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The beginning of the summer for the Caribbean community has always evolved around the Iere soccer tournament. It happens to be the second longest active annual event in the Toronto Caribbean Community, second only to the Caribana festival. It is generally a place where people meet and greet old friends that they have not had the opportunity to meet for quite some time.
The tournament originated in the mid seventies after the Iere teams experienced the fun associated with traveling to Brooklyn to participate in the soccer tournament hosted by the BWIA Sunjets Soccer Club. It was felt that hosting their own tournament similar to Sunjets would work well in Toronto.
The Iere Tournament became arguably the most popular Caribbean tournament in the USA and Canada. Back then it was virtually impossible for local teams to get into the tournament because at times there were two teams from New York, two from Washington, two from Trinidad and Tobago and two from Montreal. All those talent were mixed with the prominent West Indies United, Iere, Unity, and Caribbean United teams from Toronto. Back then it was not about quantity but quality of teams.
With the interests and commitment of the teams from the States the organizing committee decided to change the customary Victoria Day long weekend in May to the following weekend to coincide with Memorial Day long weekend to accommodate the US teams. The change work well for a few years but eventually the New York and Washington teams began having problems attending the tournament and the interest of the local teams diminished as well.
With the turn of events the organizers were struggling and got a rude awakening when the number of structured teams was few and the amount of teams promising participation was just an illusion. As a result the number of teams was reduced to as little as four teams and the tournaments had to cease operation.
In 2005 the Iere tournament was reintroduced by Caribbean Stars which was determine to see if it was indeed possible to locate teams interested in participating to keep the tradition going. The first move they made was to change the tournament date back to the Victoria Day weekend and although the date switch had an impact on the turn out the organizers is confident that the numbers will increase in all areas of the tournament this year. They are anticipating a minimum of eight teams and a maximum of 12.
Everyone is requested to come out and support the Iere Soccer Tournament on Victoria Day Weekend on Saturday May 20, 2006 at Allan Lamport Stadium, 1151 Queen St west (1 block east of Dufferin Street). Admission $5 with DJ Music and Refreshments.