“Fanaticism” is the word that Anna Renery ’06 uses to describe Buenos Aires’ relationship with soccer. Just one example: In the capital of Argentina, all taxi horns sound at the same time whenever a star scores a goal. So when Anna—who played on the women’s varsity soccer team at Pomona—moved there for a job about three years ago, a couple of things took her by surprise.
First, she saw no organized events like the ones she had grown up playing in. Second, opportunities for girls to play soccer were few and far between, largely due to the machismo toward sports found in many South American countries. Anna recalls that she had a hard time finding other girls to play pick-up games with.
For Renery, this was a call to action. Eager to share her love for soccer, she and two partners set out to create the first and only international amateur soccer tournament in Argentina—the Buenos Aires International Soccer Tournament, or BA Cup for short. Renery notes it is the only such tournament in which girls can participate.
The inaugural BA Cup, held in summer 2011, drew more than 2,000 girls, boys and adults representing more than 10 different countries to Buenos Aires to compete and participate in seminars and clinics.
The second cup will be held in July 2012. The BA Cup is designed to help participants develop values such as teamwork and commitment and learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Anna says, “I think that being an athlete … teaches life lessons that are valuable in any kid’s life.” She also hopes that the cup helps “people see that women can play, should play.”
Down the road, Renery hopes to further expand the BA Cup as she envisions the tournament growing to become one of the largest in the world, with around 50,000 participants. Renery credits her Sagehen education for her innovative choice of post-undergraduate plans. “Pomona instills a little bit of an entrepreneurial spirit in its students in that you’re really encouraged to do what you want to do and to try new things,” says Renery, who was named most valuable athlete during her senior year at Pomona. “It was always OK to do something less traditional.” More information: www.ba-cup.com.