World Cup fever unites South Bend immigrants - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

World Cup fever unites South Bend immigrants

Second-generation immigrants play soccer at La Casa de Amistad in South Bend Second-generation immigrants play soccer at La Casa de Amistad in South Bend

Starting over in a new country when you speak a different language can be a trying transition. 

 "It took me at least five years to be able to feel comfortable," said South Bend realtor Virginia Montenegro. Montenegro grew up in Venezuela, but moved to South Bend 17 years ago. She says she was turned down from a local university three times because of her struggles learning English.

 "I can tell you, I never miss a game," said Montenegro. She says international events that unify immigrant communities - like the World Cup - help make South Bend feel more like home.

"Definitely, this is something that connects us," said Montenegro.

 At nonprofit community center La Casa, first and second generation Hispanic immigrants are also keeping score. Most of the children in the early afternoon program were either born in Mexico or had Mexican parents. They go to English-language public schools, but they speak Spanish at home. That means they're tuning into the games in Spanish.

 The month-long tournament won't fix America's immigration problems. But - for a brief 90  minutes - it doesn't matter so much where you live, or where you're from. Just as long as you get to watch that game-winning goal.


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