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Comstock Shootout begins this weekend

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

It’s a crap shoot when planning any outdoor activity during the spring in Northern Nevada.

But that hasn’t stopped the Comstock Shootout from becoming Northern Nevada’s largest soccer tournament. The 11th annual Comstock Shootout will take place the weekends of April 17 and 18 and April 24 and 25.

Boys teams will compete this weekend with girls clubs to play on April 24 and 25 at Edmonds Park and Mills Park. Top teams from Idaho, California, Oregon and California will come to compete.

Games are scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to late in the afternoon on each day of the tournament. The tournament will feature a goalie wars competitions as well. In addition, Edmonds Park will have a interactive tent, food court and rock climbing wall.

This year’s tournament has a survival theme, with tournament participants receiving t-shirts with a survival logo.

Tournament co-director Fred Schmidt founded the event in an effort to provide a higher-caliber of competition for local players.

The tournament has grown from 32 teams in its first year to 180 teams this year. The number of teams competing in this year’s boys tournament has dropped by 10 to 84 this year.

Schmidt said he’s guessing that last year’s miserable weather had something to do with the decrease in teams at this year’s event. Schmidt said due to the unpredictable nature of Northern Nevada weather in the spring, there’s no sense in trying to change the dates of the tournament.

He noted that three years ago, there was snow during the girls event. “We take our chances as a result with the weather,” said Schmidt, who’s also the Douglas High girls soccer coach. “We go with what we got. We can’t control nature.”

Schmidt also noted that the tournament is good preparation for the Nevada State Cup, which will be held the second week of May.

The girls tournament is still as big as ever. Ninety-six girls teams will compete in this year’s event and Schmidt said at least two dozen girls teams had to be turned away.

Of the 84 boys teams, about two-thirds are from out of state, “which makes for a very exciting, competitive tournament,” Schmidt said.

Teams from 10 and under through 19 and under divisions will compete in the tournament. Some age groups will have as many as three divisions, Schmidt said.

He said the 19 and under boys division should be interesting. “There’s some pretty good competitive teams,” he said. “It should be pretty exciting. But the little squirts at 9 are pretty exciting to watch, too.”

Schmidt said Carson should have a competitive 18 and under team and that Carson boys soccer coach Jim Nealis has two 16 and under teams in the tournament. Other top 19 and under boys teams should come from San Jose, Boise, Idaho, and Diablo Valley in the Bay Area.

Las Vegas will also be sending some teams to the tournament. The state’s top boys club, Las Vegas Premiere, will have 12 and under and 10 and under teams in the event. The state’s top girls club, the Las Vegas Tavagators, will send a 14 and under team.

Schmidt said the Capital Soccer Club and the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department provide a great deal of help in putting the tournament on. The tournament is a major revenue source for the Capital Soccer Club, which provides scholarships for high school students.

The Capitol Soccer Club has also provided $10,000 to Western Nevada Community College for its fledgling athletic program. WNCC plans to begin women’s soccer in the fall, 2005.

Many volunteers are also needed to help with the tournament, including 250 officials who are needed to work the games.

The tournament is also a major economic boost for the Carson area. Schmidt said Carson area hotels are booked solid for the tournament and that restaurants, particularly fast food restaurants, receive a big boost from the event.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at cwhisnand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214.