The 2nd Annual Owensboro Street Soccer Bowl gets underway on Monday at Legion Park, and tournament co-director Nikos Agisilaou expects this year's event to be bigger and better than the inaugural.
"We have 28 teams, compared to 24 last year, so the event has grown," Agisilaou said. "Last year, my brother (Christakis) and one other guy coached, refereed and played in the event, which was a little tough.
"This year, we have more help, including my father (Harris), who was overseas when this was held last year. Some others will be helping, too, and that should make a big difference."
The week-long event features three divisions -- middle school, ages 13-14 (competitive and non-competitive); high school, ages 14-17; and adult open. The event is scheduled to wrap up on June 23. In case of rain, Ty Stauffer's SportsTutor facility could be utilized.
"What makes it so popular is the pace of the game -- it's fast, quick and there's not much stoppage of play," Agisilaou said. "The attack is quick, the counter-attack is quick. It's just a fast, exciting game that is very appealing to players and fans, alike."
Street soccer features a 5-on-5 (including goalie) format, whereas outdoor soccer is 11-on-11.
"They are two different games, and not every outdoor player is effective in this environment, and vice-versa," Agisilaou noted. "But the fast and constant action is what makes it so popular to play and watch. I love it, the kids love it, and we're looking forward to getting started."
The street soccer ball, meanwhile, is quite different than the outdoor variety.
"It's basically a futsal ball, which is weighted," Agisilaou said, referring to the 5-on-5 version of soccer played primarily indoors. "It's smaller and has less bounce than an outdoor soccer ball, and that helps with the control of it on a smaller, faster playing surface."
Agisilaou believes street soccer's popularity will continue to grow in Owensboro, and he hopes there will come a time when facilities can be expanded in the city.
"I would like to see more courts," he said. "Bigger cities host events and they are able to complete tournaments in a weekend because they have more courts.
"Here, we have to play one game at a time and that's why, with this many teams, it takes a week to complete the tournament. The ultimate goal is to have three or four courts and I hope we can get there someday."
This year's event, held in conjunction with Owensboro Parks & Recreation, is free to the public and will include a food truck from Evansville's Acropolis Restaurant & Catering, featuring both American and Greek selections.