By Jean DePlacido Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — Folks didn’t need to head north to see a gorgeous display of the dazzling colors that attract so much attention at this time of year.
Reds, oranges, and yellows were abundantly displayed at the Kennedy soccer fields in Peabody all weekend long during Peabody Youth Soccer’s 22nd annual Columbus Day Weekend Tournament.
Bright orange shirts dotted every field with both Beverly and Woburn youth teams sporting that shade. Beverly actually had the most teams in the field of 77, with 16 boys and girls teams competing at the various age levels. Host Peabody was a close second with 15 teams overall and would’ve had 16, but one team had to drop out because not enough players were available over the long holiday weekend.
“Everything ran smoothly,” said Peabody High boys soccer coach Stan McKeen, who helps run the tournament. A round-robin format was followed on Saturday and Sunday, with playoffs for the U-12 and U-14 teams yesterday.
“We’re always on time with no delay in games and are the only tournament in this area that can make that claim consistently. Everybody was keeping their fingers crossed that we could get our games in on Sunday because of the threat of rain. Fortunately, it held off and we had a great day.”
Fellow board member Steve Rizzo manned the grill for a steady stream of customers all day.
“We started with breakfast and we go all day until 5 p.m.,” Rizzo said. “We’ve had a great crowd the whole time (Sunday), and Saturday was the same.
“We’re pleased to have teams from Springfield, West Springfield and Medford this year. Beverly and Woburn always send lots of teams; Beverly has a great program, and we see the same nice families year after year.”
The U-12 Beverly Cheetahs made it all the way to the finals before losing to Woburn. Center forward Cassie Jones and forward/defender Alex Sullivan decorated their hair with orange streaks.
“It’s a fun tournament,” Sullivan said. “It’s the first time here for our team, and we’re having a good time.”
Salem Thunder goalie Adam Pszenny proudly wore a medal around his neck after his U-12 team worked hard to earn a tie in Sunday’s action. The Sportsmanship Medal is given to one player on each team after games. One of his teammates said Pszenny had been “awesome.”
The Thunder went all the way to the finals before losing to Woburn on penalty kicks.
“This is one of the best tournaments we go to,” said Cheryl Pszenny, Adam’s mother. “They do a great job running it and everything is in one place.”
Having all games in one location is something Silvio Albano appreciates. The veteran coach had two teams entered: Hotshots Too at the U-12 level and Hotshots III girls at U-10.
“I’ve been here since 5:30 (Sunday) morning with the rest of the crew,” Albano said. “We set up the fields and get everything ready for the games. Between my two teams, I was going all weekend, but I love working with the kids. There’s nothing better.”
The hardworking volunteers did such a great job that shortly after the playoffs ended yesterday afternoon, there was no trace of the thousands of people that had filled the area all weekend.
“Only some footprints will remain,” said Mike Muse, U-14 coordinator.
“We have a lot of volunteers who work very hard to make this happen. We have between 20 and 30 high school kids doing their community service, 30 or more adult volunteers, and our 16 board members. It takes a nice effort by all of them.”
At the concession stand where Muse worked, colorful sweatshirts and T-shirts with a nifty logo depicting the ship Columbus sailed were on display and for sale. The T-shirts with the full front logo were a big hit Saturday when the temperature was in the upper 70s, but by Sunday and Monday cooler weather arrived, making sweatshirts a popular item.
This tournament is the major fundraiser for Peabody Youth Soccer and is used to help keep the costs down.
CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS U-12 Girls Premier: Woburn Florescent Flames 1, Middleton Fire 0 Elite: Woburn Tanneretts 2, Beverly Cheetahs 0 Olympians: Lynn Hooligans 2, Woburn Orange Crush 0 Europa: Woburn Tanners defeated Beverly Mockingjays on PK's U-12 Boys Premier: Peabody Predators 4, Beverly Storm 2 Elite: Woburn Tanners defeated Salem Thunder on PK's U-14 Girls Premier: West Springfield Shockers 2, Peabody Panthers 1 Elite: Medford 6, Saugus Storm 1 Olympians: Melrose Lady Raiders 2, Woburn 0 Europa: Swampscott 2, Everett 0