LEWISTON — A soccer tournament, a wedding and a trip to Oregon are in Rilwan Osman’s near future.

Osman works as a parent liaison at Longley Elementary School and is a well-known Somali Bantu community and youth leader. He’s marrying Fatuma Mohamed on Saturday in Oregon. She also is a Somali Bantu community leader.

Most of Osman’s Lewiston Star men’s soccer team will be there, their jerseys and cleats at the ready.

Before the ceremony, a Rilwan Osman-Fatuma Mohamed wedding soccer tournament, a kind of “his versus hers” competition, is planned.

“It’s a friendly match,” said Abdi Abdi of Lewiston, a Lewiston Star captain who helped organize local soccer players who are going to the wedding. “The woman he’s going to marry, her brother is a coach for one of the teams. There will be six different teams.”

Soccer is the most popular sport in the Somali community. “In Africa, soccer is the only sport that we know,” Abdi said. “Soccer is what we used to play back home.”

Osman, a Lewiston Star organizer and supporter, thought of the wedding tournament to show off his Maine players, Abdi said. But getting the Lewiston players to the West Coast took a lot of sacrifice and fundraising.

Osman said he’s excited that his players will be a part of his day. “It means so much to me,” he said. “I never thought they were so determined of going that far to play for my wedding.”

Catherine Besteman, a Colby College anthropology professor who met Osman’s family while researching in Africa, said Somali weddings “are huge community events.” Invitations aren’t necessary, Besteman said. If you know the bride or groom, “you go. It’s the community celebration of a union.”

Some Somali marriages are arranged, but this one is not. Osman and Mohamed met through their work. She’s a college student who works as a community leader and interpreter, much like he does. Both were involved in the National Somali Bantu Youth Organization.

“They created a Web page. All of a sudden, they fell in love,” Abdi said with a smile, adding that the bride is his cousin. Many are happy for Osman, Abdi said. “He’s a very nice guy. Very polite, educated, very positive.”

Osman has a busy schedule. In addition to his Longley job, he mentors youths through his Somali Bantu Youth Association of Maine and teaches English and United States citizenship classes on nights and weekends. He also drives soccer players to tournaments in New Hampshire and Vermont.

“I remember this day we went to Vermont,” Abdi said. “On the way back, we got lost.” A four-hour trip turned into eight hours. Players were tired and hungry. “He stopped at one of the restaurants and fed us,” Abdi said. “He’s kind and generous. He sacrifices his time to come to the games with us.”

Julia Sleeper, director of the inner-city Tree Street Youth center, said many of her older students are excited about Osman’s wedding. “A lot of people from here will be making the trip,” she said. “Rilwan has done a lot for the community. Everyone’s happy for him.”

Soccer games will be held during the day Saturday, and the wedding will be Saturday night. Trophies will go to the first- and second-place teams.

“We’ll have to work hard,” Abdi said, adding that he didn’t know the caliber of players they’re facing. He’s hoping his team will bring “the trophies, and the girl, home.”

The bride will move to Lewiston after the wedding.

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