News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 17, 2014

Second large soccer tourney in month brings in thousands of athletes, fans

TERRE HAUTE — Play continues today in Terre Haute for 72 teams

competing in preliminary games of the Indiana Soccer Cup, the top tournament in youth soccer in the state.

Terre Haute is one of four host sites for the Indiana Soccer Association/U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series, which has three tiers of seeded play.

The State Cup features Indiana’s top 12 teams for youths 13 to 19 years old, while the Presidents Cup features the state’s top 16 teams for youths 11 to 17. Both of these cup winners advance to the U.S. Nationals to compete with teams from across the country, said Mike Williams, Indiana Soccer Association site coordinator.

The Challenge Cup is for all other teams and is not limited on the number of teams that can compete. The championship game for the Challenge Cup is played at Westfield in two weeks.

Play began Saturday in Terre Haute for the two-day, single-elimination tournament at the Vigo County Youth Soccer Association Springhill Soccer Complex between U.S. 41 and Indiana 63.

It’s the second consecutive year the VCYSA has hosted a round of the statewide tournament. Other host sites are Fort Wayne, Columbus and Westfield. Most of the teams competing in Terre Haute are from the western and southern portion of Indiana, Williams said.

Saturday’s premiere State Cup game featured Indianapolis’s Westside United Green against Evansville Soccer Club Blue, both 17-year-old boys teams. Just two Terre Haute teams are in the State Cup competition — the Terre Haute Flyers U13 Girls and Terre Haute Flyers U18 Girls.

“This tournament has about 1,000 to 1,200 participants of all different age groups and add in family and spectators, and it is 2,400 to 3,000 people,” said Jim Wilkey, VCYSA president and tournament coordinator.

“One of our responsibilities, in addition to preparing the soccer fields, is coordinating with hotels. We reserved 600 rooms, with some families staying two nights, others one night,” Wilkey said.

“We also line and mow the fields. This week we had rain non stop, so trying to get in mowing and getting the fields painted took a tremendous effort,” Wilkey said of the 50-acre soccer complex.

Still, Wilkey said the VCYSA is used to hosting such big events, such as the 98-team Midwest Soccer Classic, held last month. That event drew more than 4,000 participants, families and spectators, he said.

“If not for the support that we get, we would not be able to put on these games. We are getting tremendous support this weekend from Rose-Hulman [Institute of Technology] men’s and women’s soccer teams, as well as help from St. Mary-of-the-Woods. We work with all the local colleges non stop throughout the year. They help us with the evaluation of players and help us to train the players,” Wilkey said.

Kate DeMoss of Martinsville, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, was among 55 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students who worked Saturday as field marshals, parking assistants or helping in booths. DeMoss plays center midfield for the Engineers’ women’s soccer team.

“I have been playing soccer since I was 3. I love the game. Our coach asked us to help out” with the tournament, DeMoss said.

Wilkey said tournaments such at the Indiana Soccer Cup help the VCYSA meet its goal of promoting soccer and giving youth a chance to play.

“It’s all about the kids. We want them to enjoy soccer and help the players develop to their potential,” Wilkey said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.

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