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Bainbridge teams claim seven medals in second annual Island Cup
Kick it. Bend it. Whip it in. Goal! It’s all part of Bainbridge’s Island Cup.
Over the weekend of Aug. 25-26, the island hosted youth soccer players from across the state in the second annual Island Cup. For a soccer event still in its infancy, it proved a popular draw to the island. And showcased how Bainbridge Island can kick it.
“It was such a great event,” said Rick Golden, president of the Bainbridge Island Football Club. “It was amazing, very smooth.”
In the end, 32 teams kicked their way into finalist titles.
Bainbridge Island’s home teams nabbed three gold medals, and four silver medals as finalists in the tournament.
The wins are a prideful pat on the island’s back. Golden said that island football is intensely community-based, so the medals mean a lot.
Golden also said that the club doesn’t own any soccer fields itself and relies heavily on community support, specifically park and school district support — which they generously offer up.
“We have a great community, and a soccer club that is community-based,” he said
The weekend event drew an astounding number of players and their families to the island. A total of 86 teams competed on nearly every soccer field the island has to offer. More than 1,500 soccer players participated in the Island Cup.
Golden estimated that more than 5,000 people attended the event altogether.
The Cup required approximately 150 volunteers alone to organize.
In only two years, the Island Cup has become a considerable success. If the inaugural 2011 cup wasn’t popular enough, this year’s event sold out all of its brackets. Golden said they even had to turn away around 20 teams.
The Bainbridge Island Football Club will celebrate its 30-year anniversary next year. Golden, who graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1982, took part in the first three years of BIFC’s existence.
The club registers
1,400 players in their programs each year across select and recreational teams making them the largest sports organization on the island.
In fact, according to Golden, every player on Bainbridge High School’s 2012 state championship soccer team went through their soccer programs.
With the Island Cup, the club gives back a bit to the island that supports the organization, from putting on a good match, to supporting local businesses. It’s good for the visitors, and the island, Golden said.
“It’s 1,500 kids and they are having a great time with their families,” he said. “They come to the island and go to Fay Bainbridge Park, or go to a restaurant while they’re here.”