How the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge works

The Touch Challenge during the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge

The night before we participate in the MLS All-Star Game in Washington DC on Wednesday, July 19, our men's first team will be testing their abilities against their opponents in the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge.

Before they do battle in a traditional game the following night, Mikel Arteta's team will go up against Wayne Rooney's group of the league's top players over the course of five fun and entertaining challenges.

Tickets to the Skills Challenge are available here

The Skills Challenge will be shown live on Apple TV - how to tune in

Here is everything you need to know about the event:

How it works

The MLS All-Star Skills Challenge will feature 10-player rosters for MLS and Arsenal comprised of eight outfield players and two goalkeepers. Players named to the MLS All-Stars Skills Challenge do not have to be from the All-Star Game roster.

There are five challenges, with each allowing a team to add points to the overall scoreboard in order to win the event.

You can see some of the highlights from last year's competition when the MLS took on their counterparts from Mexico Liga MX above.

What are the challenges?

Shooting Challenge

To kick off the show, three players from each team will aim to hit targets scattered amongst the goal in the allocated time to rack up points.

They will compete in three 60-second rounds, aiming to hit 11 fixed targets with 10, 5 and 2-point values, which can only be hit once. During the last 20 seconds, a moving 20-point target begins to move. If a player hits that with time left, they can continue shooting at fixed targets. The round ends when time expires, or every target is hit.

The team that scores the most adds a point to the overall scoreboard.

Touch Challenge

The Touch Challenge during the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge

Following that, six players will participate in a game which sees them controlling crosses and volleying balls coming from various angles into a skeeball-style apparatus, which features 20, 10, 5, and 2-point values.

There will be two 90-second rounds per team, who nominate two passers, one receiver and one ball launcher, as well as two shooters. They will receive 15 balls - five each from passers on either side of them, and five orange balls from the launcher behind the apparatus which are worth double.

The team that scores the most adds a point to the overall scoreboard.

Cross & Volley Challenge

The Cross & Volley Challenge during the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge

Creativity and skill will be on display, as players connect with a teammate to score goals in style. The more style, the more points.

Each team will have two 60-second rounds, and will utilise four players - two passers, one shooter, and one opposing goalie.

Each goal that goes in is worth:

  • 20 points for a bicycle or scissor-kick
  • 15 points for a standard first-time volley
  • 10 points for a touch and volley (can’t hit ground)
  • 5 points for half-volley (hits ground once)

After points are tallied from two rounds, a fan vote will add 25 more points to the team with the “Best Moment” (save or goal).

With the fan vote included, the team that gas the most points adds a point onto the overall scoreboard.

Passing Challenge

With a myriad of targets spread across the field, players must spray their passes with pinpoint accuracy in a race against their opponent in a best-of-three series.

This will consist of competing in up to three 60-second rounds, with a player from each side against a rival each time.

They will race against each other to knock out all four targets in their zone. Once they hit a target, that target is no longer in play, and when they complete all four, they can make the Final Pass which sees them aim to strike the ball through a paper target to get the win.

If both players have the same number of targets at the end of 60 seconds, a sudden death competition will start where the first to hit the final target wins.

The team that comes out on top after three rounds adds a point to the overall scoreboard.

Crossbar Challenge

The Crossbar Challenge during the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge

The deciding event will see seven players from each team participating simultaneously to hit the crossbar. Going into this round, the overall score will either be 2-2, 3-1 or 4-0 - however each crossbar hit will add points to the scoreline.

Teams begin by alternating chips from the 18-yard line, and when a team reaches five overall points from the whole competition, they can move into Zone 2 further from the goal and start trying for The Victory Shot where they will try to hit the bar again from distance.

The first team to do so will win the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge.

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Fixtures & Results

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