Take one field, add four middle schools, mix in five hours and between 150 and 180 soccer players and you have the ingredients for the Floyd Dryden Middle School Invitational Soccer Tournament.
Held last week the event is a flexible tournament that does not rely on knowing what schools will show up, how many kids will play or what their skill levels are.
Floyd Dryden girls soccer coach John Newell has been running the tournament for eight years and each year between 150-180 youth soccer players show up.
“Lots of people help make this possible,” Newell said. “Too many to list.”
This year Sitka flew in Thursday morning, played a full field 11 verse 11 game against FD, played later in that day in the Jamboree, then flew out that night.
Ketchikan flew in Thursday at noon, played in the Jamboree, slept in the FD gym, played full field games all day Friday against FD, slept in the gym again Friday night, then flew back to Ketchikan Saturday morning.
Dzantik’I Heeni also attended, which put the total number of sixth, seventh and eighth-grade players over the 175 mark. Some were elite soccer players who have been playing for years and some were playing in their first organized games ever.
According to Newell, the idea of the tournament is to take every kid who wants to play, divide them up into 16 evenly matched, mixed school, mixed age group, coed teams. Eight A teams of the older, more skilled players and eight B teams of younger players that are new to the game were formed. Each team played seven games against the other teams in their bracket. Each game lasted about twelve minutes.
A total of 56 separate games were played. At the end of the day wins, ties, losses and total number of goals were tallied up and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place team was determined. In the B bracket, after all games had been played and goals counted, there was still a tie so the top two teams had a penalty kick shoot-out to determine the tournament winner. In the A bracket four teams were within a point or two of each other going into the last game. 1st and 2nd place was determined by total number of goals scored.
“While the winning teams certainly deserve to have their names in the paper, no records where kept,” Newell said. “So all that can be said is that Ketchikan, Sitka, Dzantik’i Heeni and Floyd Dryden all had players on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams, as well as every other team in the tournament.”