Starting Sunday, July 2, Ethiopians from across the country will descend on Seattle for the opening ceremony of the 34th annual Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America (ESFNA) Soccer Tournament and Cultural Festival. The event is the largest gathering of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia. It was last hosted in Seattle in 2004.
The week-long event and celebration occurs during the week of Ethiopian Day, which takes place Friday, July 7. The event culminates with the closing ceremony and tournament trophy presentation on Saturday, July 8. In May, Mayor Ed Murray declared July 2-8 Ethiopians’ Week in Seattle.
“This week-long soccer tournament will be a way for Ethiopians to come together in order to celebrate their culture, identity and assure the continuity of their ideals,” Murray noted in the proclamation. “The founding principles of ESFNA were born out of the desire for Ethiopians now and in the future to have something they claim as their own for generations to come.
This year’s soccer tournament has drawn 31 teams and more than 800 players from around the U.S. and Canada. Teams will face off against each other in an initial group stage and then in a knockout stage similar to the World Cup. The cultural festival portion of the event will include, food, dancing and live music on Ethiopia Day, July 7. ESFNA is also hosting a golf tournament at Maplewood Golf Course on July 7.
Both daily tickets and weekly passes are available for purchase at https://esfna.org/seattle-2017.
What: Soccer tournament and cultural festival; biggest gathering of Ethiopians outside Ethiopia
When: July 2-8
Where: Renton Memorial Stadium, 405 Logan Ave. N.
More info and tickets: https://esfna.org
● Opening ceremony: Sunday, July 2, 7:30 p.m., Renton Memorial Stadium
● Daily Tournament Play: Sunday, July 2 – Saturday, July 8
● Girls soccer tournament: Wednesday, July 5, 6 p.m., Renton Memorial Stadium
● Ethiopia Day Celebration: Friday, July 7, 6 p.m., Renton Memorial Stadium
● Golf Tournament: Friday, July 7, 8:45 a.m., Maplewood Golf Course, Renton
● East vs. West All-Star Friendly: Saturday, July 8, 3 p.m., Renton Memorial Stadium
● Closing Awards Ceremony: Saturday, July 8, 6 p.m., Renton Memorial Stadium