So, we're trying to prove to ourselves, really as much as anybody else that we can get together through these bonds and actually have a great success on the soccer field."
Aromas Cafe next takes the field on May 11, in Richmond against Chesterfield United. Fans that would like to see the game have the opportunity to ride the team bus which will leave from Aromas Cafe in the Barracks Road Shopping Center the day of the game. For more information on how you can attend or support the Aromas Cafe FC you can e-mail David Deaton at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by Aromas Cafe.