TAVARES — With World Cup fever sweeping the country, Lake County is preparing to feel its own excitement on the pitch when hundreds of players of all ages compete in the inaugural Lake County PAL 3v3 Challenge on July 10-11 at Hickory Point Park in Tavares for one last chance to qualify for the National Championship at Walt Disney World.
“Sporting events are like mini-booms in business for local hotels and restaurants,” said Debi Dyer, Tourism Specialist with Lake County Tourism & Business Relations. “This event, in particular, is drawing teams from across the state and even internationally.”
According to event organizers, 3v3 soccer is one of the fastest growing types of soccer in the world. With only three players on each side, the game is faster paced on a smaller field with smaller goals, but no goalies. The Lake County PAL 3v3 Challenge is hosted by the Lake County Soccer Club Fundraiser for the Police Athletic Club and is organized by Florida Challenge Sports Events, Inc. It is open to ages 6 and up and teams are guaranteed a minimum of four games.
“It’s an additional event to our list of more than seven dozen tournaments, which are held year round and throughout the country,” said Mary Ann Genchi, Director of Marketing & Hospitality for Challenge Sports. “Since teams play multiple games in a day, it’s a lot like a festival atmosphere. The soccer families will come and set up their tents and basically camp out for the day.”
With teams committed from as far away as Denmark, the excitement surrounding the first-ever Lake County PAL 3v3 Challenge at Hickory Point Park, located at 27343 State Road 19, is it’s the last qualifier for the 3v3 Challenge Nationals on July 29-Aug. 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. The top four teams in each division at the PAL 3v3 Challenge qualify for Nationals. Individual awards are given to the first three teams in each division and players age 10 and younger get individual awards.
The host hotel for the soccer tournament is Mission Inn Resort & Club, located at 10400 County Road 48 in Howey-in-the-Hills. Nicker’s restaurant at Mission Inn is hosting a viewing party for the World Cup soccer final on Sunday, July 11, at 1 p.m.
For more information about the Lake County PAL 3v3 Challenge on July 10-11, including directions on how to register a team, log on to www.challengesports.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (321) 676-1373. For more information about Lake County vacations, call (800) 430-LAKE, log on to www.lakecountyfl.com or visit the Welcome Center, located at 20763 U.S. Highway 27 in Groveland.