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TST Primer: Everything you need to know about The Soccer Tournament

TST is pure, uncut soccer: No offsides, rolling subs, 20-minute halves. The Soccer Tournament packs 118 games into 6 days, awards $2 million in cash prizes.

The date should say "June 2024" | Courtesy TST

The Soccer Tournament is back, and we're here for it.

That wasn't always the case. TST first flashed across Hudson River Blue's radar back in April 2023, when The False 9 columnist Corey Clayton argued that MLS clubs should take the tournament seriously. True, the $1 million cash prize awarded to the winner is the second-biggest purse in North American soccer, trailing only the estimated $2 million you get for lifting the Leagues Cup. But TST felt more like a heavily sponsored kick-around than a tournament worth watching.

Boy, were we wrong. Once we flipped on TST one afternoon last June, we were hooked.

The seven-a-side games were energetic and emotional, with crazy rules that amped up the action and raised the stakes: Rolling subs, no offsides, 20-minute halves, the "Target Score Time," or TST (More on that below.) There is no parking the bus: A game must end with a goal.

It helped that last year's winners were likable and local: Newtown Pride FC of the Connecticut Soccer League, a semi-professional team from Sandy Hook, CT, defeated Canadian side SLC FC just two minutes into TST.

The 2024 tournament is bigger, with separate men's and women's divisions. That means more teams, more soccerballing, and more money: This year there are two $1 million prizes.

In this TST primer, we answer all your biggest questions about the tournament. Let's dive in.

When does TST take place?

Wednesday, June 5 to Monday, June 10.

Where does TST take place?

In Cary, NC, at WakeMed Soccer Park. There are seven TST-sized fields at the complex. (See below.)

Cary is in the Research Triangle formed by Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. WakeMed Soccer Park is also the home of North Carolina Courage of the NWSL, and North Carolina FC of the USL Championship, which are both owned by Steve Malik, and are taking part in the tournament.

Are there really 118 games?

Yes, there are 118 games total.

Wednesday, June 5, will see 48 matches alone as every men's team plays two group stage games — the first kickoff is at 8:30 am ET, and the final kickoff is at 10 pm ET. That's over 14 hours of nonstop soccerball.

You can find the full schedule here.

TST: A guide to all 48 men’s teams
The Soccer Tournament sickos here at Hudson River Blue analyzed the squads of all 48 men’s teams participating in the 2024 edition of TST.

When are the finals?

Monday, June 10. The women's final will be held at 7 pm ET, the men's final at 8:30 pm ET.

How do I watch TST matches?

TST games will be broadcast on ESPN+, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and streamed live on the TST website. Check the TST schedule for broadcast information about specific games.

The men's and women's semifinals (on Sunday, June 9), and finals (on Monday, June 10), will all be broadcast on ESPN+. In addition, the women's (Monday, June 10 at 7 pm ET) will also be televised on ESPNU, and the men's final (Monday, June 10 at 8:30 pm ET) will also be televised on ESPNEWS.

How many teams take part?

There are 56 teams total, 48 men's and 8 women's. That's up from 32 teams in 2023.

Are the games coed?

No. Men's and women's teams compete in different divisions in 2024. The 2023 tournament was coed.

TST: A guide to all 8 women’s teams
The Soccer Tournament sickos here at Hudson River Blue analyzed the squads of all eight women’s teams participating in the 2024 edition of TST.

Is it 7-v-7?

Yes, the games are seven-a-side. The match roster can have up to 14 players.

How big are the fields?

The fields are 65 yards by 45 yards. By comparison, FIFA recommends that a regulation field be 115 yards by 74 yards; the soccer field at Yankee Stadium is 110 yards by 70 yards.

How big are the goals?

The TST goals are 6' by 12'. The FIFA standard for senior matches is 8' x 24'.

Are there offsides?


Is there slide-tackling?


Are there throw-ins?

No. You pass in the ball with your foot.

Are there unlimited subs?

Yes. Substitutions are rolling, like in hockey.

Is the soccer good?

Sure! The combination of small fields, rolling subs, and no offsides makes for a compelling version of the sport.

TST: All the NYCFC alumni we’re excited to see play
A helpful rundown of all the players with New York City FC connections who are chasing glory and that $1 million prize at TST 2024.

How long are the games?

Each game has 40 minutes of regulation time that consists of two 20-minute halves, then ends with Target Score Time, which is confusingly also called TST.

Wait, what is Target Score Time?

Glad you asked. Target Score Time is one of the reasons why the tournament is so much fun: You take the leading score at the end of regulation time, and add one to determine the TST. The first team to reach the TST wins.

For example, if a game ends with a score of 2-1, the TST is set to 3. If team A scores once, they win. But if Team B scores twice before Team A scores, then Team B wins.

In other words, the goals in regulation time serve to set the target score. There is no time limit to Target Score Time: You play until you have a winner.

But wait, there's more. When 3 minutes of Target Score Time passes, both teams take one player off the field to reduce it to 6-v-6. Another 3 minutes without a winner, and it's 5-v-5. And so on.

Does the winner really get $1 million?

Yes, the winners of the men's and women's tournaments get $1 million each. The clubs are paid via Zelle.