The fourth annual Spring Fever Soccer Tournament this weekend will give the girls and boys Crimson Bear varsity and junior varsity soccer teams their first chance this season to play home games.
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For this year's tournament, the Juneau Soccer Club was able to get two out-of-state high schools to compete as well as two in-state high-schools.
"We're fortunate to have four really good teams compete in this tournament," said Jean Mischel, vice chairman of the Juneau Soccer Club Board.
The Juneau Soccer Club finances the soccer programs at Juneau-Douglas High School. The club sets up a stipend to offset travel costs for the visiting teams, which are housed by parents of JDHS players and members of the Soccer Club.
The tournament opened on Thursday with Wheat Ridge High-School of Wheat Ridge, Colo., taking on Colony High-School in a girls varsity match up.
Three games will be played today, beginning with Cheyenne Central High-School taking on the South Anchorage boys varsity team at 3:30 p.m. The Crimson Bear boys JV team will play South Anchorage's JV squad at 5:30 p.m.
The girls varsity team will open up their season against Colony at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
"We're looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd. The home crowds are turning into the European crowds," said Colin Barton, co-head coach of the girls soccer team.
This is the first week of the season the boys and girls soccer teams have been able to practice outside, which means there's still time for players to establish themselves.
"Our freshmen are knocking at the door," Barton said of the girls varsity team. "The door is always open for somebody to show they deserve a place."
The boys varsity team will have the unenviable task of playing two games on Saturday, beginning with defending state champion, South Anchorage High-School at 1 p.m.
The boys varsity team has established a rivalry that head coach Gary Lehnhart said goes beyond high-school soccer.
"They ended our season the last two years," said Elliot Ford, a junior who starts at center mid-field. "Two years ago they won a controversial semi-final game at state."
Lehnhart has coached a few of the players on South Anchorage and thinks his team is headed in the right path as he said of his team's recent performance in Spokane, Wash.
"I was pleasantly surprised how we competed and how the team began to develop a pattern and style of play."
Although South Anchorage has had the upper hand the last few years, the past didn't seem to diminish any confidence from Ford.
"We're gonna win ... it's going to be a good game, but we're gonna win," Ford said.
The varsity boys second game on Saturday will be no easier than the first as they square off against Cheyenne Central High-School, which also won the state championship in Wyoming.
The JV boys team will play South Anchorage again at 3 p.m. Saturday. The girls varsity team will end the tournament by playing Wheat Ridge High-School at 5 p.m.
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