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Fort Rucker hosts 1st 3-vs-3 soccer tournament

CW3 Neil Freckleton, Wings team player, works to get past Staff Sgt. David Seymour, NCOA team player, during the installation’s first 3-vs-3 Indoor Soccer Tournament at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center Sept. 6. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

CW3 Neil Freckleton, Wings team player, works to get past Staff Sgt. David Seymour, NCOA team player, during the installation’s first 3-vs-3 Indoor Soccer Tournament at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center Sept. 6. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: September 12, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 12, 2014) -- Ten teams battled it out over 19 games in a single day during the installation’s first 3-vs-3 Indoor Soccer Tournament hosted by the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center.

The games took place at the PFC on two of the basketball courts located in the gym, and were played in fast-paced, 20-minute games split into two halves spread over the course of the day, according to Steven Pitruzzello, recreation assistant supervisor for the physical fitness center.

“The tournament was awesome,” he said. “Because the tournament was only in one day, we decided to put a limit on the amount of teams participating, but the response of the patrons was excellent.

“Also, seeing all the player Families coming to the gym to assist and cheer at the games brought a lot of excitement,” he continued. “During the tournament, (there was a lot of) sportsmanship and excellent conduct from all the players and coaches.”

Prizes and trophies were awarded to the top teams of the double-elimination tournament with top spots going to: Blitz, in first place; Wings, in second place; and S.P.Q.R., in third place.

In addition to the 10 teams, there were three teams of juniors that battled it out in the Juniors League, with team Votos Locos snagging the top spot.

CW3 Neil Freckleton, Wings team player, said he enjoyed the chance to play in the tournament and remarked on how different the game is versus playing on a full field with a full team.

“This is pretty fast paced, and things you’re really used to doing on (a regular field) are pretty difficult to do here,” he said. “We’re just looking for the quick touches to get across the half line and get a shot. You don’t really have time to do anything fancy, so it’s all about going back to the basics when playing here.”

Because of the short time span of the games and the small court, Freckleton said that he found this version more difficult to play than conventional soccer.

“Playing indoors is a lot more challenging because there’s so little space and it moves so fast that you can’t make too many mistakes,” he said. “So, you’ve got to minimize your mistakes to get your shot. You don’t have time to play around – you’ve just got to get on with business.”

Freckleton’s drive and commitment paid off as his team finished second, but the tournament wasn’t all about prizes and trophies, but more about building a sense of community, according to Pitruzzello.

“We decided to open the tournament to not only Soldiers, but to (Department of Defense) civilians and even the general public,” he said. “We did this because I think that events like this help to increase the integration between Soldiers, Army civilians and the surrounding community.”

Building that sense of community was one of the motivating factors in bringing the soccer tournament to Fort Rucker, but another factor was the fact that the installation doesn’t have a soccer league for adults to play on.

“The goal was to not only promote physical fitness and to enhance morale and wellbeing, but to promote a Family event,” said Pitruzzello. “I can say that the mission was accomplished. (And furthermore), this event was a great opportunity for all of Fort Rucker’s soccer players to meet each other and promote this beautiful sport.”

Pitruzzello said that the soccer tournament was a good way to test the market for potential leagues, and according to the assistant supervisor, the interest is clearly there.

“We were planning on scheduling the next tournament in April, but because of all of the positive feedback and the turnout, we might have to change our plans,” he said. “We have a lot of people asking about the next one, so we would like to hold these more often than just twice a year.”

This article was originally published at

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