Calgary, AB,

Calgary police hit the pitch with Syrian newcomers

The Calgary Police Service men’s recreational soccer team will be lacing up their cleats to take on a Syrian newcomer team in a friendly match this weekend, in advance of the North American Police Soccer Tournament.

“We’re really excited to have the opportunity to play soccer with this team,” said Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley, representing the North American Police Soccer Tournament organizing committee. “This is a great opportunity for us to meet and learn more about the Syrian community in Calgary.”

The team, Syrian Soccer Sons, is made up of Syrian newcomers, who get together a few times a week to practice and look for exhibition games to play. The idea for the friendly match came about through the efforts of the Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource Team as a way to engage the community.

“Sport has an incredible ability to bring people together,” said Constable Kelly Mergen with the Diversity Resource Team. “It’s a place people from all communities can find common ground.”

The friendly match, to be played on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, at 10 a.m., at Forest Lawn High School, is a lead-up event to the North American Police Soccer Tournament.

The tournament – now in its 37th year – will take place from Sept. 7 to 9, 2016 at the Calgary Rugby Union. Teams are comprised of police officers from agencies across Canada and the United States. More than 500 masters and recreational players will make their way to Calgary to participate in this charity event.

This is Calgary’s second time hosting the tournament. Each year, the host city selects a charity to receive any funds raised during the tournament. For 2016, the Calgary Police Foundation was selected as the charity of choice.

“The Calgary Police Foundation is a great charity to support,” said Smiley. “The work they do to reduce youth victimization and criminal activity by focusing on education, prevention and early intervention programs help ensure Calgary is a great place for everyone to live and raise their families.”

More information about the Calgary Police Foundation is available at For more information about the North American Police Soccer Tournament, visit