Liberia Wins Back-to-Back Championships at the Philadelphia International Unity Cup

On a cold Saturday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium, the home of Major League Soccer team, Philadelphia Union, a rapturous crowd, including Mayor Jim Kenney, gathered to see the final match of the Third Annual Philadelphia International Unity Cup.

Liberia, the defending 2017 Unity Cup Champion, played valiantly against the 2016 Unity Cup Champion, the Ivory Coast. Both teams made great plays and, the artistic footwork of what the beautiful game brings, brought the game to a tie in the second half. The match was decided in overtime when Liberia reached a break by moving through the Ivory Coast defense, scoring a goal and winning the match, 4-3. 

For Liberia, this journey to the championship winning season was months in the making. Liberia first won their sub-division group, only allowing two goals in their first three games, which was then followed by victories in the Round of 16 against Guinea, the Quarterfinals against El Salvador, and the Semi-Finals against the United States. Then, of course, their quest finally ended victoriously with their win against the Ivory Coast in the final match.

The championship day was also filled with other special events, including a naturalization ceremony for participants and recognition of the officials and sponsors who help to make the Unity Cup possible. 

From Ireland to South Africa, the 2018 Unity Cup Games touted a diverse group of teams, representing 52 countries across the globe. The purpose of the Unity Cup is to promote a sense of pride from where one may come from and promote unity through a celebrated sport that is enjoyed across all continents and many diverse cultures.

With the growing popularity of the tournament, we can expect that the 2019 Unity Cup will offer even more thrills! Will we see Liberia capture a third straight title to make it a three-peat? Stay tuned…


Aritcle written by Kyle Purchase and Gigi McGraw, on behalf of the Global Philadelphia Association