Hunter Anderson, left, tries to track down Shelby Struble during a practice for the Steamboat FC girls soccer team which will participate starting Friday in this weekend’s Mountain Madness soccer tournament in Steamboat Springs.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hunter Anderson, left, tries to track down Shelby Struble during a practice for the Steamboat FC girls soccer team which will participate starting Friday in this weekend’s Mountain Madness soccer tournament in Steamboat Springs.

Soccer tournament arrives in Steamboat

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If you go

What: 27th annual Mountain Soccer Tournament

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where: Fields across Steamboat

Online: www.steamboat-soccer.com for full schedule

— More than 100 teams and upwards of 3,000 youth soccer players are expected to be in town this weekend for the 27th annual Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament.

The tournament, which brings in 10,000 visitors and is Steamboat Springs’ second busiest weekend of the summer, features teams from Colorado, Utah, Texas and South Dakota.

Pool play goes from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s semifinal and finals begin at 8 a.m. and will conclude at 2 p.m.

Girls and boys U11 through U18 teams will play across fields in Steamboat, and the city will be represented with at least one team in each division.

“This is put on by the Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Association,” co-director Kris Rowse said, “but this truly is a huge community effort.”

The tournament should feature good competition throughout its levels. It is allowing in premier youth soccer teams and for the first time was sanctioned as an international tournament, meaning international teams are allowed to play.

“It should be very competitive for all of our teams,” said Hobey Early, who is coaching the boys U18 team and will help with several others. “It’s getting more and more competitive.”

Early has helped coach the boys U18 team this year, and the team has competed in top tournaments in Boulder and Salt Lake City.

A big draw for the Steamboat tournament remains its ability to get Steamboat players good competition close to home.

For Early, whose U18 team hasn’t done as well as it has wanted to this summer, the tournament provides a multilayered package of benefits.

Several 2011 Steamboat Springs High School graduates will get to play together this weekend for the last time, and seniors and rising juniors will get a chance to refine skills before the fall season gets under way.

“For some of them it’s a last hurrah,” he said. “It will be the last time they really are playing competitively in a Steamboat FC jersey. Mix it in with the younger guys, and we want those guys to try to pass on leadership to those guys.”

More information on the tournament and complete brackets are at www.steamboat-soccer.com.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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