It was hard not to notice there was a big event happening in Barrie on June 6 and 7 as the streets, hotels, sports fields and local restaurants were overwhelmed with young athletes. This date marked the sixth-annual Spiritfest soccer tournament hosted by the Barrie Soccer Club (BSC).
Just over 200 teams participated in the event. Teams travelled from as far as Windsor, and Sudbury to compete, laugh and enjoy the sport of soccer. The annual event hosts boys and girls teams from ages 11 to 17. Spiritfest has become more than a soccer tournament. It has become a community event as local businesses and sponsors lend a hand to ensure it's a success.
Just over six years ago, BSC had a vision of the type of event they wanted to host and set out to make it happen. Once a committee of local volunteers and key people was assembled and some research was done, it was decided the first week in June would be a great time to host a tournament.
"A key part to the success of this tournament has been the date," explains Rick Morandini, manager of the BSC. "We took inventory of other tournaments held throughout the province and decided that the first weekend June was a good time to host an event."
With the date in place for the first tournament it was only a matter of attracting enough teams to hold a successful, quality event. Specific clubs were contacted throughout the soccer world and to the surprise of the BSC, just over 100 teams participated in the first ever Spiritfest.
"We created a nucleus of teams and it just snowballed from there," says Morandini.
With the success of the first event, things just seemed to fall into place. Word quickly spread about the high-quality tournament. The facilities available in the community also play a key role as Barrie has the luxury of fields surrounded by forests, easy parking and easy access. The combination of great terrain, first-class volunteers, key partnerships with local sponsors and the clubs attention to detail, all play an important role in running a successful event.
Not only has the club attracted the attention of local businesses and volunteers, but the BSC also recruited outside referees to complement their team of local refs. Sixteen referees from Brampton joined forces with local officials to ensure every match ran on time and made certain fair play was exercised at all levels.
As the tournament continues to grow, the possibility of splitting the event by running boys on one weekend and girls on another may be a solution to reducing the number of sites needed to accommodate everyone.
"It is something that we will have to look at and see if it makes sense for us," says Morandini when asked about splitting the event. "We finished our most successful event, execution-wise this year."
Whether it is split in upcoming years or not, soccer fans and athletes can be assured that when they come to Spiritfest, they are participating in a high-quality tournament that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Source : SportsXpress