By Jean DePlacido
---- — PEABODY — Columbus Day weekend is a great time to head north for leaf peeping, but an even better time to take part in the annual Peabody Columbus Day Youth Soccer Tournament.
There were 72 teams in the Under-10, U-12 and U-14 age groups competing at the nine Kennedy School Fields in the three-day invitational. Playoffs were held yesterday morning for youngsters in the two older age groups.
“It’s a great tournament,” said Dennis Kadourov of Swampscott, whose daughter Nicole played defense for the U-10 Swampscott Dynamite. “The kids are having fun and enjoying themselves.”
The U-10 boys and girls played a total of four games (with no playoffs). Host Peabody was represented with 14 teams while Beverly and Woburn brought several teams from all age groups. Salem, Danvers, Swampscott, Reading, Wilmington, Saugus, Lynn, Everett, Fall River and Springfield were all represented.
“I like being able to play against teams from other cities, especially local teams,” said U-12 Peabody Lightning player Isabella Fabbo, whose father Moe coached her team. “We come every year and it’s always a lot of fun. I play goalie, defense and midfield, but I really like defense the best.”
“We have 18 teams playing at once here,” added Ken Wolff, the U-10 coordinator. “We have a lot of the same teams coming back year after year because they like the idea of having everything all in one place.”
Orange was the most prevalent color because it was worn by teams from Woburn, Beverly and Springfield. The best best uniforms hands down were the florescent orange T-shirts made up just for the tournament by Screen Print Express for the Springfield entries. A scary pumpkin head, skull and the word ‘Transylvania’ was the design on the front, with a spider web on the back and black webbed socks completing the ensemble.
“They’re hard to miss with those uniforms,” said U-12 coordinator Scott Leslie. “Springfield comes with a few teams every year, and one of the coaches had those shirts made up. Springfield parents also have bright orange sweatshirts.
“Fall River is a new entry this year with a couple of U-10 teams. They wanted to stay at Coco Keys in Danvers for the water park.”
The tournament takes pride in keeping things running on time, and realizes it couldn’t be done without many volunteers helping out. There were 20 boys and girls from Peabody High performing community service over the weekend, including several from the varsity soccer teams who played in this very tournament when they were younger.
“I do whatever they need me to,” said senior Ryan Wolff, a member of the Tanner boys’ soccer team. “I’ve been restocking the concessions, emptying barrels and other jobs.”
Randy Silva, a member of the Peabody Youth Soccer board of directors, kept things moving at the grill where burgers, hot dogs and sausages with peppers and onions were in demand.
“Everything ran smoothly,” said Leslie. “We couldn’t ask for better weather, and we had a good mix of teams. We had orange, green and white T-shirts made up thinking orange would be the big seller, but it’s been the white. Some teams wore pink socks, and next year we plan to have pink shirts with the (awareness of) breast cancer logo.”
On Sunday morning, there was a medical emergency when a parent had a seizure. EMT’s and an ambulance were at the field and able to offer immediate assistance; the Peabody Fire Department also responded within minutes.
“One year we had a youngster break his ankle,” said Ken Wolff. “Usually we don’t have anything happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
PEABODY COLUMBUS DAY TOURNAMENT FINALS
U12 Girls Elite: Danvers Valkyries 1, Peabody Lightning 0
U12 Girls Premier: Melrose Raiders 1, Woburn Stars 0
U12 Girls Olympian: Woburn 3, Salem Sprite 0
U12 Boys Elite: Beverly Mariners 3, Woburn 0
U12 Boys Premier: Revere 4, Beverly Bruins 3
U12 Boys Olympian: Saugus Spartans beat Lynn United on PKs
U14 Girls Elite: Woburn 2, Beverly Panthers 0
U14 Girls Premier: Woburn 2, Beverly Black Cats 1
U14 Girls Olympian: Springfield AFK Pirates beat Lynn Hooligans on PKs