Virginia Cup and the World Cup

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Inaugural Soccer Six Virginia Cup is bringing the nation’s long-running 6-on-6 soccer tournament to Richmond July 9-11, and there’s still time for teams to sign up and play soccer at the same time the world’s best are playing in the last two matches of the FIFA World Cup.

Well, not exactly at the same time. Players in the 6-on-6 games will not have to chose between playing and watching what every soccer fan in the world will be watching. On Saturday, July 10, the tournament will break in time to watch the World Cup’s third-place match. On Sunday, the Virginia Cup finals will be done in time for the final of the World Cup.

The first-ever Virginia Cup is being hosted at Dorey Park. Action will start Friday evening at 7 p.m. and continue at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. There are nine adult divisions open to men’s, women’s and co-ed teams. Each team is guaranteed at least three games.

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“We’ve been doing these tournaments for at least 20 years. The thing that is cool about six-aside games is that everyone’s involved,” said Mark Weisner of Bear Foot Sports, the company organizing the event in Richmond.

Each game is made up of two 20-minute halves, with the fields and goals being about half the size of an 11 vs. 11 soccer pitch.

“Games start each hour, so it’s great for spectators. For the players, it’s fun, fast soccer with a lot of scoring,” Weisman said.

The divisions in the tourney range from open divisions with elite men’s and women’s teams to rec leagues.

While the best teams in the 6-on-6 tournaments include players with past college and pro playing experience, even the lower level teams are talented and competitive, said Weisner.

“You’ve had to have played some organized soccer in your life to be out there,” Weisman said.

At the same time, there’s a large pool of teams and players out there who could easily get eight or 10 players together for a good 6-player squad. “There are thousands of adult teams within a few hours’ drive of Richmond,” Weisman said.

After Saturday’s matches end around 1 p.m., there’s a players’ party scheduled for Buffalo Wild Wings, where the third-place game from South Africa will be on television.

The Virginia Cup’s semifinal and final matches will be played Sunday morning and will be over in time to find a television for the World Cup’s grand finale.

The registration fee is $300 per team. The top two teams in each division will receive a team trophy and gift packages. Admission will be free for all spectators.