Local team gets more than kicks out of Disney trip
An under-age-9 boys soccer team from Elgin, Cache and Lawton traveled to Walt Disney World and came home with more than park souvenirs. They won trophies for placing second at the Disney 3v3 Soccer World Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The E.C.L Arrows competed against 68 other United States and international teams.
Coached by Daniel Myers, the team consisted of Pasqual Arredondo, Samuel Aycock, Andrew Freeman, Troy Myers and Joshua Torkelson. The boys competed against teams from Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Three versus three, or 3v3, is soccer played on a small field, generally 20 to 30 yards wide and 30 to 40 yards long. There are no goalies and the goals are 4 feet tall by 8 feet wide.
Teams field four to six players and games consist of two 10- to 12-minute halves. A typical local tournament will last one day and teams may play up to six games including playoffs.
Carl Torkelson, team manager and assistant coach, explained the benefits: "3v3 is designed to get players more touches on the ball and forces them to use specific individual ball skills rather than just outsprinting or outmuscling an opponent. It also increases one-on-one confrontations in a smaller confined area where a player is constantly transitioning between attacking and defending," said Torkelson, a sergeant major stationed at Fort Sill.
'Hearts of champions'
Arrows players started their journey back in June, playing in qualifying tournaments in Tulsa and Mustang, finishing as runner-up and champions, respectively. Their placement in those tourneys qualified them to compete in the Heartland Regional Championships in Oklahoma City where they finished runner-up competing against teams from Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. That placing earned them an invitation to play in the Elite Invitational Division at Disney World consisting of mostly professionally affiliated clubs and academies.
At Disney World, Day 1 was pool play, in which four to six teams competed in a round robin format. Day 2 was bracket play in which the top teams to emerge from the round robin squared off in a gold bracket. The rest fell to the silver bracket and again played a round robin format. The four best teams to emerge competed in semi-final matches on Day 3.