Get Tourney Experience With A Funfest
Five Tips To Get You Started
Does your AYSO Region want to try its hand at planning a tournament, but doesn't have any experience? Putting together a Funfest is a great way get your feet wet.
The Funfest in AYSO is a more casual event for teams within a Region to get in some games before the season, but without the pressure of a tournament. Teams play round-robin and there is no final.
"It's like a jamboree to kick the season off," said Dianne Stratton of the AYSO National Tournament Advisory Commission.
Stratton is very familiar with planning Funfests. She found them to be very useful for kicking off the new season. Funfests are very helpful as a regular part of an Area's event schedule in promoting more playing opportunities.
Funfests are all about providing "more soccer for more players," explains Stratton.
The event is mostly geared toward U-8 and U-10 players, but Stratton believes it can be adjusted to accommodate older age groups as well. Funfests are also good for Region staffers to meet players’ parents, for teams to become familiar with one another and for new coaches and referees to gain in-game training. It takes only a minimal amount of planning and financing, and can consist of as few as five teams. Stratton said the day is exciting for everyone involved, especially for those new to soccer.
“For the new kids, I hope they get the sense of AYSO and soccer, and it is just something really fun,” she said. “It’s a camaraderie-building event.”
Here are five tips for holding a successful Funfest:
1. Plan Ahead. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to figure out the location, date and budget for the event. It will make life easier for you and make the day more fun for the players.
2. Ask for Help. No matter how small or large the event, make sure you have a group of volunteers who are willing to assist. Delegate duties to others and communicate regularly with them.
3. Have the Basics in Place. You will not only need to have fields, balls and goals, but also have referees and first-aid kits lined up. Arrange to have refreshments and snacks. If the fields are not equipped with restrooms, plan to have “port-a-potties” nearby. If your budget is limited, ask parents to donate drinks and snacks. Optional items can include T-shirts and participation prizes for the players.
4. Be Creative. A Funfest doesn’t only have to consist of full games. You can also hold individual and small team activities like passing and dribbling competitions or juggling contests. Kids can compete during game breaks so they don’t have a lull during the day.
5. Have Fun! The idea behind a Funfest is for the kids to play some soccer without the pressure of a full tournament, and for the adults to get to know each other and make new friends. Don’t forget to enjoy the day!