Festival 16: football3 teaches a unique approach to the beautiful game

football3 represented more than just a game for the 500+ participants at streetfootballworld Festival ’16.

Many of the international youth conference’s participants — including Ler, Adam, Destinee, and Lionel from the Soccer in the Streets delegation — received their first exposure to football3's social playing style while attending the global celebration in Lyon, France.

Rather than emphasizing final scores or individual glory, football3 focuses on the community aspects of the game — interacting with one another, learning from peers, and using the sport for a greater purpose than simply winning on the scoreboard. This approach stresses important values like teamwork, leadership, respect, equality, conflict resolution, and much more.

Here’s how streetfootballworld describes the method:

Named after its ‘three halves’–a pre-match discussion, football game, and post-match discussion–football3 incorporates key life lessons into every match. In mixed-gender teams, players collectively decide on the rules before the game. Following the match, they reflect on their behaviour and the behaviour of their opponents, with points awarded for goals as well as for fair play.

[streetfootballworld’s official football3 handbook]

For the tournament, Festival ’16 participants split up into co-ed football3teams that matched up players who represent delegations from across the globe on the teams. Young Leaders — such as Clarkston FC coach and program graduate Adam Adam — mediated each game. About 80 football3mediators facilitated the on-field action, simultaneously filling the role of coach, referee, teammate, and friend.

Congrats to Team Jasiyes for lifting the trophy at Festival ‘16!

Team Jasiyes — featuring young players who hailed from Colombia, Indonesia, Germany and Brazil — won the Copa Andres Escobar after the two-day tournament, but everyone at Festival ’16 benefited from the style of play.

After returning from Lyon, Destinee, Ler, and Lionel talked about their experience with this unique approach to the beautiful game.

Explain what football3 is all about.

Destinee: football3 was designed so us teenagers could figure out how to run a game, that was fair, on our own. It taught me patience with people who didn’t play fair at all. It’s a good way to play my favorite game.

Ler: football3 is all about playing fair and having fun. It is not just about winning the game.

Lionel: football3 was about following rules and having a lot of fun.

What works in football3?

Destinee: Everything.

Ler: Making your own rules.

Lionel: I think a lot of things work because we all follow the rules.

What would you change about football3 to help newcomers?

Destinee: Having the same rules every time we played.

Ler: I think football3 is working all the time because players make the rules and discuss the rules.

Lionel: I think we could have the same rules in every game.

What is a football3 mediator?

Destinee: Someone who teaches about football3 then stands back to watch the game. After the game, mediators talk to each team to see if anyone had any problems while playing.

Ler: Mediators are the host of football3. They write down the rules that the players make and observe the game to make sure the player’s don’t break the regulation.

Lionel: Mediators are the people that made us make our own rules and make sure we follow the rules.

Could you be a football3 mediator?

Destinee: Yes

Ler: Yes. I think I will be the best mediator.

Lionel: Maybe.