Youth soccer tourney starts Friday in Steamboat

110 teams expected for weekend event

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Schedules for the tournament are at www.steamboat-soccer.com.

Click on Mountain Soccer Tournament on the left, and go to Tournament Schedule. Click on “Schedule & Standings” at the bottom of the page, and follow the link to “2010 Mtn Tournament” and then “Boys” or “Girls.”

— Organizers are expecting 110 teams to arrive in Steamboat Springs this week looking for titles in the 26th annual Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament.

“This tournament is a great competitive outlet,” said Hobey Early, who works as the technical director for the Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Association and coaches Steamboat’s U-18 boys team.

Early said in addition to bringing top teams to Steamboat Springs for the weekend, the tournament also acts as a fundraiser for the association. He said the money raised by the tournament helps cover many of the costs of youth soccer in Steamboat Springs, helping to bring down the cost of the programs.

Games will begin at 8 a.m. Friday with players, ranging in age from 8 to 18, competing in boys and girls divisions during the weekend. Teams will use fields at Ski Town, Whistler, Emerald and Memorial parks, as well as at Steamboat Springs High School and Christian Heritage School.

On Friday night, the focus of the tournament will be at the high school, which will host a Soccer Festival and the Coaches Soccer Game.

The Soccer Festival will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Tournament director Kami Brockway said the event will be in the grass fields in front of the main building and will include games and activities. Inside the high school, players and spectators can take part in an Italian dinner that includes salad, bread, pasta and dessert. The dinner costs $10 for adults and $7 for children younger than 10.

Brockway said the tournament has about seven more teams this year than last.

“We might be able to have a few more teams, but we are already using just about everything we have,” Brockway said.

Play will continue throughout the weekend with pool play games running through Saturday evening and the championship games taking center stage Sunday for most divisions. The tournament is a great chance for teams from Steamboat Springs to play in a competitive event without leaving town. Fifteen local teams are expected to compete.

“It’s great to play in a tournament format right in our own backyard,” Early said. “So many times we have to travel out of town or out of the state to find tournaments.”

Early has high expectations for his U-18 boys team, which won the Rocky Mountain Cup College Showcase tournament in Boulder in June. Early said the win was huge, but he’s not sure it will make his team a favorite this weekend.

“It’s going to be completely different teams than what we saw in Boulder,” Early said. “I have high expectations, but you never know which teams are going to show up or what is going to happen in a tournament.”

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