Updated: May 16
Copa Manos: "The Beautiful Game"
This is the nickname of the sport known as “soccer” in the U.S., but as fútbol in Honduras.
A sport enjoyed all across the world and celebrated every 4 years via the hosting of a “world cup”, soccer is a game everyone can play. With 2022 being a World Cup year, the Manos team set out to put together a tournament with our friends in Honduras dubbed the “Copa Manos”. Thus, the Copa Manos committee was born!
Preparation for this tournament began months ahead of the US Manos Team’s arrival in Honduras. A joint effort that involved members of the Copa Manos committee from both Texas and Danlí, this experience was facilitated by WhatsApp conversations and Zoom meetings. As the excitement of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar raged on, Copa Manos Committee members were able to share match predictions, live reactions, and ideas about their own Copa Manos tournament.
With 2022 on its way out and 2023 right around the corner, the World Cup had concluded and Copa Manos was next! With the help of our talented friends in Danli, the stage was set. Teams were formed, referees were recruited, a photographer was in place, and the community was gathered.
A change of venue was announced shortly after the Manos team arrived in Danlí. The location change allowed for a full scale soccer match. This new field was located in the middle of the Nueva Esperanza community, with the backdrop being the beautiful mountains of Danlí. After all, there is definitely a reason why Danlí is called the “Ciudad de las Colinas” (the city of the hills). It was the perfect venue.
The day of the tournament finally came and when our Manos US Team arrived on the field, they were met with fanfare and cheer by the Manos Danlí Team and many locals. After all, two members of the mission team were to feature as star players. Those members being the mission scholarship recipients, Colin and Dani. Soon after lacing up, Dani and Colin were divided among the teams, allowing for both teams to have combined representation of Danlí and Texas. These teams were known as Manos and Narra Boys.
Soon, the referee, our very own Limbert Vasquez, blew his whistle and signaled the beginning of a 90-minute match that was full of laughter and skill. Almost immediately, the scoreline opened, with each team netting goals during both halves. After an hour and a half full of capricious weather and challenging play, a winner was decided. Manos triumphed over the Narra Boys. Trophies were awarded for best goalkeeper, top scorer, and of course the prestigious Copa Manos was handed to the winners. However, the ambience was a victorious one for everyone present as the cheerleaders kept the spirits up for both players and fans alike.
However, “the beautiful game” is a game that never ends. Immediately after the final whistle, players expressed joy in having played each other and announced their commitment to meet again on the field in the future. As with the World Cup, Copa Manos will return for another edition!