Trying to figure out the logistics of a four-day event with 126 soccer teams from six states playing in 18 divisions ranging in age from U-10 to U-18 hardly sounds like a tranquil experience. Yet, in her first year as tournament director of the Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament, Helen Brown is balancing the role with her full-time job and is keeping a positive attitude.
“I am enjoying it,” Brown said. “It’s a lot of fun to plan this big of event.”
The event is truly large, selling out for its second year in a row, boasting 75 local sponsors and hosting teams traveling from as far away as Georgia. With so many teams, the tournament actually will begin play Thursday for its U-16 and U-18 age groups and run throughout the weekend.
In 2012, the tournament helped in providing Steamboat Springs with its busiest summer weekend. During the tournament last year, 85 percent of lodging facilities were filled, and the estimated number of visitors was 12,800. This year, Brown estimates 11,000 people will come to town solely for the tournament.
Even with all the visitors, Steamboat still has a strong local presence with 15 teams competing in the boys and girls divisions.
Rob Bohlmann, Steamboat Soccer Club director, said there is an incredible opportunity in local players and coaches “being able to have a first-class tournament in our own backyard.”
But Bohlmann also mentioned first-class competition isn’t the only reason teams travel across the nation to play soccer in Steamboat.
“I know that the tournament has built such a reputation that teams know they get to enjoy what Steamboat has to offer, while enjoying the competitive components of the game,” Bohlmann said.
Brown agrees and has added different events on and off the field to make the Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament more than just your run-of-the-mill, “play and leave” competition.
The first event is a coach’s game being played at 8 p.m. Friday on Gardner Field. There also will be a party from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Gondola Square, sponsored by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. for all the teams.
“I’m looking forward to creating more than just a tournament, but making it a premier event,” Brown said.
Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University, where he played basketball.