OXFORD – Isuf Ceno moved to Canada from his native Albania 10 years ago. He came from a culture that lived and breathed soccer, and he described his love for soccer almost as if it was a religion. “Soccer is culture to us,” Ceno said, who moved to Norwich over a year ago.
Ceno found an Albanian community in Canada that regularly played indoor and outdoor soccer. When he moved south to the United States, the opportunities to play soccer were much more limited. He traveled throughout the Southern Tier to Oneonta, Sidney, Cortland, and Elmira among other places to find opportunities to play. His son, who also plays soccer, became involved in the youth soccer programs offered locally, and soon was a part of the Chenango Soccer Club. When Ceno discovered Emerson Fields in Oxford – who host CSC games – he knew he found a place in which he could continue to pursue his sports passion.
“My first year here, there was almost nothing,” Ceno said in summing up the amount of soccer he played. “Around here, this field (in Oxford) is definitely the best.”
The Chenango Soccer Club opened Emerson Fields for play in 2002, and for many years, barely stayed afloat financially. Most of the field maintenance was contracted out, and the Soccer Club needed to consistently run fundraisers, hold money-making tournaments, and seek funds from well-meaning benefactors to meet costs.