Monday, 21 November 2022

City of Football: Dalmatia's First Football Meetup Features Andy Goldie of Swansea City

November 21, 2022 - City of Football held its first meetup in Split on Sunday, featuring Andy Goldie, director of the Swansea City Academy. 

City of Football is an informal community taking football networking in Dalmatia to the next level. The first Meetup was held on Sunday at Fabrique Pub in Split, featuring the current Academy Director of Swansea City - Andy Goldie. 

Andy started his development journey at Dundee United as Academy Director, responsible for working with players from the U15s and U17s. He continued at Hamilton Academical FC, then became Middlesbrough FC's first team scout. 

His work was recognized by the Scottish Football Federation, where Andy was in charge of developing the elite performances of the most talented young Scottish footballers and was also an assistant coach of the young national team.

He achieved his greatest success as the director of Dundee United's Academy, where he earned top results from 2019 to 2022.

Andy lectured in front of a packed room of eager participants on the theme: "From one full-time employee to a talent factory." This theme walked us through his journey of creating and implementing the strategy for young talents within Dundee United's Academy.


"It is a great honor to be here today to present my work at Dundee United. I have often used Croatia in my analyzes and comparisons because it is fascinating that such a small country has great success in the world and European competitions and is always at the top. I am also glad that I had the opportunity to watch the pioneers and cadets of Hajduk and see firsthand the potential and quality of young players that this area offers," said Goldie at the beginning of his presentation.


The Meetup was opened by Andro Fistonić, the man responsible for launching the new City of Football community. 

"The idea was to start with informal events where we talk about football in a relaxed atmosphere. Meetups are quite normal in other industries, especially in the IT sector. What excited me is how they push each other forward, encourage knowledge sharing, and ultimately encourage people to stay in this region. The idea is to gather people who want to know more about football, from coaches, parents, managers, and investors. Through this Football Meetup, they can encourage and improve football development in Dalmatia," Fistonić said.


Andy Goldie presented the results of three years of work at Dundee United's Academy. He explained how with a clear strategy and plan, he raised the budget from 60,000 GBP and one employee to 400,000 GBP and fulfilled the goals of development and return on investment. 


TCN caught up with Andy after the event to hear his thoughts about kicking off City of Football:

"When Andro presented the opportunity and explained the program and its future, I was excited. I think it can significantly impact this region, not only on the professional side of the game but also on the recreational and business side. It will help to build that connection and understanding and, ultimately, a more strategic direction. 

This is my second visit to Split. I fell in love with it when I first visited and still love it. I love how it mixes modern and traditional. It feels authentic - nothing is commercialized here."

And his thoughts on Hajduk this season?

"Hajduk has had a period of struggle and had to refind who they are. It appears that they have refound their identity. They understand the process it takes to succeed, and it looks like they're getting that back. In football, anything is possible. Given my strong connection to Hajduk, I bought my two sons Hajduk tops to bring back home. We will definitely be supporting Hajduk."


After the presentation, there was a Q&A with Andy, followed by networking among the attendees.

"The general impression is very positive. The pub area was full, and the Q & A lasted about 30 minutes, meaning the attendees were confident to discuss and connect with the topic and speaker. The attendees included primarily coaches, but there were also agents, parents, futsal and football players, and some potential football investors. The versatile audience improved the discussion with different perspectives on the given topic," Fistonić said. 

So, what's next for City of Football?

"The next Meetup will be in about two months. The idea is to continue bringing people who proved themselves internationally. For example, in the next Meetup, you can expect to see local football workers building something extraordinary in Dalmatia or Croatia. Things that you don't hear about in the media," concluded Fistonić. 

The next Meetup is scheduled for early February.

All photos by Duje Bonačić

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Sportyn App Activates New Challenge Feature at Dalmatinko Cup - And Rakitić's Autographed Cleats are Up for Grabs

June 23, 2021 - The Sportyn app will activate its new Challenge feature at the international youth football tournament Dalmatinko Cup this week, where the best footballing skills presented via the Sportyn application will receive the grand prize from Croatian football star Ivan Rakitić! 

Organized by the Dalmatinko Association, Dalmatinko Cup is one of the largest international youth football tournaments in Croatia. It is also the first youth football tournament with competition for both boys and girls in its program.

Guided by three components - sports, tourism, and social responsibility, the organizers endeavor to allow the youngest footballers to socialize through sports competitions with peers from other areas, all while promoting Dalmatian tourism, healthy living, and helping those in need. 


Dalmatinko Cup

“The Dalmatinko Cup was created in 2016 after I visited many football tournaments with my eldest son and saw that the vast majority of them are reduced to just playing football. My desire was to provide children with much more than that - I wanted children to enjoy sports, socialize, and accept tolerance and equality to become better people.

I wanted to create a project that will give children from all over the world, coaches, and parents the opportunity to get to know Croatia's beauties, culture, and heritage. So we created a synergy of sports, social responsibility, and tourism, and then difficultly, created friendships and partnerships with many clubs. Over time, the story of the Dalmatinko Cup, a top organization, children's development, and the values ​​we promote, has led us to today, and we now cooperate with clubs from 23 countries. As a result, Dalmatinko Cup is one of the largest sports projects in Europe,”  said Dalmatinko Cup organizer Domagoj Bojčić. 

Dalmatinko Cup organizers strive to be active participants in society and community development, promoting sportsmanship, fair play, tolerance, and quality of life. They thus hope to engage in long-term cooperation with international sports teams, the local community, and the local economy. 

“The goals of the Dalmatinko Cup are to promote tolerance, gender equality, fair play, and equal opportunities for all children. Our slogan is ‘More than football,’ and in addition to the exceptional sporting quality of the tournament, we offer all participants a whole range of additional facilities, tours, excursions, and the feeling of playing the World Cup. Furthermore, Dalmatinko Cup is the only tournament in Southeastern Europe in which both boys and girls participate. We have 7 men's and 3 women's categories, and many looked at me in amazement when I decided to create a tournament for children of both genders. We are proud of this achievement.

Horizontal goals have imposed themselves. The development of sports tourism in Croatia has been a priority for us from the beginning because this tourist niche has huge potential. We have a beautiful country, a God-given climate, and top sports results, and we have to do everything to take advantage of such comparative advantages and create a real tourism product. The Dalmatian cup gives just that.

Another horizontal goal is to foster social responsibility and an awareness that we must take care of others. We have to teach children the right values, after all, 99% of them will not be professional athletes, but our task is to create better people. Also, altruism, volunteering, and the desire for the community in which we live to be of better quality must be our priorities,” added Bojčić. 

In 6 years, the Dalmatinko Cup has gathered over 15,000 athletes from 23 countries. While the COVID-19 pandemic has set limitations in holding this year's tournament, it could not stop the organizers from letting the kids play, all while following epidemiological measures, of course. 


Dalmatinko Cup

Despite the pandemic, this year’s tournament boasts 170 teams from 11 countries. 

“We will have about 12,000 overnight stays, and our guests will stay for a few days after the tournament is over. The promotion of Croatia through the Dalmatinko Cup is fantastic, and the strength and quality of the tournament is at the very top of Europe,” said Bojčić. 

Thus, from June 24 to 27, Dalmatinko Cup will be held in Kaštel Gomilica (NK GOŠK), Trogir (NK TROGIR), Solin/Vranjic (NK Omladinac), and Split (HNK Hajduk), including around 2,000 participants from Croatia and abroad, in under 8 to under 17 age groups! The opening ceremony will kick off the tournament on the evening of June 24 in Marina Kaštela. 

But the beauty of the Dalmatinko Cup is that the football competition is only part of it. 

The Dalmatinko Association prides itself in a completely new sports marketing model, which can be seen in the unique offer outside of football. The tournament not only encourages participants to explore the region with organized excursions to Split, Poljud Stadium, or in the museum town of Trogir, but they can even take part in an unforgettable ride at sea on the Plurato Sailfin electric hydrofoil board, suitable for both beginners and experienced watersport enthusiasts. 

However, the standout activity at this year's Dalmatinko Cup is presented by Sportyn, an AI video-sharing app to empower all athletes, designed to change the future of player promotion, developing funding, and sports recruitment. 


New on the app market, Sportyn was launched by a team of innovators, pro athletes, and entrepreneurs and has even joined forces with former FC Barcelona player and Croatia national team member Ivan Rakitić.  

Doing for sport what LinkedIn does for business, Sportyn harnesses the power of vertical integration in social media to level the playing field of sporting opportunity for 2 billion people, and it's activating its new Challenge feature at the Dalmatinko Cup.


So, what is the Sportyn Challenge feature all about? 

Across 4 days on these 4 Dalmatian football fields, Sportyn promoters will encourage all attendees to become a part of the Sportyn worldwide sporting community by downloading this application for free. Sportyn promoters will show players and attendees how they can participate in Sportyn challenges to win attractive prizes at the tournament.

Two unique challenges will be presented at the Dalmatinko Cup, where players will demonstrate their football skills and tricks, namely, through ball precision and football techniques to a global audience. 

Daily winners will be selected by the number of views, ratings, shares, comments, and others generated by their Challenge video within the Sportyn app, with daily winners awarded and the MVP player of the tournament named based on an all-time high score! In addition, the MVP will get to take home the grand prize - brand new football cleats signed by Ivan Rakitić! 


“Sportyn is happy to be a part of the Dalmatinko Cup, a sports tournament that shares our same values. We work hard to empower athletes and strive to find ways to support and promote sports and athletes. We hope that all participants will download the Sportyn application to promote Dalmatinko Cup and become a part of the world's fastest-growing sporting community,” said Sportyn founder & CEO Ivan Ilečić.

Sportyn will also host a meet & greet with Croatian football greats, including Stipe Pletikosa, Robert Jarni, and Mile Rapaić! 


The Dalmatinko Cup closing ceremony and awards will take place after the tournament’s last game. Held at NK Trogir, team and individual awards will be enhanced by 2 acapella singing groups, brass music, and entertainment for all ages. 

The matches of the tournament are broadcast live, with the images of Dalmatinka and Dalmatia reaching all over the world. 

“The final, which takes place in Trogir at perhaps the most beautiful stadium in the world, which is literally on the sea and between two towers, is something to experience first hand,” concluded Bojčić. 

All will have a fab footballing time!

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