With kids from fifteen countries playing in Foča has communication been a problem?
"They’ve been doing great," smiles Paul, "They’ve been doing body language, sign language, a little bit of English. One of the main reasons why we’ve been getting on so well with everyone is because we support Liverpool and, as you know, Liverpool is one of the greatest teams in Europe!"
While fun was definitely on the agenda, there was of course a bigger picture. "The European Commission, the European Council, are quite abstract for the people here so we bring something concrete to a small town,“ says Boris Iarochevitch from the Delegation of the European Commission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. "It’s a way to promote the EU and its values but it’s important for us to bring the different communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region together.“
On the pitches of Foča it’s football rather than politics which is the main focus. The young competitors are enthusiastic about their experiences. "I’ve learned that it’s easy for me to get on with people who speak different languages. It’s taught me a lot about myself," said one girl from London while an Irish boy added; "I’ve made friends with Romanians, Bosnians, Poles. I can’t even keep count but after this I’m still going to keep in touch with them!"
A girl from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said; "I’ve learned how to master my emotions and how we can win without hurting anyone,“ and a German boy remarked; "I’ve learned that all nations can play in harmony together."
While fair play and communication were the main messages, all eyes were nevertheless on the final to see who would walk away as Street Football European champions. As the sun began to set behind the stunning mountain range which surrounds Foča, a frantic match drew to a close and Bosnian team Doboj walked away with the winner’s trophy.