Sports

Girls kick off annual Blast Off soccer tournament

Olivia Chong (right) of the Federal Way United Lightning ‘99-Miyahara girls soccer team battles with a Black Hills FC Red player during a championship at Sunday’s Blast Off Tournament at Saghalie Middle School. Federal Way won the game, 1-0. - Casey Olson/The Mirror
Olivia Chong (right) of the Federal Way United Lightning ‘99-Miyahara girls soccer team battles with a Black Hills FC Red player during a championship at Sunday’s Blast Off Tournament at Saghalie Middle School. Federal Way won the game, 1-0.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

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

The soccer association played host to 132 girls soccer teams during the first portion of the 2010 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.

The three-day girls tournament included 132 teams from all over the Pacific Northwest in the under-10 through U-19 age brackets. Championship games were played on Sunday at Celebration Park and Saghalie Middle School.

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.

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

Of the 132 teams in the girls’ brackets, only three Federal Way teams won championships. Each bracket generally included four teams, which were placed there by tournament officials based on the talent-level of each team.

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.

The Federal Way United Lightning ‘99-Miyahara beat Black Hills FC Red in the championship, 1-0, to win the U-11 Bracket E title, Federal Way United Reign ‘97 beat NW Premier FC in the U-13 Bracket A championship, 1-0, and the Federal Way United Reign ‘94 Black won the U-16 Bracket B title, 4-0, over MVP Marauders ‘94.

Two other Federal Way United teams lost in championship games on Sunday. The Federal Way United Lightning ‘97-McLarty U-13 team lost to the Chinook Ice ‘97 in the title game, 4-3, and the Federal Way United Reign ‘95 White lost to Timber Barons ‘95 in the championship, 1-0, in overtime.

There are currently 77 boys teams signed up for this weekend’s Blast Off event. Sunday’s title games will also be played at Celebration and Saghalie. The boys portion of the Blast Off Tournament will kick off at 2 p.m. Friday. Championship-round play will get underway at 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

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