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Samll-Sided Tournaments

There is a growing trend toward small-sided tournaments that we wanted to cover in this part of the site. Most Youth soccer leagues throughout the country long ago embraced the concept of small-sided soccer as a means of developing young players. Gone are the days of twenty-two kindergarteners chasing a ball around a massive regulation-sized field, with most barely getting a handful of touches on the ball.

Most tournament organizers, therefore, will offer 6v6 or 8v8 options for their younger age groups. (If they don’t you should seriously ask yourself if it’s a tournament you want to attend). There are also, of course, beach tournaments and indoor tournaments where they employ a 5v5 or a 6v6 format out of necessity.

But there is a growing subset of regular, grass-field tournaments that offer small-sided play as a standard format for their entire event, and there are a number of benefits to this for both organizers and competing teams.

For organizers there is the ability to host a number of games on a relatively small patch of land. A 4v4 tournament, for example, may allow the entire competition to take place at one location, rather than having to spread games over a number of fields all over town. Small-sided events also seem to be a little less intense than full-field tournaments and behavior issues with parents and coaches seem to be less of a problem.

For competing teams, the benefits of small-sided tournaments can be summed up in two words: More Touches. Small-sided soccer will give every player on the team so much more time on the ball that they can not help but develop better technique. Tactics are far less important than technical ability in small-sided format, and that has the effect of taking the game away from the coaches on the sideline and placing it back where it belongs: in the hands (or rather, at the feet) of the players themselves.

Strangely enough, one of the bigger players in the area of small-sided tournaments is Major League Soccer, whose MLS Futbolito series combine a 4v4 soccer tournament with a day-long soccer festival that helps promote the pro league to the Hispanic community.

Then there is the Kick-it 3v3 tournament series, which hosts dozens of events all over the country, and culminates with the “Kick-it 3v3 World Championships” at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. And Brad Friedel’s much acclaimed Premier Soccer Academies recently launched the Fever 5 Futbol Tournament Series at regional locations across North America.

So small-sided soccer tournaments are definitely on the up and up. In this part of the site we’ll be listing all the small-sided tournaments we can find and providing articles and insights into the whole phenomenon of small-sided soccer. If you know of any we should be listing, let us know by filling out our soccer tournament submission form.


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