San Jose, Calif. - MLS Futbolito, the League's official 4-v-4 soccer tournament and grassroots program co-presented by Panasonic and the RadioShack Corporation which targets the League's growing multicultural fan base has returned in 2004. The 2004 MLS Futbolito tournament in San Jose will be held at Spartan Stadium beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 12 with teams from around the Bay Area competing.
The 4-v-4 tournament is played on scaled down fields of approximately 20x30 yards and is open to players of all ages, abilities and affiliations. Team rosters can consist of up to seven players (four field players and three substitutes) and each team will play a minimum of three games in round-robin action, with the possibility of advancing to the single-elimination championship playoff.
MLS Futbolito, also sponsored by Honda and Yahoo en Espaqol, will again feature the presence of legendary midfielder Carlos "El Pibe" Valderrama. A seven-time MLS All-Star and Futbolito spokesman, Valderrama retired following the 2002 season and remains MLS' all-time leader in assists (114).
Teams registered for the competition will be divided according to age groups and competitive levels. Winners of each division will receive prizes with the first and second place teams in the Premier Division competing for $3000 in cash prizes. In addition to the games, each registered player will receive a ticket to an Earthquakes game, a Futbolito t-shirt, and the chance to win prizes from co-presenting sponsors RadioShack and Panasonic.
In 2003, the event's inaugural year, each venue played host to over 4000 attendees and garnered an 88 percent approval rating from participants who rated their overall experience as either 'excellent' or 'very good'. In conjunction with each MLS Team, day-to-day operation and event management will be provided by San Francisco, Calif.-based BRC Group.
More information on the competitions and events in both English and Spanish can be found on the official web site for MLS Futbolito: www.MLSFutbolito.com, where teams can register for competitions, obtain complete lists of all rules and regulations and learn about the competition dates and locations. The advanced registration deadline is Thursday, June 10. Additionally, interested participants with questions can call toll-free at 866-965-7484. The entrance fee is $150 per team for those competing in the Premier Division and $120 per team for all other participants.