700 Soccer Players Competed in ASA FIFA 20 Online Tournaments
What happens when you can’t feel the green grass under your feet and kick the soccer ball? Enter the virtual world of FIFA 20 and experience some of the excitement, at least virtually.
During these unprecedented times which has forced the cancellations of all tournaments and cups, the Arizona Soccer Association has found ways to engage with its community by taking the tournaments off the field and into the home.
Launched just three weeks ago, Arizona’s FIFA 20 Online Tournament has been a massive success with more than 700 players competing in a free single-elimination tournament.
“This was an idea that we have kicked around for a while and once the cancellations of soccer matches started, our CEO, Rick Kelsey, have the green light,” said Garrett Cleverly, Arizona Soccer Association Director of Communications.
“The rules and platform were drawn up and days later we announced our first tournament,” said Cleverly. “We had so many registrations the first week, more than 450 players signed up, that we decided to cap it at 128 players per platform, per week. The response continues to be overwhelming.
“Parents and players have really enjoyed how user-friendly we have made it.”Garrett Cleverly, Arizona Soccer Association Director of Communications
In a time of unprecedented circumstances and isolation, playing online has proven to be a great opportunity to keep the community engaged with one another.
How does it work?
At the beginning of each week, players are divided up into four divisions of 32 players. Players will play one match per day and the division winners advance to the Grand Finale which is held every Friday.
The Arizona Soccer Association then works with the players on a schedule so all matches can be streamed on Twitch consecutively.
“Not only have our players enjoyed playing in the tournament, but they have enjoyed the coverage we are giving it,” said Cleverly. “We’re communicating with the players and pumping out new graphics every week. In addition to posting the Twitch streams on our social channels, we’re posting updates on our Instagram stories and giving shout-outs all week long to winners.”
“I’m always looking at ways we can connect current pros from Arizona to our players,” said Cleverly. “I thought it would be fun to have our FIFA winners take on the pros, so I reached out and the first week we had LAFC‘s Bryce Duke and PSV’s Richie Ledezma take on our winners. In the second week we had Atlanta United‘s Brooks Lennon and Colorado Rapids‘ Niki Jackson.”
“Everyone has been thrilled and the pro players have engaging with our youth players and connecting with fans,” added Cleverly.
In the first three weeks of the ASA FIFA 20 Online Tournament, players have been required to play with Major League Soccer teams. In the coming weeks, the Arizona Soccer Association plans to add special events that will feature Champions League, LIGA MX, International, and Premier League teams.
Additionally, the Arizona Soccer Association is looking to enhance the overall experience and to engage more communities throughout the state.