(March 15, 2013) The 25th annual St. Patrick’s Indoor Soccer Tournament series, sponsored by the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department, will wrap up this weekend when 35 men’s and 15 women’s teams compete in the adult open (18 and older) division.
Games will begin today, Friday, at the Northside Park Complex on 125th Street and continue through Sunday.
The first matches will kick off at 3 p.m. today. Soccer action will conclude around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Starting time for matches on Saturday is 7 a.m. Play will finish around midnight. Competition will take place from 8 a.m. to about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Tournament games will be six-on-six (including a goalie) in the west gym. In the smaller east gym, contests will be five-on-five. Each half will be 17 minutes long. Teams are guaranteed two pool play games before they are seeded in a single elimination playoff tournament.
“It’s definitely a competitive tournament in both the men’s and women’s divisions,” said Recreation Supervisor Ron Strickler, who organizes the tournament with co-worker Kim Kinsey. “The skill level is very high. There are a lot of college players, former college ball players and a few pro soccer players competing.”
Champions and runners-up in each division will receive a team trophy and T-shirts for all players.
Many athletes competing in the adult league have been participating in the tournament for a number of years. Most of the teams return to compete annually in the tournament, they just move up a division.
“A lot of these players competed as kids and have come up through the program and now they’re playing in the adult league,” Strickler said.
The past several years the adult competitions have taken place during the town’s St. Patrick’s Day parade weekend.
“I think that’s a big draw. [The participants] like that,” Strickler said.
The four-weekend tournament began Feb. 22, with 11 boys’ and 10 girls’ U18 teams participating over three days. March 1-3, 22 U10 and 30 U14 boys’ and girls’ teams took the field. Last weekend, 26 U12 and 24 U16 girls’ and boys’ squads competed.
This year, 173 club, travel and recreational teams of all ability levels, from the mid-Atlantic region registered for the tournament. The series has grown so much since its inception that, in 2009, the three-weekend event was extended to four to accommodate the overwhelming number of athletes.
“The U18 and adult tournaments used to be on the same weekend. We were turning away so many adult teams so we added a fourth weekend,” Strickler said.
The adult tournament originally consisted of Maryland and Delaware teams, but as the event has increased in popularity, it now draws squads from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
For more information about the tournament or other Ocean City Recreation and Parks programs, leagues and camps, call 410-250-0125 or visit www.oceancitymd.gov.