Orthodox Jews from Mendy’s Deli and Caribbean players in Crown Heights fought it out Sunday, March 25, three months after the Jews surprised the islanders in their first match in December by trouncing them.
Twenty years after Crown Heights riots, soccer is bringing the diverse Crown Heights communities together. The tournament supports soccer programs for underprivileged youth in central Brooklyn, a zone in middle of obesity epidemic lacking access to fresh food and fitness where bored youth can also be lured into violence. Donations welcome!
Both teams fought hard, but this time the Caribbean players prevailed in a 4-2 win. Mendy’s Deli, short on players, at one time had to borrow a Caribbean player to fill out the team - and then asked two bystanders to join them. One player was dismayed that this time the Caribbean crew weren’t taking any chances - and replaced all their players in the second half. Now Mendy’s Deli wants a rematch!
As a further hint of harmony, one of the Jewish players - still sporting his orange Soccer for Harmony shirt - jumped into a pick-up game started right after the match by another group of Afro-Caribbean soccer players.
On Dec. 18 - in their unprecedented first game - Mendy’s Deli trounced two Caribbean teams. “We thought they just studied all the time!” grumbled one player on the losing team. Today, they felt good. Catch the photo of the lead player of Mendy’s Deli and Errol Rose.
The tournament also honors Christopher Rose, killed at 15 over an iPod by a gang his own age in 2005. Organizers are Errol Rose, Christopher’s dad, Josef Cabral - coach of Crown Heights Soccer Eagles youth league and Seeds in the Middle. Soccer for Harmony was named by Rabbi Eli Cohen of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council and is supported by the NYPD 71st Precinct, the 71st Precinct Community Council and the Crown Heights Mediation Center.