The 25th annual Holiday Cup indoor soccer tournament is this week and next at the Dimond Park Field House.
The free tournament features 28 teams and approximately 400 competitors this year. Marty McKeown with RE/MAX of Juneau has sponsored the tournament for the past five years. Hoke Designs, the Juneau Soccer Club and the field house have also chipped in this year to put the tournament on.
Paul Dillon with Dillon and Findley Law Firm established the Holiday Cup in 1993. The law firm sponsored the tournament over the next two decades before McKeown took over in 2012.
“It’s been such a big tournament and such a fun thing for the soccer community of Juneau that if I didn’t step in, I was fearful that the event would fall apart and go away,” McKeown said. “My kids all played soccer, my nephews, my family’s been big into soccer.”
McKeown’s daughter, Katie, 22, spent most if not all her adolescent birthdays at the tournament, playing or spectating. She wasn’t going to miss a tournament game because it fell on her birthday, Dec. 21.
“Everybody’s always looking forward to Holiday Cup once fall hits,” Katie McKeown said. “We used to start stacking our teams and getting ready and coming up with new names or jerseys. We get really sucked into it and if we lost the year before we’d be real bitter and come back with a vengeance.”
As of press time on Thursday there were three remaining undefeated teams in the middle school division: Rum Pa Pum (2-0), Grumpsicles (2-0) and Jolly Saint Kicks (1-0).
The Striking Elves (2-0) topped the standings in the elementary school division while the Avalanche’s pair of 7-1 wins paved the way to a 2-0 record in the high school division.
Team Dusty Boots (3-0), Santa Slayers (1-0) and The Stocking Stuffers (1-1) all lead their respective older divisions.
Between the six divisions, a total of 66 round robin and 29 bracket games are played from Dec.16-31. All the championship games are held on the final day of the tournament.
McKeown said there’s at least one player, Alex Newton, that has played in 23 of the 25 total Holiday Cups.
“I think it’s one of the anchoring effects for Juneau,” McKeown said. “We still have people that just come back that don’t even live here now … for the holidays with their family and still play.”
To see the full schedule of games or to learn more information, go to www.holidaycup.org.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.