Girls take center stage at annual Blast Off soccer tournaments

Federal Way Reign White
Federal Way Reign White '01 player Shayna Snodgrass takes a kick during the first weekend of the annual Blast Off soccer tournaments, which are held at 12 fields around Federal Way. The first weekend 95 girls' teams played and, starting Friday, 92 boys' teams are scheduled to take the field.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

Mother Nature and the Federal Way Soccer Association were very kind to the hundreds of players and family members in Federal Way last weekend.

The soccer association played host to 95 girls soccer teams during the first portion of the 2011 Blast Off Tournament at fields around the city under blue skies and perfect temperatures.

It was the girls’ turn last weekend. The boys will take the field when their tournament kicks off Friday. There are 92 boys teams that will converge on Federal Way.

The two separate tournaments will be played on 12 soccer fields around Federal Way and include teams from 56 different cities around Washington. This year’s two weekends of 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 boys Blast Off will be played on Sunday at Celebration Park and Saghalie Middle School.

The Federal Way Soccer Association was also gracious in allowing out-of-town teams to take home bracket championships during the girls’ portion of the Blast Off last weekend.

Of the 95 teams in the girls’ brackets, only two Federal Way teams even played in the championship game for their age group. There were a total of 21 bracket champions crowned Sunday and each bracket generally included four teams, which were placed there by tournament officials based on the talent-level of each team.

The Federal Way Football Club ‘97 Titans took on the UPSC Stars Blue ‘97 in the U-14 Bracket A championship and the Federal Way Football Club ‘98 Bui team took on Kent United in the U-13 Bracket C title.

The two Blast Off tournaments are used as the main fundraiser for the Federal Way Soccer Association. Tournament directors Perry and Sharon Woodford have been running Blast Off for 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.

One big reason for the Blast Off tournaments’ popularity is the way the teams are placed in the skill-level brackets.

The Federal Way Soccer Association uses the four- to six-team sub-groups at each age, in an attempt to have teams of similar abilities compete against each other.

There were basically 32 different bracketed tournaments going on during the girls’ weekend at the Blast Off.

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