Quick Kicks

It's a scene we've all seen: "GOOOAAAAL!" shouts the TV announcer as the soccer player scores, rips off his or her shirt and runs around the field.

While the Kick It 3v3 National Soccer Tour may not include TV announcers and overly excited shirtless athletes, there will be plenty of excitement to be had when the tour comes to Tucson this weekend.

Event director Hugo Hellberg says the tour makes about 60 stops each year. "We run about 45 to 50 local tournaments where the top teams qualify (for) our regional tournaments, and we have about 10 regional tournaments every year," he explains in an e-mail.

Here's how the tournament works: Each soccer team can have up to six players: three on the field, and three substitutes. There are no goalies. Games consist of two 12-minute halves; if a team reaches 12 goals, the game is over. Teams are placed in divisions based on players' experience. This form of soccer is growing rapidly in popularity among players and fans alike due to its faster, more energetic pace.

The Kick It 3v3 event—now in its 19th year—allows players of all ages and abilities to participate in competitive games while offering interactive activities for spectators. Teams will be competing for a chance to move on to the Kick It Regionals and, ultimately, the Kick It 3v3 World Championships, which are slated take place at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., next January.

While the registration deadline for the tournament itself has come and gone, spectators will have plenty to do, Hellberg says.

"Our sponsors will run interactive games with great giveaways," he explains. "There will also be lots of different vendors that will serve food, beverages, shaved ice, etc. Music will be played throughout the entire weekend."

The event will also include a stop by the National Soccer Skills Tour (www.soccerskillstour.com). At 11 a.m., Saturday, May 16, soccer players can test their skills against other players across the country; online registration is $20, and walk-up registration is $30. Check out the Web site for more information.

The Kick It 3v3 National Soccer Tour will attract a half-million players and spectators overall this year, according to organizer BEST (www.experiencebest.com), a sports and entertainment company which also organizes Hoop It Up (a three-on-three basketball tournament tour) and Let It Fly (a four-on-four flag football tournament tour).

Hellberg promises that the tour's Tucson stop will be "a great weekend of three-on-three soccer, lots of interactive games, music and vendors. It's a family oriented event with a festival atmosphere."

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