There are few things that Serbians love more than soccer. Even if family, religion, tradition, and nation come first, for Serbians, soccer can bind them all together. It is that love for Soccer that prompted several Serbian immigrants in Akron, OH to start a soccer team in 1998. Most of them were refugees fleeing war-torn Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, seeking sanctuary from the terrible conflict that afflicted the Balkans in the 1990s. It was soccer, along with family and church, which helped these refugees rebuild their lives in the United States.
And what better way to connect their lives in America to their homeland than name their soccer team after their national hero Gavrilo Princip, venerated by Serbians as a freedom fighter who fought to liberate all Balkan peoples from colonial rule. For Serbian Americans, Gavrilo represents the fight for survival after the war, and the pursuit of happiness in America. That is the spirit with which Danijel Trifkovic puts on his captain armband and leads FK Gavrilo Princip to the field. That is the spirit that makes them a tough team to beat and that led them to win the 2020 Akron Premier League Championship.
The foundations of Serbian American life in Akron are rooted in Saint Archangel Michael Church in Akron. School, folklore, religion, and family activities are all built around the church, and its values are the foundation of the identity of the team: Respect, hard work, and perseverance. This is what FK Gavrilo Princip brings to the field every time they play, from the leadership of Damjan Djosanovic, who represents the team, to the last player. When the team plays, the entire community comes together to support them. And often, after the home games are over, everyone is invited to take part in a celebration of Serbian food and traditions. The opposing team is even invited, just as long as they dont say anything about the rivalry between FK Partizan and Red Star Belgrade 😉
That spirit of community brings all Serbian American communities across North America together in national tournament – The Srbijada. This tournament is held every year during Labor Day Weekend and the host city is rotated every year. FK Gavrilo Princip has hosted the tournament many times, including the 2021 version, which will be held in Akron, OH. Participating and hosting this tournament is always one of KF Gavrilo’s greatest honors.
The Akron Premier League takes pride in the diversity and community of its teams, and it is proud to have FK Gavrilo Princip as one of its member teams. Идемо!