As the World Cup kicks off in South Africa June 11, Atlanta groups will launch a month-long soccer festival to raise money for a global children’s charity.
The inaugural Atlanta International Soccer Fest includes a one-day tournament and a month of World Cup viewing parties at local restaurants, which will donate a portion of sales on certain menu items. All proceeds will benefit SOS Children’s Villages, which offers homes for orphans and neglected children around the world.
Irene Bailey, who heads the local SOS volunteer committee, said she has been “stunned” by the community’s supportive response, crediting the World Cup fever and a growing support for soccer in Atlanta.
“It’s really refreshing to see the reaction to this,” she said.
Toni Castel and Derrick Jackson, leaders of the South African-American Chamber of Commerce, came up with the idea for an event that would tap into enthusiasm surrounding soccer’s biggest event, which is being hosted in Africa for the first time.
The South African chamber is working with the German-American Chamber of Commerce and the SOS volunteers to put on the event. Festivities begin June 11 with a reception celebrating South African culture at the World Trade Center Atlanta from 6-9 p.m.
On Saturday, the fest will hold its own “mini World Cup,” pitting 20 teams representing 18 countries, mostly from Atlanta’s consular corps and bi-national chambers of commerce, said Ms. Bailey. Between the matches, there will be live screenings of World Cup contests, including the highly anticipated battle between the England and U.S. teams.
The tournament will be held at Atlanta Silverbacks Park at 3200 Northcrest Rd. in Atlanta. Tickets are $5.00.
Ms. Bailey hopes the fest can build enough momentum for a repeat event next year.
“I would love to, if all goes well, make this an annual event and somehow tie this in with the Atlanta bid for the World Cup,” she said. Atlanta is one of 18 cities included in the U.S. bid to host the tournament in 2018 or 2022.
Full list of teams competing in the June 12 tournament:
–Argentina – represented by Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce
–Brazil – represented by Viver Magazine and the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce
–Canada – represented by Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta
–CBS Radio – represented by V-103/davefm/WAOK
–Chile – represented by Chilean American Chamber of Commerce
–Ecuador – represented by Ecuadorian Association of Georgia
–Ethiopia – represented by Desda Restaurant and Ethiopian community organizations
–France – represented by Enterprise Rhone-Alps International
–Georgia (Country of) – represented by Honorary Consulate of Georgia
–Germany – represented by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., combined team with the Consulate General of Germany in Atlanta
–Israel – represented by the Consulate General of Israel
–Kenya – represented by the Georgia Africa Chamber of Commerce
–Mexico – represented by Mexican American Chamber of Commerce
–Netherlands – represented by Holland America Chamber of Commerce; combined team with the Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
–Nigeria – represented by Nigerian community organization EGBA; combined team with the Nigerian International Chamber of Commerce and the Nigerian Consulate General
-SOS Children’s Villages – represented by the Atlanta Volunteer Committee of SOS Children’s Villages/USA
-South Africa – represented by South African-American Chamber of Commerce
–Switzerland – represented by Swiss American Chamber of Commerce
-U.S. – represented by Georgia Soccer