By Dan Walton
There were no empty soccer fields in Invermere last weekend, as the district was packed with more than 30 teams competing in the Columbia Valley Titans Invitational Soccer Tournament. Twenty-three of the teams came from out of town to compete among eight divisions split by age and gender.
The well-attended tournament will hopefully be held on an annual basis, said event co-ordinator Cheryl Maybuck. Invermere held an annual soccer tournament in the past, but teams then became complacent with travelling to other communities for tournaments.
This year our club got together and said enoughs enough of travelling all the time, she said. Invermere is beautiful; why cant we have one here.
One participating team from Calgary even pulled out of a tournament in Lethbridge to instead spend the weekend in Invermere, she said. But there wasnt room for many more teams as the local soccer venues were completely booked Max Helmer Field and Kootenay Savings Field at Mount Nelson Athletic Park, and the school fields at J.A. Laird Elementary and David Thompson Secondary School.
You can only have so many teams with the four fields we have, Ms. Maybuck said. If we build more pitches, they will come. And compared to many of the other communities where the Titans have competed, the local fields were in great shape, she said. We received many positive comments from people who havent been here before.
The biggest challenge in organizing the tournament was recruiting referees, she said, who commonly commit to officiating already-established tournaments. Thankfully we were able to line up enough refs for the whole weekend.
To encourage visiting families to experience the restaurants in the valley, Ms. Maybuck said the local tournament offered a snack bar with only basic refreshments.
The community enjoyed the tournament, and the organizers will be working hard to bring it back next summer, she said.