Photo courtesy of Janel Gale

Ten teams competed in the fourth annual Georgia Tech International Ambassadors (GTIA) Indoor Soccer Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 22. Soccer was played from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting with 20 round-robin games and ending with two semifinals and one final match.

David Tsui Chang, a fourth-year ME, is the vice president of finance of GTIA. He’s been playing soccer since he was little.

“In Costa Rica, everybody plays soccer since they’re little. Pickup soccer is an essential during recess at school. We went to a couple of tournaments in Minnesota during middle school to compete against other schools, as well as competitions against other schools in Costa Rica and intramurals,” Tsui Chang said.

The GTIA club was founded in 2012 and promotes diversity and culture along with encouraging talented and qualified individuals to apply to Tech.

As vice president of finance, Tsui Chang gets to plan events like the soccer tournament.

“[The tournament] allows people from the same groups to bond with each other and establish relationships. It is also important because it showcases the diversity at Georgia Tech. This year, we had a team called Deportivo Saprissa, which is a popular soccer team in Costa Rica. We also had a team called ISA, which stand for the Indonesian Student Association,” Tsui Chang said.

“It is also an event that helps students forget about classes and spend a lovely day playing soccer and having fun while simultaneously making new friends,” said fourth year IE Gerardo Interiano. “It is not only something important to the organization, but also the students appreciate these events since they are limited in the semester.”

Interiano, like Tsui Chang, has been playing soccer since he was little. This is Interiano’s third time on the Finance Committee of GT International Ambassadors.

“I was part of my school soccer team and took it very seriously. It was very competitive, and every year, we played National tournaments and even traveled to different countries in Central America to play against other American schools,” Interiano said.

Planning for the event begins two to three months in advance with reserving the CRC auxiliary gym. They planned for 10 teams to compete throughout the day.

The biggest challenges for the event were finding a certified athletic trainer for a reasonable price and getting teams to sign up.

“Sometimes teams cancel at the last minute, and this affects the logistics of the tournament,” Interiano said.

Teams were able to sign up online and pay a $7 per member registration fee. Each team was assigned a team color. Medals and trophies were awarded for the champions and runner-up team. The Delta Air Lines Chiropractors team came out on top.

“It is an event that puts the name of our organization out there for students and staff to know and an event that attracts many students from all over the world, Interiano said. “Every year has been a success and we are trying to make it better.”

“In terms of logistics, time was fine and everyone had a good time. No big injuries are always a plus,” Tsui said.