Threes wild on Vail soccer field this weekend
This weekend, it’s time for a little 3-on-3. OK, not a little, but a whole lot of 3-on-3.
More than 400 teams from Colorado and surrounding states from 6-year-olds to adults will be participating in the 3 vs. 3 Rocky Mountain Soccer Regional Tournament at Ford Park and the Vail Athletic Field. And among the masses of cleats, soccer balls and soccer enthusiasts will be the Vail Velocity U-14’s, a local entry, coached by the Vail Recreation Department’s Joel Rabinowitz.
The quintet of Julia Burnett, Kori Landauer, Emily LyBarger, Sydney Nichols and Kelsey Sanders will be competing in the 10-team, U-14 field, shooting for one of the tournament’s five berths in nationals to be held in Florida later this year.
The action is sure to be fast and furious under the tournament’s format. With a field of 40 yards by 40 yards and no goalies, plenty of goals are to be expected.
“With 12-minute halves, three people a side and no goalies, it’s extremely fast-paced,” Rabinowitz said. “The kids have to play both ways – offensively and defensively. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”
And it also goes a long way to helping develop the skills of players of all ages.
“From my perspective, this is a wonderful skill-building experience,” Rabinowitz said. “Your first touch has got to be right on. You’ve got to always be moving. There’s no standing around. There’s constant motion.”
The Velocity qualified for this weekend’s tournament by virtue of a strong performance on the Front Range in Westminster a few weeks ago. The team starts pool play today at 11:30 a.m. against the Nebraska Extreme. On Saturday, Vail takes on the Colorado Blue Jays at 8:30 a.m. followed by the Kansas Rage at 3 p.m. The top two teams in the pool advance to the playoffs on Sunday.
“The keys for this weekend are to press the ball all over the field, take advantage on turnovers and bust back on defense. Defense wins championships,” Rabinowitz said.