Sports

Island Cup expected to draw thousands to Bainbridge this weekend

Islanders will get a chance to see the future of island soccer this weekend at Battle Point Park.

And they won’t be alone.

The Bainbridge Island Football Club is hosting its second annual Soccer Cup from Friday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug. 26 at venues across the island.

Much of the action will take place at Battle Point Park, and organizers are expecting an influx of more than 4,000 players, coaches, families and onlookers to attend.

Ian McCallum, director of coaching at Bainbridge Island FC, said the organization has been frantically preparing for the tournament. Nearly 90 teams from Washington and Canada will compete in this year’s Island Cup.

The attendance will be well above last year’s mark of 3,500, and may also jump past this year’s estimate of 4,000.

“We’re thinking it’s going to be really close to 5,000,” McCallum said.

McCallum said he’s been told by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association that the Island Cup will be the island’s biggest event of the year. Club officials said hotels on Bainbridge and throughout Kitsap County are sold out.

About 1,500 athletes are expected, and teams range in age from U9 to U14 players.

This year’s number of teams is also an increase from last year, when about 70 competed.

Another part is looking up, too, McCallum said: “The quality of teams that we have coming this year.”

“We’ve increased our numbers, but also the quality of teams coming are much stronger,” he said.

McCallum said anyone interested in seeing great soccer play should stop by Battle Point Park this weekend.

Other venues will also be used, at Sands Avenue, Woodward and Sakai schools.

The championship games will be Sunday afternoon.

Bainbridge Island FC is still looking for assistance with the tournament. Islanders who want to volunteer can visit www.bifc.net for information.

The tournament is sponsored by Peak Systems, Harrison Medical Center, Nike, Casa Rojas, Treehouse Café and Olympic Photo Group.

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