By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Youth Soccer Association and Life Time Sport will host a youth soccer tournament this weekend with a twist.

The parents and coaches are being pushed back from the sidelines and tournament organizers say that will actually benefit the players.

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“We talked about what if we have that earth-shaking moment of trying to change things,” said Cam Stoltz, director of league operations for the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association.

Life Time Sport and the MYSA are joining forces this weekend to do just that.

“An unstructured environment allows kids to be creative, allows them to take risks,” Stoltz said.

Normally parents are right up against the sidelines at tournaments, but this weekend will be a little different.

“We’re going to remove and have the parents about 30-feet … removed from the sidelines over there, and they’ll be kind of a line which the parents and the coaches are going to have to stand behind,” said Stephanie Hu, senior vice president of Life Time Sport.

(credit: CBS)

There will still be a referee, but the players will call the shots and make their own substitutions. Alan Goroztieta’s team will be playing at the tournament.

“This is a great change I think,” Goroztieta said. “We can tell the players how to play, but if you let them play their way, you know, they might surprise you coming up with new moves.”

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Parent Julio Rivera says this will help the players be more focused.

“They have to make the decision, and they’ll have to communicate more,” Rivera said.

Goroztieta, like many of the greats, grew up playing a different style of soccer. He acquired his skills on the streets his home country, Mexico.

“Around the world, some of the best players are the ones who played pickup all the time. That’s how you actually get good,” Hu said.

And organizers hope that this old-school style of play will infuse a bit of joy and freedom back into an already-beloved game.

“What we’re asking for a little bit is a culture change, just to look at it different,” Stoltz said.

Hu says the goal is to make this an annual tournament.

“But really maybe that we start to change the face of all tournaments,” Hu said.

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This unique soccer tournament is Saturday and Sunday at Life Time Sport Winter Park in Eden Prairie. Spectators are encouraged to cheer, but to keep comments to players and referees to themselves.

Erin Hassanzadeh