JulyFest is right around the corner and soccer teams near and far are gearing up for the 46th annual JulyFest Soccer Tournament in Kimberley.
Every year during JulyFest a multitude of teams and referees from BC, Alberta and the US get together to go head to head in an exciting weekend of soccer and camaraderie, across all of the soccer fields in town.
Organizer Simon Davidson says it’s business as usual for the tournament, with 48 teams playing and over 1,000 athletes in town for the weekend.
The tournament takes place on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21 from 8 a.m. to 6p.m.. Finals will be held at the Purcell fields in Marysville on Sunday at 2p.m.. Check out julyfestsoccer.com for the full tournament schedule.
Davidson says they will play rain or shine, but he’s optimistic that the weather will hold out.
“We’ve got many returning players and teams this year, with one team coming from Missoula. We’ve got teams from B.C. and Alberta as well as Washington, Idaho, and Montana,” Davidson explained. “We’re coming up on 50 years, four years away, so I’d say we’re definitely one of the longest running continual tournaments around.”
He adds that the tournament is a favourite tradition for many players.
“One gentleman that I play with in Alberta has been coming to the tournament for 29 years,” Davidson laughed. “So out of those 46 years, he’s been to a lot of tournaments. There’s a lot of history and tradition and camaraderie that happens over that much time.
“It’s more than just the soccer tournament. Teams will come and stay for a week, take their vacation and play golf. It’s something that the players, referees and spectators really look forward to.”
In terms of the teams, Davidson says there’s a few to definitely watch for.
“I think Missoula is bound to be pretty good, they had an excellent final three years ago,” he said, adding that the Green Monarchs out of Sandpoint, the Montana Rapids and the Cranbrook Unicorns always bring competition to the table.
“Look out for the Cranbrook FC too, last year they did really well, I look forward to seeing them play,” Davidson said. “And the women’s competitive team in Cranbrook, the Ramblers, I hope to see them do well.”
In terms of local recreational teams, Davidson says to get a slice of the action from Los Amigos.
“They just get better and better every year,” he said. “Also check out the Kimberley Old Boys, they’re in the Masters.”
Davidson adds that the tournament wouldn’t be possible without his fellow organizers, the sponsors, and volunteers.
“A big thanks to all of our sponsors and all of the hard work done by the City,” he said. “[The City] has done so much work on the Purcell fields and they really look amazing. Thanks to the school board as well for always letting us use their fields. Finally, thanks so much to the small but dedicated group of volunteers that run the show.”