A football frenzy will converge on McEwen Reserve later this year with the Australian Football Skool International tournament returning to Shepparton for a fourth year.
More than 5000 people are expected for Victoria’s largest junior soccer tournament.
The three-day event, from October 27 to 29, will see 150 teams from across Victoria, interstate and overseas competing at one of Australia’s showcase sporting precincts.
McEwen Reserve has been upgraded with new fields and facilities ahead of the event, which tournament director Rolando Navas described as the biggest yet.
‘‘It is amazing, it is going to be huge, every year it keeps getting bigger and we are almost at our target of 150 teams,’’ Navas said.
‘‘There is no facility like Shepp’s, to be fair; they have arguably the best football facility in the state and now obviously with the new pavilion it is going to be a great occasion.’’
Last year’s event saw a combination of National Premier League, community, interstate and a team from New Zealand take part across two action-packed days.
A Friday night fixture has been introduced this year.
‘‘It is something special for the kids, they are rarely ever exposed to playing at night,’’ Navas said.
‘‘Hopefully we utilise the facilities and there will be a good vibe there with a football expo that we are hoping to run at the same time.’’
With age groups spanning from five to 17, Football Federation Victoria talent identification program representative David Davkovski believes the event is a step in the right direction with the region aiming to build the next budding star.
‘‘It is a fantastic event, it is a great platform and something that we are looking forward to seeing in Shepparton,’’ Davkovski said.
‘‘The council has built a great facility at McEwen Reserve and now we need to start putting it to use by hosting teams from near and far.’’
With the tournament open to children in a variety of age groups, Davkovski said regardless of if it was soccer, children needed to get outdoors and get active.
‘‘Sport is a must and the great thing about this tournament is that it will not only bring people to the area, but it will also get kids outdoors,’’ Davkovski said.
Up to 14, soccer is the most played sport in Australia and the state governing body representative believes such a tournament will expose young children to a high level of football.
‘‘With so many players and teams coming, the young children will be exposed to different styles, formations and tactics to help further develop their own game.’’
Registrations close on October 2, unless filled earlier.
To register, visit www.footballskool.com.au