BY JOHN DECOSTE
Kings County Advertiser/Register
Tier 2 soccer in the Valley kicks off this week, with a total of 87 teams – 38 boys and 49 girls – vying for district titles and berths at Tier 2 provincials in age groups from U-12 through to U-18.
According to Valley District Soccer executive director Dwight MacLeod, registration for the 2010 summer season “has been brisk, which is good to see. It’s a great way to keep our kids active through the summer months.”
MacLeod says, “there’s a lot out there for young people in the Valley, and it’s nice to see soccer is still holding its own” in terms of popularity.
The Valley District covers a wide geographic area, from West Hants to Clare, with most clubs in the district represented in most, if not all, of the age groups.
Again this year, the VDSA will host its three major tournaments – the Valley Kick-Off June 18 and 20, the Gunn Baldursson Memorial girls’ tournament July 9 to 11 and the New Minas Invitational Aug. 13 to 15.
“I expect many people don’t realize just how much money these three weekends pump into the local economy,” MacLeod says. With an estimated financial impact of $300, 00 to $400,000 each, “we figure on a total of more than $1 million - which is quite an economic impact.”
This year’s Valley Kick-Off tournament is scheduled for the same weekend as the provincial Special Olympic Summer Games in Wolfville, which “should make for a really busy weekend - and a challenge for organizers.”
MacLeod says he has been driving around the Eastern Kings area over the past couple of weeks, “and the fields look great, which is a credit to the various recreation staffs and the volunteers who work with them.”
He says, in particular, the fields at Lockhart and Ryan Park in New Minas “are looking especially pristine. We’ve been told we have the best grass fields in all of Nova Scotia here in the Valley, and visitors to our area are constantly reminding us of that.”
Also of interest to local soccer fans will be the Valley Masters Kick-Off June 12 and 13, the Ryan Lahey Memorial July 2 to 4 in West Hants, the Kia Kentville Mini-Fest July 17 to 18 in Kentville and the Amanda Forster Memorial tournament the same weekend in Kingston-Greenwood.
Other local tournaments this year include the Valley Senior Soccerfest July 23 to 25, the Annapolis Natal Day tournament July 30 to Aug. 2 in Annapolis Royal and the Supreme Invitational 7-A-Side tournament Sept. 18 to 19.