Charity Football Tournament

This weekend I saw the completion of my first real project since being in the Peace Corps, the 3rd Annual Chirpan Charity Football Tournament. It was a stunning success. We had 11 teams of five attend with 50-60 players; six Bulgarian teams and four American. My personal favorite was Team Maiden from Chirpan Team Maiden

made up of high school fans of Iron Maiden. Awesome. A team from Chirpan took the gold:

Aз съм мъж (I am man), a PCV team with an EVS volunteer took the silver:

and Jason and Stacie’s team from Sliven rounding it out with the bronze:

Both Jason and Stacie have told me that this tournament has made their year and are especially pleased with the medals. There were five youth teams, four of which were from underprivileged backgrounds. They all had a great time. I would also like to mention “Тийм Ю. Ес. Е.” which, in Bulgarian means nothing. However, it is phonetic Bulgarian for “Team USA”.

People started trickling in on Friday afternoon. I tried to met everyone at the train or bus stop. Everyone dropped their stuff off at my apartment and then headed out to the Italian restaurant in town. We were later joined by Andrew and Tim, two COSed B-18s (Peace Corps Volunteers who closed their service just after we arrived) who were working their way from Portugal to China, holding workshops to tear down stereotypes, youth development and other standard Peace Corps work, except they were doing this one their own. You can read more about it here. Unfortunately, they didn’t raise as much money has they hoped and are cutting their trip short here in Bulgaria. Andrew, however, is continuing on, Trevor Lake-style, to Mongolia. They were awesome guys and shared lots of insights into Peace Corps life in Bulgaria, their projects while in service and a glimpse of what life is like after COS. It was also great being able to swap some war stories and having something to relate to these veterans. They were also present at the first football tournament which gave me an idea how this one measured up.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, it was cool and overcast, but not too cold. Perfect. The day started out with speeches by the mayor and the director of the at-risk children’s center. The PCVs then played the municipal team. It was pretty intimidating, they wore uniforms and warmed-up in unison. I think I even saw some of them marching in sync to the stadium. Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, you have a bunch of mis-match Americans wondering about, catching up on the latest gossip, playing Frisbee, generally looking clueless and wearing by bed sheets (I guess it’s some sort of tradition). Surprisingly, we won. But you could tell, after they scored their first and very fast goal, they lost their luster. Their goalie stopped using his hands and they didn’t break out of of quick jog. We later learned we were warming them up for an actual game. Either way, we had fun.

The actual tournament was organized in two groups: Bulgarians and Americans. This was generously arranged to give us Americans a sporting change. The games were single elimination and were 20 minutes with a five minute break. They were four on four and sometime five on five with no goalies. I played on the municipal team and were shutout by Аз съм мъж 4-0. I’m going to blame it on my lack of a red jersey. My team mates didn’t see me; I was their saving grace. Or something like that.

The tournament wrapped up with an awards ceremony and beer for all those of age. A wonderful finale. All the PCVs who stayed with me came back to my apartment to clean up and then went down the Flamingo for lunch. After we were presentable, we caught a train to Plovdiv for dinner. After a night out on the town, we came back to my apartment. The following morning, everyone left for their site or next adventure. Everyone was gone by noon. It got really quiet really quickly and I missed everyone immediately. It was great playing host and I hope they all had a great time. I cannot thank the participants and the sponsors enough for making this a smashing success. I will be putting this event on next year.

Charity Football Tourny
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4 Responses to “Charity Football Tournament”

  1. Angelito Quijano Says:

    Awesome man. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a group to join in on the next tournament if and when it happens!

  2. From “горе-долу” to “много добре” « Chronicling Bulgaria Says:

    […] looking for me. She was from the At-Risk Children’s Center and had a bag of gifts for me for raising money for the Center. She thanked me for helping organize the tournament. I told her it was my pleasure. […]

  3. Project Updates « Chronicling Bulgaria Says:

    […] for a while and I finally got a meeting with the director. She is still very appreciative of the charity football tournament I organized for them back in April. We talked quite a bit and she asked me to be and English […]

  4. Navcho Says:

    Hi

    interested in joining in the next tournament can you pass on all the neccessary information to me please.

    Thankyou

    Regards

    Navcho

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