Youth soccer surging in Glenwood
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Glenwood Springs Soccer Club is facing a problem, and it’s a pretty nice problem to have.
This year’s 17th-annual version of the Glenwood Springs Invitational soccer tournament drew a record number of teams from around Colorado, with the 83 teams in this year’s field shattering what tournament officials said was a previous high of 70 teams. That’s prompted the tournament’s games to spillover into Glenwood from Gates Soccer Park on the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus, with Glenwood Park playing host to the 26 under-10 boys and girls soccer teams.
“We even had to play some games last night to accommodate everyone,” said Glenn Hartmann, who along with his wife, Sandy, was helping oversee the small-person soccer being played at Glenwood Park. “We had never had to do that before.”
According to Glenwood Springs Soccer Club administrator Nancy Colia, the tournament turnout this year combined to bring in an estimated 1,500 players and coaches to Glenwood Springs for Memorial Day Weekend. Granted, some of that count comes from local teams from Glenwood, Silt, Carbondale and Rifle. Others, however, come from Grand Junction, Broomfield, Longmont, Frisco, Crested Butte, Boulder and Littleton, which are far enough away to justify expenses for hotels and restaurants.
All total, according to tournament officials, the tournament itself could draw more than 3,000 more people to Glenwood, a number that equals close to 30 percent of the city’s population.
“If it was on a different weekend, I don’t know that we would be able to get this kind off turnout,” said Russell Brown, a referee assignor within the club who also coaches its U18 club team. “I also think that it’s because people want to go come to Glenwood and because of how nice the facilities are.”
Brown and Sandy Hartmann added that, along with the 60-plus volunteers needed to help run the tournament, there are also medical trainers from Mercy Medical Center in Glenwood Springs who volunteer their time. Brown also said that with the turnout at this year’s event, the only way it could grow any more would be to hold it over four days instead of three like this year.
Not that anyone is complaining. After all, there seems to be something for everyone.
“It brings a lot of business to town,” Glenn Hartmann said. “Plus, the level of play is just right. The quality of the teams is high, but it’s not premier. That works for a lot of people.”
The tournament concludes today with games at Glenwood Park and Gates Soccer Park. Games begin as early as 8 a.m. today at Gates and begin as late as 7:30 p.m., also at Gates.
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Montrose will pose a tough challenge for the Demons to win their home tournament. “They’re a team that every year has a well-disciplined program that executes, plays hard and is well-coached,” Glenwood coach Fred Heisel said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.” Game time is 2:30 p.m. at Spencer-Chavez Gymnasium at GSHS.