Numbers rising in small-scaled soccer
LAND O’ LAKES -
The fields, goals and teams were all smaller than traditional soccer during the 3v3 Live tournament at the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex on Saturday, but nothing was condensed about the action, passion or participation.
The event attracted 50 teams in age groups ranging from U6 to adult. Eddy Costa, one of the event organizers, said that’s the most in its 3-year history in Land O’ Lakes.
“3v3 Live is this national thing that started in California and has just blossomed, and we wanted to bring it here,” said Costa, who added they had 33 teams last year. “Right now all the tryouts for club teams are done, so it’s a great way to have fun with soccer.”
Neal Rickmers, 3v3 tournament director for Florida and Georgia, said the Central Pasco County event is one of the five best attended in the state. He attributes that participation to the love of soccer in the area along with what the format offers players.
“You can’t hide in 3v3 soccer,” Rickmers said. “It’s great for training and it’s something different for the players.”
Academy at the Lakes sophomore Matthew Skairus said he had to adapt his play to 3v3.
“In regular soccer I try to play the ball out wide and use my speed, but with the smaller field you have to be more technically sound and you get more touches” Skairus said. “It’s a good way to work on those skills.”
Wiregrass Ranch sophomore Camille King said 3v3 also forces players to quickly shift between offense and defense.
“Since there’s only three if you lose the ball you have to get it back yourself because you only have two teammates,” King said.
King participated in the event for the second-straight year with members of her club team. She said a big reason they returned was the atmosphere.
“They’re always games going on, so if you’re not playing you can watch a ton of soccer,” King said. “It’s fun to watch, talk about what we’re going to do in the other games and just be around soccer all day.”
Correspondent Kyle LoJacono can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @Kyle_LoJacono.