Prior to the Red Bulls’ October 18 match against the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena, New York Red Bulls Training Programs held the inaugural 3v3 Futbolinho Tournament. Alongside the many activities at the BULLevard, six teams, representing both RBTP club partners as well as clubs new to the Red Bulls, were invited to compete in the round robin stages of this tournament with four teams making the playoffs. The teams participating were: RBNY RDS, Hoboken City FC, Central Brooklyn SC, RBNY Academy, Ironbound SC (Newark) and Just One Soccer League (Newark).
Futbolinho is the Red Bulls’ version of futsal, and comprises a fast-paced, small-sided curriculum that focuses on individual skills such dribbling, moves, and turns. Played using low rebound size-two soccer balls, each player spends maximum contact time on the ball, therefore improving their confidence and composure while in possession.
The goal of the Futbolinho tournament was to encourage players to play where ever they can, especially if they don’t have access to a traditional soccer field. Futbolinho aims to inspire players to play in any safe area available, such as a small patch of grass in a park, a safe sidewalk area or a safe empty alley in town. For many years soccer has been played on any small or large patch of grass, concrete, cobblestone, sand and more. In doing so, this has helped produce great players and develop an irreplaceable love for the game.
As the tournament began, the music started playing from the Red Bull DJ, and the players were off and running. Onlookers witnessed amazing skills and goals from individual dribbling efforts, lofted passes, volleys and one-touch passes in a condensed area. The participants played with intensity fostered by the small-sided play of Futbolinho.
After the round robin stage, the semifinals were set. Central Brooklyn SC faced Ironbound SC while RBNY Academy took on Hoboken City FC. Both semifinal matches were hard fought and set the stage for a final showdown between RBNY Academy and Central Brooklyn SC. In a back-and-forth match, RBNY Academy emerged victorious in the championship, 7-6.
In the end, this tournament wasn’t about trophies, recognition or victories beyond the competitiveness on the field; it was a way for players to enjoy Futbolinho - a new and more urban friendly type of game - to make some new friends, and simply get out and play. Look out for more tournaments hosted at Red Bull Arena prior to matches in 2016 and in urban settings throughout New York and New Jersey.