Thousands expected at weekend soccer festival

By Richard Yager….
Termed a “dream event” for soccer fanatics, an inaugural two-day Miami Soccer Festival and team competitions are expected to draw thousands to Kendall Soccer Park during the July 30-31 weekend.

The festival, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, is hosted by the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Soccer 5 USA, which installed special reduced-size fields for five-member team play last year.

The festival, taking place at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave., will feature a full range of youth, adult and coed teams playing in various 11 vs. 11, 7 vs. 7 and 5 vs. 5 tournaments on the park’s five regulation and its new 5×5 fields. Team tournament participation costs are $175-$325, depending on numbers of players.

The weekend will have additional benefits.

“New and gently used soccer gear will be collected onsite for international distribution to help grow the game in underserved communities,” said Scott Georgeson, Soccer 5 president.

Donations for the U. S. Soccer Foundation’s Passback Program are sought from both competitors and spectators. Since 2002, Passback has collected and distributed over 800,000 pieces of soccer gear.

“Soccer is a unifying force that brings together people of all ethnicities and has the power to open doors, hearts and minds of those who play,” Georgeson added. “All clubs that register are entitled to a donation to use for their own programs.

An international flavor will be added by a Soccer Village featuring live bands, special appearances by pro soccer players, Soccer 5 Live tricks, juggling, and world-record attempts at the sport’s specialties.

Food and beverages from more than a dozen soccer countries such as Brazil and Italy will be featured, as well as merchandise and virtual FIFA PS3 and Xbox tournaments for soccer fans.

For more information, contact Georgeson at 1-888-575-2976.  Proceeds of the event will support the Soccer 5 Foundation and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade to create additional playing venues.ia

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