Rachelle Garrett kicks the ball over the leg of opposing player, Ariel Barrios, during a soccer match Monday evening at the Diamond Park Field House a part of the Holiday Cup soccer tournament. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Juneau Holiday Cup soccer tournament kicks 2022 goodbye

The annual tournament celebrates 30th anniversary

Though the FIFA World Cup might have ended in Qatar, the Holiday Cup soccer tournament in Juneau is still well underway.

The annual holiday-themed soccer tournament hosted by the Juneau Soccer Club has returned once again to the Dimond Park Field House, and this year marks 30 years since it began in 1992 and is the 29th tournament held. The two-week-long event invites players from age 9 and up to test their foot skills against other Juneau residents in a team-style tournament that kicked off Dec. 17 and will run through until Dec. 31.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Jamaal Bailey extends his leg in a effort to keep the ball away from opposing player Doug Badilla during a soccer match Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House a part of the Holiday Cup soccer tournament.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire Jamaal Bailey extends his leg in a effort to keep the ball away from opposing player Doug Badilla during a soccer match Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House a part of the Holiday Cup soccer tournament.

“It’s so neat to have the whole soccer community come together for the love of the game,” said Stay Diouf, president of the Juneau Soccer Club.

Ann Hoke await a pass from her teammate, Mickey Kenny, during a soccer match Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House a part of the Holiday Cup soccer tournament. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Ann Hoke await a pass from her teammate, Mickey Kenny, during a soccer match Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House a part of the Holiday Cup soccer tournament. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

According to Diouf, this year there are 26 teams participating in the tournament, all of which have between 12 and 13 players, which equates to more than 300 participants in total. Each year the tournament is split up between age groups and in total 89 games are played.

This year there are four elementary-age teams going head to head, along with six middle school age, six high school age, six masters (post-high school age), and four classics (35 and up for men, 30 and up for women.)

Nathan Schroeder protects the net for his team, the Chilkat Bandits Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House a part of the Holiday Cup soccer tournament. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Nathan Schroeder protects the net for his team, the Chilkat Bandits Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House a part of the Holiday Cup soccer tournament. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Diouf said the tournament is always “amazing” and this year is no exception. She said it is always exciting to see who joins in from year to year, and it’s a great way for people in the community to come together and enjoy the sport at any age. Diouf’s brother, Marty McKeown, who owns RE/MAX of Juneau, sponsors the event each year.

“It’s definitely a family affair,” Diouf said, laughing.

Tanner Schultz, a player for the Big Beard Ballers in the middle school division, practices his shot in between a break in games Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Tanner Schultz, a player for the Big Beard Ballers in the middle school division, practices his shot in between a break in games Monday evening at the Dimond Park Field House. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The tournament also acts as a fundraiser, with this year’s tournament sweatshirt proceeds going to support the Juneau-Douglas High School:Yadaa.at Kalé girls’ soccer team.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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