MLS Futbolito wraps up summer-long tour
September 19, 2010
A steady rain Saturday afternoon did not stop 76 local amateur soccer teams from competing in
¡Futbolito! – Major League Soccer’s Official 4-on-4 Soccer Tournament – at Delta Park in Portland. In its seventh year of existence, the 13-date summer-long tour wrapped up with its first-ever trip to Portland. Saturday was the tour’s only appearance in the Northwest while it attempts to boost the popularity of the sport in the U.S. As the name ¡Futbolito! might suggest, there is an emphasis placed on getting bilingual American soccer fans involved.
¡Futbolito!, which kicked off its four-month excursion throughout the country on May 23 in Miami, has provided competition for over 1,400 teams this summer, including a record 198 on July 10 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Saturday’s games were spread over 24 fields at Delta Park and across six different competition brackets: Youth (boys and girls); Adult Recreation (men and women); and Adult Premier (men and women). In the Adult Premier level – the tournament’s most competitive format – teams competed for a $2,000 cash prize with a $1,000 award for runners-up.
Teams were encouraged to get creative with their uniforms, as evidenced by the Adult Premier championship match, which featured a team with Romanian national team jerseys against a squad with the Russian ‘CCCP’ across the chest on their red kits.
With only four players on each side, there is no goalie, and the field is just 90 feet long and 60 feet wide. Gameplay sees frequent starting and stopping as well as players taking shots at the goal from deep in their own end.
There were a number of sponsor booths where fans could experience and learn about new products, as well as several food options for players and fans alike.