2019 WSA CUP TOURNAMENT HONORS LONG-TIME SERVANT
WSA Cup 2019 to be Played in Honor of Nabiel Kharoubeh
WSA has announced that the 2019 WSA Cup tournament will be played in honor of Nabiel Kharoubeh, the club's long-time referee assignor, and club servant. Over the years, on ocassion, the WSA Cup Tournament has been played to honor people who had a special place in the soccer community. In the early 2000's the WSA Cup event was played honoring Rodney Echohawk, long-time and then acting sports journalist for the Sand Springs Leader, a newspaper company that played a prominent role in the late 90's promoting the game of soccer. In other years the event has taken on the namesake in memory of the club's special people, such as Josh Zingo (WSA 86), Eddie Ledesma (WSA 92), and Ken Lovelee (WSA President).
In a statement from long time WSA Board member and Sand Springs Soccer Club President, Jeremy Herrington summed it up: "It is true we stand on the shoulders of Giants' that have come before us. WSA's Legacy includes Leadership with a Love of Game, a Heart for Kids, a spirit of Servitude and a devout Loyalty. Often it is only in remembrance that we choose to Honor our Giants... I am pleased that WSA is choosing to honor our Giants when we have the ability to say 'Thank you'. To my longtime Friend and colleague, Nabiel, I say 'Thank You' for all that you have given of yourself to this Club, to thousands of Kids, and to my Family."
HISTORY and BACKGROUND
To launch the first annual WSA Cup tournament in 2000, WSA looked to secure good people who shared the club's heart and mission, and also possessed the skillsets to professionally organize an event that could become sustainable and unique. The tournament committee at the time included Mr Skip Whitehurst and Mrs Francis Whitehurst, both who immediately suggested Nabiel to take charge of the referee component of the event. "The Whitehursts suggested "the tall guy with a dominating presence on the field", recalls Roger Bush, WSA Cup Tournament Director at the time and still today. Nabiel had officiated several of the WSA '87 and WSA '88 girls games, and many of the WSA Board, and orignal WSA Cup Committee, including Gordon McAllister, Michael Butler, and the Whitehursts had taken note of Nabiel's professionalism, confidence, and command on the field.
Now, nearly 20 years later, WSA Cup stands as one of Oklahoma's longest running events. The investment Nabiel has made into finding referees, scheduling referees, and also building a trust and relationship amongsts a referee corps has been appreciated by the club, and indirectly by the thousands of players who have particiapted in WSA Cup over the years. Nabiel's contributions to the success of the WSA Cup event have helped create one of the state's most unique and popular tournament events.
"Nabiel has been with us through a time when we scheduled by paper and spreadsheet, through a couple of weather events that created mass rescheduling, and through all the early morning schedule revisions," reports Bush. Nabiel has been a constant and in many ways a rock for the WSA organization. "You know he'll be there at 6 AM each morning of an event, with a huge smile, game cards in hand, and ready to set the day right for all who encounter him. And all of this knowing he may have been up till 3 AM working on schedules for each night the past couple of weeks."
Nabiel has also helped the WSA club with it's many other events, whether it be the summer Roundrobin of friendlies, the Labor Day Tournament, College Showcase events, or 3v3 tournaments. He also works with WSA and other community soccer associations scheduling league games on a weekly basis. He serves as WSA's referee scheduler for National Premier League, Statewide League games, recreational games, youth academy games, and Youth Development Program league games. And of course, he still gets on the field and officiates games when called on and needed. Last year Nabiel recovered from a knee surgery in a handful of months and was back on the field soon refereeing games at WSA's home fields.
Jeremy Combs, WSA's current VP of Ops reflects on Nabiel's long-time service, "Nabiel has been a faithful servant to the children of WSA, and we will be eternally grateful."
Kevin King, long time club DOC who has served on various events added, "Nabiel has gone the extra mile for WSA and we are truly blessed and grateful for his services."
Nabiel's special place at WSA Cup for so many years has been a connection of mission and purpose. The club's mission to "serve" is one that resonates with Nabiel's passion for giving. Nabiel is an ambassador for the joy that the sport brings. His service has helped grow the WSA Cup, and also the WSA organization and it's unique mission and purpose of bringing access of the game to the many. But more important and transcendant to that, Nabiel's heart for caring, kindly giving, and paitently serving, represents seeds sewn that are countless.
Bush adds, "On behalf of so many players, coaches, parents, and those connected to this game, there is a debt of grattitude we owe for this man's service. It is a legacy of good will, of kindness, of service and friendship, that we cannot measure, and that really defies charactization by any words.".