On Friday, April 27th, and Saturday, April 28th, the German program of the Department of German and Russian at Carleton College hosted a guest lecture on “Three-Sided Soccer” and an intramural soccer tournament. “Three-Sided Soccer” (or Three-Sided Football) is a variation on the game of soccer where three teams play together on a hexagonal pitch with three goals and one ball. In this format, teams are encouraged to work together, or bluff, building temporary alliances in order gain advantages. The team the concedes the least amount of goals wins.
Invented by Danish Situationist Asger Jorn in the 1960s as a theoretical response to the Cold War, the game has recently gained in international reputation on a grassroots level as a progressive critique of the divisive and binary elements in sport and politics (us vs. them, you vs. me, good vs. bad). It opens up the horizons of soccer and challenges players to rethink common conceptions of the game. It is also just fun to play!
Guest speaker Christopher Vogel spoke on the history of “Three-Sided Soccer” in the context of social activism and explored the socio-political ramifications of the game in today’s global society. Christopher, visiting from Kassel, Germany, is an activist, writer and community organizer, and also vice president of his local sports club Dynamo Windrad. His visit to Northfield spread awareness of “Three-Sided Soccer” and its history to the campus and community while challenging students and community members to “think-three sided” – in this context, beyond common stereotypes and with an eye towards political and social change.
The lecture was followed by an intramural soccer tournament co-organized by the Carleton German Club (Freier Karleton Klub) and the Club Soccer team. With 6 total teams, players experienced the phenomenon of “Three-Sided Soccer” for the first time. Early frustrations soon turned into smiles of cunning and joy. The winners of the tournament, “Wenger In,” will hope to defend their title next year, when the German program will host the second annual tournament in the spring.
For those interested in playing “Three-Sided Soccer” or just watching before then, the German Club and Soccer Club will be hosting an informal pick-up game at Carleton on Saturday, May 26th in honor of the 25th anniversary of the first “Three-Sided Soccer” game ever played. For more information on where and how to play, please contact Josiah Simon: firstname.lastname@example.org.