The 3v3 LIVE Soccer Tour is an event owner, hosting tournaments nationwide for ages six through adult. The organization, which has been operating since 2002, endorses small-sided soccer as a means of player development, enhancing decision-making, technical attributes, tactical knowledge and physical conditioning through functional movements. Additionally, the fact that there is no goalie means each player has more touches on the ball and allows each player to score more often.
The 3v3 LIVE Soccer Tour hosts qualifying events and winning teams advance to regionals. Out of those, a total of 25 teams will play in the national championships.
Sports Destination Management: We know the 3v3 LIVE Soccer Tour has a number of tournaments throughout the year. How many do you put on all together?
Travis Tew: We do 160 events per year.
SDM: Approximately how many teams participate in each tournament?
Tew: It varies by location, but we average 70 teams. Some tournaments, there might be 40-50 teams. For our national championships, we get at least 180 teams; we’re expecting 200 to 220 this year.
SDM: Are players that compete in 3v3 Soccer the same ones that compete in tournaments run by other organizations, such as US Youth Soccer?
Tew: It’s a lot of the same regular soccer teams; at the same time, it’s a group that is really trying to become elite. 3v3 has become known as a training tool and the coaches who understand that are the ones who bring teams.
SDM: Are your tournaments running the same time as more traditional soccer?
Tew: We try to have events during the off-season of regular soccer – a lot of our events are in the summer months which are supposedly the downtime for regular soccer. That time of the year is becoming known as the 3v3 season.
SDM: Do you see paid coaches or more on the volunteer side?
Tew: For 3v3, it’s not always the paid coaches and the professionals who coach; we rely on parents to get their teams together.
SDM: Since 3v3 soccer has a maximum of six players per team, that has to make it easier to assemble the correct number. What is the demographic like, age-wise? Where do you see the largest concentration of players?
Tew: The biggest group is 7-12-olds. Generally, we see kids playing up until they’re in the 13-14-year-old range. After that, they have so many full-sided soccer opportunities in high school, travel teams, rec leagues and so on.
SDM: Year over year, do you see the same teams coming back to regionals and to the championships?
Tew: Yes – we get a lot of repeat teams. The average team will play in three events.
SDM: What are you looking for when it comes to host sites?
Tew: Local events are different from national events; you won’t see as many teams traveling in for a local tournament. As a result, we ask a lot less of those cities since they’re not going to get a lot of heads in beds.
SDM: What are you looking for when it comes to the bigger tournaments like the national championships?
Tew: We ask our host cities to help us find a local soccer club who can assist with the tournament. We pay them to help market it to their contacts. We also ask that they provide the venue. We take care of everything else; we’ll assist with marketing, registration, we’ll bring in staff to help run it.
SDM: And with the regionals?
Tew: For regionals, we’ll see more teams traveling in and we do ask for a bid fee.
SDM: What are you looking for with national tournaments?
Tew: We look for areas that have some good draws – something that will make teams want to come in from five to six hours away. Whether that means or an amusement park or the beach, they’re really going to be looking for stuff to do. So for example, this year, we’re going to Memphis and we’re really trying to market the destination as well as the tournament. We want an area that is accessible by a good base of our membership by air or by driving. Of course, we need hotel space – we had close to 1,500 room nights at our last championships – and places for people to eat.
SDM: Is getting a berth to the tournament desirable for teams?
Tew: It is – we started giving teams who win our regionals a free draw into our national championships. It turns out that if the best teams are going, everyone else wants to play. We’ve been doing that for three years and it has grown. We’ve seen a good 10 to 15 percent jump and we’re now actually having to turn away teams.
SDM: Are you taking bids now?
Tew: Yes, the 2019 championship is in Memphis so we’re now looking for a host in 2020.
After this – our bids are open and we’re looking for 2020. The national championship is usually held in late November and early December.
SDM: Does 3v3 Soccer also host trade shows or expos in conjunction with its national tournaments?
Tew: We don’t – we just focus on play, although we have some thoughts about doing a mixer or a dance party – some kind of event where kids can get together and parents can have hors d'oeuvres. It would be nice to host an award show or something. We haven’t done that in the past because we’ve been more focused on growing the tournament side of things.
SDM: What do you think 3v3 offers kids that playing on larger soccer teams doesn’t?
Tew: It really offers kids more opportunities to develop as players. It’s faster-paced and it develops quick reflexes, but also it teaches good decision-making because kids are involved in every play. When there’s only three of you on the team and no one person who is a goalie, you have more touches on the ball. It’s kind of an Americanized soccer. We just need to be doing more of it. It needs to be part of the mainstream culture.