Sofia Hosts 2017 European Street Football Festival

The Sofia 2017 European Street Football Festival took place from May 25-29, where the Bulgarian capital welcomed 72 players representing nine European countries.

Teams representing Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Finland, Romania and Greece joined four Bulgarian teams for the five-day event which offered its participants a range of skills workshops and fun activities as well as an international Street Football tournament.

Upon arriving at the Bulgarian capital, players were treated to a photoshoot, where professional photographers and stylists gave participants a chance for a makeover and a professional portrait taken.

Italian player strikes a pose.

The first day saw all teams gathered at the conference hall in the Vitoshi park hotel where the tournament draw took place. The Sofia 2017 European Street Football Festival involved two parallel competitions, an eight-team format for the men’s competition and a four-team league for the women’s.

Finnish coach draws Lithuania for the men’s competition.

Following the draw, participants joined a Bulgarian language workshop where they had the chance to network with other teams. After that, teams were divided into groups to attend the various workshops over the course of two days. Workshops included a tour of the Bulgarian movie studio set, a confidence-building rock climbing session, as well as dance, music and arts sessions.

Austrian player gives Bulgarian language a go.

Northern Ireland manager shared his skill during the music workshop.

Players from various teams take on the climbing challenge.

Day three of the event saw the inauguration of the football tournament. Teams braved very rainy conditions and joined the opening parade before the inaugurational ceremony and the opening match between the men’s teams of Romania and Bulgaria.

The two-day tournament saw team Finland take the trophy in the women’s competition, while team Romania won the men’s competition.

Teams brave the rain for the opening parade.

Team Finland emerge as women’s champions.

Romania take the glory in the men’s competition.

Following the award ceremony, teams were treated to a closing party before departures the next morning.

The Sofia 2017 European Street Festival was the second regional football tournament co-funded by the European Union as part of the Homeless World Cup Erasmus+ Project, which aims at increasing the collaboration between 22 European Street Football Partners. The next and final European Street Football Festival will take place in Graz, Austria, in the summer of 2018.