Street Soccer Bowl is still growing | local sports

The Owensboro Street Soccer Bowl keeps getting bigger and better.

For the fourth year in a row, teams, spectators and vendors have circled Legion Park this week to watch the tournament due to end on Sunday. Even Friday’s storms couldn’t stop this event, which features middle and high school as well as open adult bands playing in the afternoons and evenings.

“It’s just fun,” said Nikos Agisilau, who co-created the event with his brother Christakis. Both were prominent football players at Owensboro High School and Kentucky Wesleyan College. “At the end of the day, we look back when we played and we would love to have a tournament like this. I know the kids love it.

“If we’re not refereeing, playing or coaching, then we’re probably helping with the scoreboard.”

In fact, both brothers were in the school division game on Friday, with Nikos coaching one team and Christakis refereeing.

Despite spending almost a full week at the park, none of them showed signs of fatigue, especially since they see the impact they are making on the local football community.

“When my brother and I had a vision and a dream, we always imagined it,” Christakis said. “To see this happen within four years is simply mind-boggling. In the first year we had 15 teams and we didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know how many people would come out and watch. We didn’t know if the kids would like it.

“And now, four years later, we have 37 teams. We even had to turn down some teams because we only have one venue.”

The tournament even added silver divisions, similar to the junior varsity level, for high school and high school competitions this year.

From time to time, Nikos says, he tries to look around and appreciate what he helped build. This year, the event features teams from five different cities, with crowds of fans gathered in folding chairs and even tents to enjoy the outing.

“I just enjoy enjoying the fun games here,” he said. “I object, but I like the passion of children. I love the way they care, every game is critical to them – I love that.”

And, Nikos added, it continues to grow.

“We got a lot of sponsors and a lot of locals love it,” he said. “Overall, the Owensboro football community is growing. Back in the early 2000s, you were talking about futsal and everyone was like, “What are you talking about?” It’s a little different, but it’s just slowly growing.”

Nikos was a key figure in the construction of the street soccer ground in 2017 and he believes Owensboro is ready to build more grounds in the near future.

“Obviously we are very limited to one court,” he said. “We have exhausted our options and can no longer add teams. If we added another court, it would not only allow us to enter more teams, but also create a different atmosphere when two games are played at the same time.

“Hopefully we can launch another trial at some point. We don’t know when this will happen, but it will solve a lot of our problems and possibly shorten the duration of the tournament. It’s long but fun.”

Sometimes, Christakis added, even he can’t believe how much the Street Soccer Bowl has grown in popularity.

“It feels like we only built this thing yesterday,” he said. “I’m just really excited and grateful and I just love watching these kids play here. It was a lot of fun, so let’s continue like this.”

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