One of our nearby associations, Triangle United (formerly Chapel Hill United), started hosting a 3v3 tournament last summer to raise money for field renovations.  They play 3v3 games on 30yd x 40yd fields with age divisions starting at U6 and going to over 40.  Most of their fields were fescue (which means mostly clover) and they are raising money to turf them.  They’ve done a few and they’ve done an amazing job – the pitches are flat as a board – the grass is VERY short and thick and the fields drain VERY well.  I watched the contractor one time – he had a laser level receiver on his box blade and went around in circles until he had the field was completely flat (with a slight incline for drainage of course)  But I digress. The good part is the tournament is held on the new fields which are fun to play on.

Last year a few other MYSA coaches and I took 4 teams to this tournament.  Two in U6 and two in U8.  We found out about the tournament late so we only had a couple weeks to practice the new format.  The kids tried to grasp the 3v3 setup but its hard after playing larger games during their regular season.  In 3v3, passing is key since you have little room to maneuver.  It is also important to be able to play one on one and also try to keep a triangle formation when attacking.  But we went anyway, and got pounded in our morning matches.  But it was great to see our kids quickly get ahold of the 3v3 concept and in the afternoon matches, they put up a good fight.  But everyone had a LOT of fun.  We had matches where we lost 17-1, but the kids didn’t want to stop playing and didn’t get discouraged.  They had fun with this format.  Needless to say we raved about it to the rest of the coaches and I think participating played a large role in getting our U6 division down to small side levels (and hopefully that will extend to our other divisions this summer)

So this year, we’re looking at taking 7 or 8 teams to the tournament from U6 through U12.  Folks are really excited this year just because everyone, the players, parents, and coaches, had so much fun last year.  But I’m wondering if these types of tournaments are widespread in youth soccer.  I know 3v3 basketball and the like are common.  But do many associations to 3v3 or small side tournaments for older age groups?  We all need a break from soccer during the Summer, of course, and sumer camps seem to sprout like wildflowers each year, but are these types of exhibition or fundraiser type events widespread?  Guess I’m just curious. I’ll post an update on how our teams did next week.