Over at Top Drawer Soccer, Rebecca Thatcher Murcia­ has published two articles that provide some insight into how youth soccer is played in Colombia. She and her two sons moved there to be near her late husband’s family. What she­ discovered was a very different youth soccer culture, but not as different as you might have been led to believe. Kids play pickup much more, but competitive teams exist and flourish. Tournaments and training academies exist, and they play small sided matches – except in some cases it’s 11v11 on half a field. Talk about cramped!

Be sure to read both articles – they are an enjoyable read and I look forward to her upcoming book about their experiences in Colombia.

The funniest part of her experience had to be at the end of their first tournament:

At that point I was looking around and thinking I had noted all the differences between my first Colombian youth soccer tournament and a typical U.S. youth soccer tournament. Gabriel came up to me and said, “Mom, did you notice what all the adults are drinking?” I looked around and noticed that sure enough, just about every adult around was holding the dark-colored bottle of Aquila beer, the official sponsor of the tournament. I thought of all my friends in the U.S. who would appreciate the Colombian way of winding down a youth soccer tournament.

Reminds me of a fun thread over at NC-Soccer about tailgating at youth soccer tournaments. Some soccer parents are nutty enough sober, I can’t imagine throwing some alcohol into the mix!

H/T MR @ NC-Soccer