Featuring teams from all over the Kootenays and even the U.S., Storm the Field U12 Youth Soccer Festival took over Twin Rivers/Millennium Park in Castlegar this weekend. The tournament was put on by the Kootenay South Youth Soccer Association and featured 12 teams and more than 120 kids participating.
“We’re hosting teams from as far away as Sandpoint, Idaho, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Nelson, as well as teams from Kootenay South including Castlegar, Rossland, Trail and Fruitvale,” said festival chair Roger Carlson. “We had a record setting water gun fight on Saturday to break up the day and get the kids out of the sun. We loaded the kids with water guns and spent a good half hour running around and soaking each other. The parents were involved as were the coaches, which was great to see and a lot of fun.”
This is the first year for the tournament and Carlson hopes to see it grow and expand. The tournament is divided into three divisions: U10, U11, and U12.
“We like to target those three age groups, because they’re not often included in competitive, fun soccer,” he said. “Next year, we’d like to have our second annual and add more teams and more fields. In the past, Kootenay South has hosted a tournament from the U11 to U18 group. Unfortunately, this year it didn’t occur. This event is targetted specifically for the U12 and under age group. We’re hoping that next year we can built on it and move forward from here.”
Scores for individual games are recorded, but no overall standings are recorded. The focus of the tournament is having fun and competing hard as is the mandate from BC Soccer at this age group.
“BC Soccer wants to promote the sport at its grass roots level,” said Carlson. “It’s what’s called a non-results based tournament. Where they expect and want the kids to go out and battle hard and compete each game but when the games over it has no impact on the overall tournament. If you win or lose or tie, the next game is a new game. A new day as it were. They’re promoting the game without the added pressure of having to win to move on to the playoffs and that.”