FC Barcelona and Brazil star Neymar has announced plans for his second edition five-a-side tournament in the United States. His signature global football tournament was a huge success in 2016 with 10,000 teams and 65,000 participants in 47 countries spanning across six continents.
The sophomore edition of the tournament in 2017 will include regional qualifiers in 53 countries making the tournament that much more competitive while allowing more players to participate. Ten states in the U.S. will hold qualifiers with the tournament beginning on March 25 and the final taking place in June in Miami.
The 10 U.S. cities to host part of the tourney are Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Ney York, New Jersey, Kansas, Ohio and Colorado. A team out of Fresno, CA made it all the way to Brazil before ultimately being eliminated but the chance to travel to South America is an experience in itself.
The World Final will take place in Neymar’s hometown of Praia Grande where the 25-year-old wizard grew up playing and recently opened his Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr. The tournament was actually inspired from a childhood game he played alongside his buddies and carries similar rules. Its basically a 10 minute indoor soccer game with five players (ages 18-25) to a team and every time the opposition scores a goal, the other team loses a player.
“I always played with my friends, using small goals,” he said. “The tournament reminds me of my childhood and I am very proud of it. To win the five-a-side games and outplay them all, you need strategy and a good understanding of what the best moment is to attack and defend. A good defense is very important as well and can bring your team very far in the tournament.”
This game surely groomed Neymar into the star he is today and explains why he fits so well into the Barcelona system. The Barca philosophy is very cerebral and pays close attention to spacing and crisp passing. Five against five surely tests your technical ability to deliver quick passes under pressure and enhances your one-and-one take-ons.
Neymar’s inaugural tournament was won by Brazil’s own Anjos da Bola and the victors were rewarded with a trip to Barcelona to hang out with the 2016 Olympic champion at the Camp Nou training ground.
“Meeting the winners was incredible!” said Neymar Jr. “Now I can’t wait to see who makes it through to the 2017 World Final at my Instituto in Brazil.”
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