Featured NewsTrending NewsExposFIDA Drone Soccer World Cup Festa 2024


11 June 2024

By RoseAnn Denton

Traveling to South Korea to attend the FIDA drone soccer World Cup Festa 2024 and the Korea Drone Expo was not on my to do list for 2024. But this wonderful adventure became the highlight of my year for all things drone related.

My introduction to drone soccer started in 2021 at Commercial UAV in Las Vegas. At this conference, my team (Hollywood drones, Grossmont College & Camp of Champions) met Moon Hee Suh, Director & Board Member of FIDA (Federation of International Dronesoccer Association). We were amazed by this new-found sport incorporating drones in a soccer field-like caged arena (imagine Harry Potter Quidditch without the brooms!). I was soon introducing drone soccer to elementary through high school students all summer in Palm Springs School District and Saturday drone boot camps.

It was very apparent how popular this could become here stateside.

FIDA USA welcomed Grossmont community college to be the first sanctioned college drone soccer team in USA. We were off to a great start by indoctrination of students from our basic drone class to our drone soccer team. After the FIDA World Cup Festa 2024 invitation was received, we scrambled to get organized and figured out how to pack all the necessary gear. The chance to represent FIDA USA team and Grossmont College at the World Cup festa 2024 in South Korea was sure to be a highlight of my drone industry experiences.

The first meeting with FIDA in Incheon, South Korea was at a banquet dinner at Sondo Central Park Hotel that included live entertainment, amazing dinner and a host who included all team reps to start the team bracket schedule. The passion of the founders of FIDA was on full display. Here, I saw many countries with their teams all together in our dinner hall meeting each other for the first time.

We met teams from 18 countries to compete in the class 20 and class 40 categories. Some countries had as many as eight teams. Adult teams and secondary school age teams came to compete at a serious level. The feeling of camaraderie from all these different people with one commonality—love of drone soccer was infectious. Cheering on other countries, sharing technology and equipment help, and gifting swag to each other made this event so memorable.

Next day, at the Incheon Convention Center, we met with all the other teams and I realized they have been playing for years! FIDA USA team are newbies compared to France or China or Turkey to name just a few. As we pulled out our equipment, I looked around the convention center to the view of so many teams that travelled so far to compete really was inspiring. The passion and excitement and making new international friends was a big part of the four-day event. Thankfully, we won a few bracket matches in both the class 20 and class 40 events. Taking lots of selfies with teams and following new IG profiles was a fun part in between competing. We all learned a lot about this great new international sport (for instance, there is no such thing as having too many batteries!).

Adjacent to the competition was the Korean drone expo. I walked this expo on day three. The market for these UAS products was definitely security and military oriented. Drones with missiles attached was a product I thought never to see in person. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

This four-day event also included a fantastic night drone light show. Located in Songdo neighborhood—a beautiful open park in Incheon. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records was on deck to document this as the largest drone show to date with 5,293 drones in operation. The music and huge turnout of families that came to have this shared experience was quite special.

As I made my way back to USA airport customs desk, I was asked “ What was your purpose for visiting South Korea?”

I answered that I came to represent the USA in a drone soccer competition. The reaction from the federal agent made me realize I have a lot of work to do to share the news of how great the drone soccer sport is ( side note—he did not believe me), so at the end of this once-in-a-lifetime trip, all I can think about is Iooking forward to getting Grossmont FIDA USA team expanded and keep training for the next competition—FIDA 1st international World Cup 2025.

This drone pilot can keep dreaming!

Get Our Newsletter!

Don't miss out on essential news, industry updates, hot videos and photos, gear reviews, and more!