"Meet the World" threw a football street party in central Gothenburg
SKF's initiative "Meet the World" gathers teams from across the world under one roof during the Gothia Cup Week.
Before Gothia Cup, each year SKF organizes domestic qualifying tournaments in several countries around the world. The winning teams from each country are rewarded with a trip to, and participation in, the world's largest youth football tournament for free.
Once on site, the winning teams from each country stay together at a school in central Gothenburg. To help the players get to know each other, and ultimately "meet the world", the week was kicked off with a football street party.
Initially, there was a somewhat tentative atmosphere as the teams met on the street outside the school for the first time. The Brazilians stood chatting with the Portuguese in one street corner, while the Belgians took a couple of selfies with the Latvians in another. Then someone turned on the music.
Slowly but surely, team after team gathered around the Spanish players, who immediately started dancing. Before the first song ended, an almost hundred-meter-long dance train had formed behind them.
– In Spain, we love to dance, so it felt natural to start dancing here too. It was fun that everyone else joined in because it felt a bit strange at first, but now that we're getting to know each other, it's clear that everyone is very kind and fun. We're really looking forward to the rest of the week now, says Alba Bermejo from Spain.
SKF's Chief Technology Officer, Annika Ölme, was present to give a short speech and thank the teams for their participation. She was very pleased and proud of the successful first gathering of the project.
– Many of the teams and players who come here through 'Meet the World' would not have had the opportunity to experience something like this without this initiative. It feels fantastic to offer young football-playing girls and boys this chance. Above all, this initiative is about reducing inequality and bringing people closer together. Moreover, they have a lot of fun in the process; there is fantastic energy here, she says.
After the speech and the dancing, the party was taken up a notch as the young football players got to socialize in the way they like best - by playing football. Several footballs were thrown out onto the street, and it didn't take long before the youngsters formed multinational circles to kick about together. Kārlis Miezis from the Latvian team was thrilled to finally have arrived.
– This event is really cool. I've already been freestyling with people from many different countries and made several friends, he says.