Flagship event continues to grow
Soccer: United Communities Cup expands to three weekends
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 06:00 am
Word of mouth travels fast in youth soccer.
For the third year since its inception Okotoks’ Anthem United Communities Cup has expanded with over 150 teams and another weekend of competition added to the mix – tripling in size since the first tournament three seasons ago at the state-of-the-art Crescent Point Regional Field House.
“It has been brought about by higher demand,” said Matt Lumsden, Okotoks United Soccer technical director. “The first year we ran one tournament, the second year we ran two, but each year we’ve had extensive waitlists. Last year we had 30 or 40 teams on the waitlist so naturally we’ve expanded to a third weekend.
“We were fully subscribed before our registration closed. It does show the popularity of our facility as an out-of-town tournament.”
The first weekend of action featured the U10 boys in both traditional indoor soccer as well as the increasingly popular futsal – which has teams play on the hardcourt without boards.
As Lumsden explained, futsal is how indoor soccer is primarily played around the globe and the field house is a rare facility, which can house the sport.
“Our futsal court is the best in the province and we’re showcasing it to teams all over, the furthest team we have coming is from Grande Prairie and we have three of their teams coming,” said Lumsden. “Futsal is more the world’s indoor game. It’s boardless, it’s played with a weighted soccer ball and it’s five outfield players and a goalkeeper versus six versus six, which is what boarded soccer is played in.
“Our club prior to four years ago never had a Division I or AAA team, in the last three or four years with the growth of the field house, growth of the club, growth of our technical and academy program we actually now have four Division I programs.”
Okotoks got off to a flying start in the three-weekend event.
The hometown squad struck gold in the boys U10 Tier C division edging the Ranger Royals in the final. Also on Sunday, Okotoks earned the silver medal in the boys U10 futsal ranks.
The Jan. 19-21 weekend features the girls ranging in age from U11 to U18 in Tier I, II and III. The final weekend of action features the boys in the same age group and levels.
Okotoks fields 11 home teams in the tournament.
“It’s a success for our club, it’s a success for our community,” Lumsden added. “We’re expecting around 5,000 people to come to Okotoks in the next three weeks.”
For more information go to okotoksunitedsoccer.ca