(March 8, 2013) The 25th annual St. Patrick’s Indoor Soccer Tournament series, sponsored by the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department, will kick off its third round of competition this weekend.
Twenty-six U12 and 24 U16 girls’ and boys’ teams will compete. Action will begin tonight, Friday, at the Northside Park Complex on 125th Street and continue through Sunday.
The first games will kick off at 5 p.m. tonight, and matched will take place continuously until 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Starting time for matches on Saturday is 7 a.m. They will wrap up around midnight. Soccer action will take place from 8 a.m. to about 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Tournament matches will be six-on-six (including a goalie). Each half will be 17 minutes long. Teams are guaranteed two pool play games before they are seeded in a single elimination playoff tournament. Champions and runners-up in each division will receive a team trophy and T-shirts for all players.
The 25th annual tournament began Feb. 22, with 11 boys’ and 10 girls’ U18 teams participating over three days. Last weekend, 22 U10 and 30 U14 boys’ and girls’ teams took the field.
“It went pretty well the last two weekends,” said Recreation Supervisor Ron Strickler, who organizes the tournament with co-worker Kim Kinsey.
During the fourth and final weekend of competition, March 15-17, 35 mens’ and 15 womens’ teams will battle in the adult open (18 and older) divisions.
Most of the teams return to compete annually in the tournament, they just move up a division. This year, 173 club, travel and recreational squads of all ability levels, from the mid-Atlantic region registered for the event. The series has grown so much since its inception a quarter of a decade ago that, in 2009, the three-weekend event was extended to four to accommodate the overwhelming number of athletes.
“[Participants] love the format of the tournament. It’s competitive, but it’s fun,” Kinsey said. “It’s a very popular tournament for returning teams. Some started out in the U10 division and now they’re playing as adults.”
Added Strickler, “It’s really evolved. We’re selling out every weekend of the event.”
The tournament also has a positive impact on the community.
“Local businesses feel the impact from it, which is good,” Strickler said. “We’re putting people in hotels … and they’re eating at the restaurants.”
For more information about the tournament or other Ocean City Recreation and Parks programs, leagues and camps, call 410-250-0125