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Ethiopian soccer tournament, culture fest held at Wylie Stadium

by | Jul 12, 2023 | Latest, news

Aside from soccer, the annual ESFNA tournament celebrated Ethiopian culture with food, music and much more at Wylie Stadium last week. Kyle Grondin/The Wylie News

Wylie ISD Stadium was the site of the 40th annual Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America (ESFNA) soccer tournament last week bringing 31 teams, including local clubs Ethio Dallas and Addis Dallas, along with thousands of visitors from throughout the U.S., to Wylie.

Tournament activities kicked off Sunday, July 2, and continued through Saturday July 8, as event attendees watched high-caliber soccer teams compete and participated in the celebration of Ethiopian culture. Vendors offered an array of Ethiopian food, music and merchandise at Wylie Stadium and the Young Ethiopian American Professional Adult networking group hosted a Meet & Greet event at Herman-Marshall Thursday, July 6. 

For the second year in a row, ESFNA hosted a running and jogging event in partnership with a marketing group to the activities to “celebrate Ethiopian athletes’ achievements and running tradition.” The running event took place 

Friday, July 7, at Founders Park.

ESFNA, one of the largest Ethiopian nonprofit organizations, was founded in 1984 with a mission to bring “Ethiopians together to network, support the business community and empowering the young by providing scholarships and mentoring programs using soccer tournaments, sports activities and cultural events as a vehicle.”

ESFNA president Abiye Nurilegne said he was excited about the event at Wylie ISD Stadium and about bringing together the Ethiopian community.

In an interview prior to the event, Nurilegne said, “It is a great honor for me to lead this historic organization, adding, “we hope the Wylie community will enjoy this event and learn a little more about Ethiopian culture.”

ESFNA hosts 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. 

Several famous Ethiopians were presented as guests of honor throughout the weeklong event. Guests included 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. 

Closing ceremonies were held at the Westin Park Hotel in Dallas featuring artists Sami Dan, Bezuayehu Demissie, Terry Terefe and the Ethiopiawinet Dance Group.

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