Celebrating independence through soccer
July 9, 2010
- Teams from the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, foreign-national guard force, civilian contractors, and 1-15 Inf. competed in the tourney.
- The Iraqi police and army teams finished 1st and 2nd, respectively. The US finished fourth.
COS ECHO, Iraq - The Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division opened the gates of Contingency Operating Site Echo for the 'Brothers-In-Arms Soccer Tournament' July 4.
The tournament was held as a celebration of Independence Day for U.S. and Iraqi soldiers.
Teams representing the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, foreign-national guard force, civilian contractors, and the 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt. competed in a round-robin tournament followed by an awards presentation and cook out.
Sgt. William Sutter of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-15, said on past deployments, the tournament could not have happened.
"Playing together is all about having the freedom to do it," Sutter said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Moore, 1-15's senior noncommissioned officer, has seen the changes in Iraq first-hand.
"During our last deployment, Gen. (Rick) Lynch said, 'It's all about the people'," Moore said. "The more we work together, the more I see how important those personal relationships are."
The Iraqi teams earned the top spots, with the Iraqi Police taking first place, and the Iraqi Army team finishing second. For the Iraqi players, it was more than just a game.
"We really enjoyed coming to play against some different teams," said Maj. Raied Muhsn, 8th IA Division and the team's coach. "It was great to be here with our brothers."
The 1-15 team finished fourth, but Sutter said the team will show improvement in the next tournament.
"We only had about four days to prepare," Sutter said, "but next time, we will be ready."
The theme of brotherhood resonated from tournament play to the awards presentation.
"Today really showed our partnership," said Lt. Col. Anthony Lowrey, 1-15's commander. "We all came together, played hard, and had fun."
After the American and Iraqi leaders addressed the crowd, teams were presented framed photos, medals, and certificates of appreciation for their participation.
"It doesn't matter what language you speak, or what country you're from," said Moore. "With soccer, it is all about getting out there and playing together."