A long-running soccer tournament hosted by the Hagerstown Soccer Club reached its 30th anniversary over the weekend,drawing players from five states, according to organizers.
Officials with the Mason Dixon Cup said the event attracted nearly 5,000 people to the Hagerstown area Saturday and Sunday,which was a shot in the arm for local restaurants, hotels and other businesses.
About 1,900 players competed on fields at the Hagerstown Soccer Complex off Cearfoss Pike and at North Hagerstown High School.Players ranged in age from 8 to 19 years old. There were 21 total divisions, 13 for male teams and eight for female teams.Winners were crowned in each.
All the players were amateurs who participate in programs such as recreational teams and traveling soccer groups, said Elle Marks,business-development manager for Elite Tournaments. Elite Tournaments, of Columbia, Md., helps stage the event.
The tournament has grown over the years, and one of the best decisions was to bring Elite Tournaments into the mix, said Rick Aleshire,vice president of the Hagerstown Soccer Club. Elite Tournaments is an event-management company that helps with scheduling and providesother support.The tournament raises money for the Hagerstown Soccer Club through team fees, and food and shirt sales, Marks said.
More than 100 teams participated, including 60 from Maryland, 20 from Pennsylvania, 15 from Virginia and 10 from West Virginia. Aleshiresaid nine local teams were in the mix. Parents and friends of the players cheered from the sidelines as teams moved a ball up and down thefield with kicks and head bumps. Humidity moved back into the area Sunday, and organizers were keeping an eye on the weather in case hazardousconditions arose.
Among those watching the action were Ruda and Daniel Parks of Keyser, W.Va. Their son was playing on the Predators, which is part of theAVID Soccer Club in the Cumberland, Md., area.
The Parkses said it was their first time attending the local soccer tournament.They said some ball runners were needed because goalies were sometimes fetching runaway balls.
“Other than that, it’s pretty good,” Ruda Parks said.