Ethiopian food, music and soccer will be celebrated this week at Wylie ISD Stadium thanks to the Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America (ESFNA) choosing Wylie as the site of its 40th annual soccer tournament.
Tournament activities kicked off Sunday, July 2, and continue through Saturday, July 8. Attendees to the event can watch high-caliber soccer teams compete and take part in the celebration of Ethiopian culture.
ESFNA, one of the largest Ethiopian nonprofit organizations, was founded in 1984 with a goal to promote amateur soccer and cultural events within the Ethiopian community in North America.
ESFNA president Abiye Nurilegne was excited about the event at Wylie ISD Stadium and about bringing together the Ethiopian community.
“It is a great honor for me to lead this historic organization,” Nurilegne said. “We hope the Wylie community will enjoy this event and learn a little more about Ethiopian culture.”
ESFNA holds the week-long soccer tournament every year, often in a large metropolitan city. In the past, cities such as Toronto, Houston, Atlanta and Washington D.C. have hosted the event.
Aside from the soccer games, there will be authentic Ethiopian food and street vendors, along with networking events for young Ethiopians and businesses.
Additionally, several famous Ethiopians will be presented as guests of honor throughout the week. Guests of honor this year include Loza Abera, the 25-year-old Ethiopian women’s soccer team forward, retired Ethiopian long-distance runner and 1980 Olympics bronze medalist Eshetu Tura, and former Ethiopian men’s team midfielder, Bekeri Adem.
Thirty-one teams from across the country will be in Wylie for the tournament, including local clubs Ethio Dallas and Addis Dallas. Ethio Dallas plays in the Division 1 tournament Tuesday, July 4 and Thursday, July 6. Addis Dallas is in the Division 2 bracket, and they play Monday, July 3, Wednesday, July 5 and Thursday, July 6.
The entire tournament schedule can be found on the ESFNA website, https://esfna.org/tournament/