Lifestyle July 15, 2011 at 12:00 am

Ethiopians in America Merge Soccer with Heritage

Eunice Poku July 15, 2011 at 12:00 am

July 15, 2011 at 12:00 am | Lifestyle


The Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) held its annual soccer tournament in Atlanta, Georgia from July 3rd – July 9th. This annual tournament  brings soccer teams from all over  the United States to compete while engaging them with activities that exposes the beautiful Ethiopian culture.

ESFNA, a non-profit organization began the soccer tournaments in 1984 to bring together the love of soccer and Ethiopian culture. ESFNA is not your ordinary sports tournament. It also serves as a platform where Ethiopians can mingle and network with other Ethiopians acros the United States. 

The tournament has expanded to include supporting business communities, scholarships for the youth, mentoring programs, and cultural events to bring a greater appreciation for Ethiopian heritage. Ethiopian immigrants come from all over the United States in support of this tournament and to celebrate their cultural heritage. As such, many different vendors also partake in the festivities to sell food, music, and clothes, as well as other products.

ESFNA has 27 teams from all over the United States and each team competes to hold the title of the winner of the tournament.  Ohio took home the title this year. In 2008, ESFNA included the first women’s soccer team, Saint Michael’s Women Soccer team, from Washington D.C.

According to the latest statistics, Atlanta’s Ethiopian population is growing with a current population of over 10,000 people. It is, therefore, no coincidence that EFSNA held this year’s tournament in this multicultural city.  The largest ethnic group in Atlanta is the Oromo.

African immigrant populations are growing across US cities and cultural events such as the annual ESFNA, reunite long lost families and friends, and bring them all on a platform where they can share wonderful memories.

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