It’s fairly easy to reach RE/MAX owner Marty McKeown during the latter part of December.
That’s when the car salesman-turned-real estate agent puts on the free Holiday Cup indoor soccer tournament at the Wells Fargo Dimond Park Field House.
If he’s not playing for the “Nutcrackers” in one of the 70-plus games over the next 11 days, he’s probably watching one of his daughters or nephews play. And in the rare instance he’s not at the Field House, you can bet one of his family members are.
“It’s a big family ordeal,” McKeown said. “My sister (Erin Smith) manages my office and she helps me organize it and put it on. It’s just a really great way to give back to the community that help support my business my whole career.”
The tournament is easily the largest winter sporting event in town. This year, 30 teams will compete for the championship in one of six different divisions. With 400 players total, the Christmas-time tournament is on par with the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament for the largest Juneau sporting event — period.
McKeown took the reins from the tournament from Dillon and Findley Law Firm six years ago, but he’s involved both as a coach and participant much longer. In years past all adults — from college students to retirees — played in a single division. Now, after some prodding from McKeown, the Masters division is the home for players 22 and older and Classic division for players 35 and older.
The Holiday Cup officially began last Saturday, but it really takes off the day after Christmas. Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 26, games take place every day from morning until night. All teams play everyone from their division at least once before the elimination portion of the tournament. Championship games take place every year on New Year’s Eve.
Due to the inherit travel of the holiday season, the team dynamic of any one squad may fluctuate considerably from the start of the tournament to the end.
“We try to make it as competitive as we possibly can although there is always some team that comes out on top,” McKeown said. “We have a lot of great competition and some really exciting games on New Year’s Eve.”
Treyson Ramos, 20, has been playing in the Holiday Cup for most of his life, winning it all “three or four times.” For the last three seasons, Ramos has been patrolling the pitch for the NCAA Division II Saint Martin’s Saints. For Ramos, the tournament provides a bit of a respite from the serious side of the sport.
“It is a competitive tournament, of course,” said Ramos, who played his first game Thursday night. “But you get players that just want to hang out with their friends over Christmas break and it’s just a fun thing.”
Spectators will be allowed entry into the Dimond Park Field House free of charge throughout the tournament. For more information, visit holidaycup.org.