Bulgaria Welcomes Players for Second Erasmus+ European Street Football Festival

Workshop-Dance

The second Erasmus+ European Street Football Festival took place in the city of Sofia from May 25 – 27.  Sports Management Bulgaria – Homeless World Cup National Partner in Bulgaria – hosted the event with support from the Homeless World Cup Foundation and Erasmus+ funding.

The four-day event included two days of workshops aimed at developing personal skills, and two days of competition, where twelve teams from around Europe had the chance to meet and share in the experience.

Upon arrival, teams were welcomed with a professional hair and make-up session and photo shoot.

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Bulgarian player gets make-over before stepping in front of the camera.

Italian contestant gets her picture taken by professional photographer.

Italian player gets her picture taken by professional photographer.

Day 1 – Tournament Draw and Workshops

The first day of the festival started with the Draw for the tournament. Teams gathered at the conference centre at the Vitosha Park Hotel to take part in the event draw.

Team Finland manager pulls Lithuania out of the pot.

Team Finland manager pulls Lithuania out of the pot.

Following the draw, all participants took part in a Bulgarian Language workshop aimed at welcoming players from across Europe and make them feel more at home.

Can you say it in Bulgarian? - Finish player practices some phrases.

Can you say it in Bulgarian? – Finnish player practices some phrases.

Following the theme of “Finding One’s Voice” players took part in two more workshops aimed at developing their communication skills and confidence. The first was a music workshop led by musician Konstantin Kuchev, who helped participants join in song and music, and develop confidence and skills that were already inherit. Some participants even had a chance to demonstrate their musical skills.

Northern Ireland manager plays the guitar.

Northern Ireland manager plays the guitar.

Italian Manager gives the thumb piano a try.

Italian manager gives the thumb piano a try.

The second workshop helped participants express themselves through a different medium. Players players worked on a “banner of peace,” a collaborative art piece that would represent all competing nations and players.

Greek players work on their design.

Greek players work on their design.

Bulgarian players find their voice through different media.

Bulgarian players find their voice through different media.

Day 2 – Workshops and Tours

The second day of the event saw players engaging in more physical workshops, aimed at building their confidence and improving their communication skills.

Working together, Italian and Austrian participants during dance workshop.

Working together – Italian and Austrian participants during dance workshop.

Austrian and Finish player embrace the dance workshop.

Austrian and Finish player embrace the dance workshop.

Following the dance workshop, teams were given a tour of the Nu Boyana film studio, where they had the chance to explore multiple film sets and be transported to different eras.

Team Austria in more classical times.

Team Austria in more classical times.

Nu Boyana Film Studios, Sofia.

Nu Boyana Film Studios, Sofia.

After the tour of the studios, participants had the chance to take part in a football training session and the final workshop, a climbing session led by the National Sports Academy Climbing Club in Sofia. By focusing on specific goals on the climbing wall, participants had the opportunity to overcome their own fears.

Bulgarian players contemplate the challenge.

Bulgarian players contemplate the challenge.

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Day 3 and 4 – Tournament

The last days of the event were devoted to the street-soccer tournament. Eight men’s teams and four women’s teams played for the final trophy. The men’s competition saw the teams from Romania, Northern Ireland, Austria, Lithuania and four teams representing Bulgaria, while the women’s competition saw teams from Italy, Finland, Greece and Hungary.

Day 3 saw the teams playing under heavy rain.

Team Lithuania and Team Bulgaria 4 prepare for the match.

Team Lithuania and Team Bulgaria 4 prepare for the match.

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Finland v Italy

Thankfully, the weather cleared for the finals day and teams enjoyed some sunshine during their matches. The women’s competition saw Finland taking the trophy after the final against Greece, while the men’s competition went to Romania who defeated Lithuania in the final match.

Romania and Finland become champions.

Romania and Finland become champions.

The Sofia 2017  European Street Football Festival concluded that evening after players enjoyed the closing party. After joining 100 other players form across Europe, each participant returned home with the fun memories of the festival where they had the chance to develop their personal skills, increase their confidence and self-esteem, and develop some life-lasting friendships.

The Erasmus+ Project will continue later this year with two more exchanges.

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