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Sister Cities program creates international soccer tournament

Four soccer teams from Vaxjo, Duluth's sister city in Sweden, have been in town for a couple of weeks to participate in a soccer tournament at Arlington Soccer Field, against teams from Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Proctor and Thunder Bay. The Sister C...

Four soccer teams from Vaxjo, Duluth's sister city in Sweden, have been in town for a couple of weeks to participate in a soccer tournament at Arlington Soccer Field, against teams from Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Proctor and Thunder Bay. The Sister City Exchange program has brought youths from different parts of the world to Duluth, as well as sending young Duluthians overseas to share and experience other cultures.

"Soccer gets them here, but it isn't all about soccer," said Maureen DeGrio, president of the Duluth Sister Cities Commission, who says that it is more about the building of friendships and understanding and learning each other's culture, than it is about soccer, which is more of a common ground between the two parties.

Four teams, two of which are boys and two that are girls, ages 14-16, have been staying with host families in the area since July 31. They will be heading back home this weekend, but thanks in part to the high activity of the program, they will probably be back in the future, along with Sister City participants from other countries involved in the program from Thunder Bay, Canada, Ohara, Japan, and Petrozavodsk, Russia.

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