The ninth Annual Fathers Day Weekend Tournament attracted more than 600 soccer players. Thirty teams from Chilliwack to Sechelt traveled to Mt. Currie for the two-day tournament. Players ranged in age from five to 21 and played in more than 50 matches over the weekend. The younger players, those five, six and seven year olds, took part in exhibition games, while the older players were engaged in competitive play.
Longtime soccer organizer and first term Mt. Currie Band councilor, Alphonse Wallace, was pleased with the event that drew substantial numbers form both Mt. Currie and Pemberton.
"We had about 150 Mt. Currie kids playing and about 80 or so from Pemberton," says Wallace, who has been organizing soccer in the community for the past 11 years.
Despite considering pulling back from the considerable time commitments of organizing and coaching for the Mt. Currie Soccer Association, Wallace remains heavily involved with the organization.
"If we dont do it, then the kids have nothing to look forward to," says Wallace.
Event volunteer co-ordinator Theresa Frank agrees whole-heartedly with Wallace about the importance of creating youth recreation opportunities. She praised the people who make the tournament possible.
"It would be nice to see the whole community involved, but there are about 20 to 30 people who really work hard," says Frank.
The Fathers Day Weekend Tournament is predominantly, but not exclusively, a First Nations sporting event. A number of mixed teams, as well as teams that consist primarily of non-First Nations players, also participated. While technically open to everyone, Wallace says the association invites only other teams that they regularly play against.
"If we were totally open, wed have too many players and no time to play," says Wallace.
What makes this particularly soccer tournament unique is the vast number of trophies. Close to 100 trophies and plaques were awarded at Sunday afternoons closing ceremonies.
"We start fundraising in the community before the tournament. We have one big fundraiser, and thats the concession at the rodeo. That puts money into the trophies and gets us started for this tournament," explains Frank.
Franks daughter, now 18, played in the Mt. Currie Soccer Association for three years, and her 11-year-old son is currently playing.
"I guess Ill be doing this forever," laughs Frank.