Comstock Shootout in soccer is set |

Comstock Shootout in soccer is set

Charles Whisnand column

Every year, organizers of the Comstock Shootout think the tournament has reached its limit. But each year, the event just becomes even bigger.

Top youth soccer players from across the West Coast will participate in the tournament, which will be held over the next two weekends. The boys tournament will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and run through Sunday at Edmonds Sports Complex and Mills Park.

On April 27 and 28, the girls tournament will be held. Teams from California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Nevada will compete in the event.

Ninety-eight teams will compete in the boys and girls tournaments for a total of 196 clubs, up from 180 last year.

When the tournament began in 1994, there were 40 to 50 teams.

“Each year we think we’ve maxed out and then we find a way to add additional teams,” tournament co-director Phil Williamson said.

Williamson directs the girls tournament while Douglas High girls soccer coach Fred Schmidt directs the boys event.

Teams will compete in under 10 to under 19 divisions. “We have a variety of skill levels,” Williamson said.

“We’ve got some very high caliber teams that come to the tournament. We accept teams of all abilities.”

Some age groups will have as many as three divisions as teams are grouped by their skill level. All teams are guaranteed at least three games. “We try to have good, competitive games,” Williamson said.

One reason why the tournament was started was to raise the level of play in Northern Nevada and area teams have traditionally done well in the event.

There will be 2,500 players, parents and spectators in the area on both weekends. “I think it brings a lot of money into town,” Williamson said.

Williamson said those from restaurants have told him that “this is the biggest weekend that they have all year.” Restaurants even have to scramble to make sure they have enough food to meet the demand.

There is also a need for officials for the event. “We can always use additional referees,” Williamson said.

Anyone interested in officiating can call Bill Collins, 782-1055 or simply show up at Edmonds or Mills Park.

Another reason why the tournament is such a success is the work of the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department and the Carson City Youth Sports Association, who help maintain the fields, Williamson said.

“We’ve got the best facilities around, bar none,” Williamson said. “They’re just great. That’s why we have such a good spot for a large soccer tournament.”

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.