Soccer players in Petersburg began an exciting new tradition earlier this month.
For the first time ever, a group, many of whom have been playing soccer together for over ten years at the Community Gym, formed a co-ed Petersburg team and travelled to Juneau to compete in the Shamrock Invitational Indoor Soccer Tournament.
Two teams from Whitehorse, Canada also made the trip. Three Juneau squads competed, for a total of six teams. Sitka and Ketchikan teams were invited but didn't attend.
Dale Drllevich, Joe Viechnicki, Shane Luhr, Orion Fenner, Thomas and Alice Cumps, Drew Ware, Ashley DuRoss, Caitlyn DuRoss and Brian Richards comprised the Petersburg team.
Co-ed tournament rules state that at least three women are required on the field at all times, so four Juneau female players volunteered to join Petersburg.
Three days of games took place in the recently built Diamond Park Field House, an indoor sports complex with a large turf field surrounded by an elevated running track, batting cages and more.
Playing in the new facility was a big change for the Petersburg team whose first game was against the Juneau team that went on later to win the tournament.
“They beat us soundly, seven to four,” said Brian Richards. “But we were adjusting to the huge field, a beautiful turf field probably four times the size of Petersburg's hardwood court. The first game was a huge learning curve.”
In the next game Petersburg tied a Canadian team, 2-2.
Petersburg won all of the remaining four games and ended up taking 3rd place in the tourney.
Shane Luhr was named tournament MVP.
The tournament closed with a generous banquet put on by the Juneau players.
“We had a blast and we want to do it again,” said Richards. “It would be nice to get some sponsors to make it not so expensive.”
Soccer continues at the Community Gym on Thursday and Saturday evenings and new players are welcome.