Kids get a kick out of world cup

1,350 young soccer players (and their parents and coaches) converged on Parksville over the weekend for the second annual Mini World Cup.

Happy young soccer players were popping up on pitches throughout Parksville on the weekend as part of the Mini Word Cup.

In case you missed them, 1,350 young soccer players (and their parents and coaches) converged on Parksville over the weekend for the second annual Mini World Cup.

“It’s like I’m hung over, that’s a big event, man,” a bushed Warren Cudney said Monday morning when The NEWS checked in.

Ninety-six teams from as far away as the Yukon and U.S. made the trip for the tournament of U8-U11 boys and girls.

Each team played four games, which works out to 384 matches.

One of the event organizers and the vice president of Oceanside Youth Soccer Society, Cudney estimates there were 125-plus coaches involved. Oceanside had over 150 players on about a dozen teams.

The biggest single soccer tournament ever played in the area, the scope of the Mini World Cup was struck home by the number of little footballers and by the scheduling involved.

“Absolutely,” said Cudney, who has also been a volunteer coach for about eight years.

To accommodate the 96 teams and all those games, organizers had six fields in play at Parksville Community Park, eight fields at Springwood Middle School and four at Ballenas Secondary.

“Soccer is alive and well in Oceanside,” said Cudney, which was evident by the young players in their keepsake Mini World Cup T-shirts that where all over town, and by the spirited opening ceremonies and parade of countries at noon Saturday, when the players and their coaches filed out onto the big field with the hill at Parksville Community Park with the sounds of supporters. Including players, coaches, parents and supporters, an estimated 2,000 people took part of the opening ceremonies.

Teams were divided into four continents and the total points this year said Cudney gave the slight edge and the win to ‘The America’s’.

The first games got underway Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and the last game ended around 6:30 Sunday evening.

“The great spirt of fun and competition was absolutely fantastic, and the OYSS soccer club should be extremely proud of the incredible number of hours of volunteer work that made this a first rate event,” Cudney recapped, confirming, “to date this is the largest turn out and tournament for the Mini World Cup of in the local events history, it definitely helped the community — I’m sure all the restaurants and hotels were pretty impressed.”

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