Blast Off youth soccer tournaments ready for blast off

For the next two weekends, hundreds of youth soccer players will be converging on Federal Way.

The Federal Way Football Club will play host to 95 girls soccer teams starting Friday and a total of 92 boys soccer teams will call the city home Aug. 12-14 for the annual 2011 Blast Off Tournaments. In total, the tournament will include teams from 56 different cities around Washington.

The two separate girls and boys tournaments will be played on 12 soccer fields around Federal Way. This year’s Blast Off will include teams from all over the Pacific Northwest in the under-10 through U-18 age brackets. Championship games during this weekend’s girls Blast Off will be played on Sunday at Celebration Park and Saghalie Middle School.

One big reason for the Blast Off tournaments’ popularity is the way the teams are placed into skill-level brackets. The Federal Way Football Club uses four- to six-team sub-groups at each age bracket, in an attempt to have teams of similar abilities compete against each other. There are basically 23 different bracketed tournaments going on during the girls’ weekend at the Blast Off Friday through Sunday.

The two Blast Off tournaments are used as the main fundraiser for the Federal Way Football Club. Tournament directors Perry and Sharon Woodford have been running Blast Off for well over a decade. The tournaments bring in tens of thousands of dollars. That money, which goes directly to the club, is tied to the $410 entry fee each team is required to pay to enter the tournament. That number doesn’t account for all the money spent at local businesses by players, coaches and parents.

“Nine months of planning and coordination culminates this weekend,” said Perry Woodford. “I want to thank the Federal Way Football Club volunteers for making this event a huge success for our community. Working with the city recreation department and parks staff has again been exceptional.”

Along with the entry fees collected, each Federal Way soccer team is required to participate as volunteers for this tournament, whether the team plays in the tournament or not.

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