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Ft. Lowell Shootout returns to Tucson

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 23:56:03-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - 575 games played by over 5,000 athletes will be taking place in Tucson this weekend.

The Old Pueblo hosts the 26th annual Ft. Lowell Soccer Shootout at Ft. Lowell Park.  

"It's so much fun," says Erin Kalher, a 13-year old member of the U13 Eintract Eagles team.

The fun begins with a parade and "Soccer Olympics" event on Friday evening.
"I like to see all the teams, everyone's different, some people have really tall hair, some people just go all out and have cool banners and things," Kalher says.
Over three-hundred teams travel from around the country to participate in the weekend event.  
"All I want to do is compete and play the game the right way.  It's improving the girls technically and technically making them better players," says Eagles head coach Nick Vitale.
"It's really good to see how different people play depending on where they're from," Kalher adds.
But it's much more than competing against out-of-state teams.
"What I like best about teams coming from out of state is that girls make friendships and boys make friendships, and especially now with social media, you have those friends forever!" Vitale says.
The weekend begins at 6 p.m. on Friday night with opening ceremonies, lighting of the torch, parade of athletes and Soccer Olympics at Fort Lowell Park.  Tournament play begins Saturday and ends on Sunday.