WE HAVE EXTENDED THE REGISTRATION DATE TO MAY 2ND DUE TO PARTICIPANTS REQUESTS.
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Donnie Collins, The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.April 19, 2023·3 min read
Apr. 19—Area high school soccer players will have a chance to show off on the pitch this summer, thanks to a group of students hoping to get a feel for organizing big sporting events.
A tournament for area prep players ranging from competitive to recreational level, Scranton Soccer Fest will be held May 6, starting at 9 a.m. at the University of Scranton's Fitzpatrick Field. Groups of up-to-10-player teams can register to compete in the 6-on-6 tournament, which will crown champions in five separate divisions: men's and women's competitive, and Men's, women's and coed recreational.
The event is being organized by members of the university's sports event management course led by Dr. Ovidiu Cocieru, and it is designed to provide students hands-on opportunities to put together a community-based sports event, dealing with everything from registration to marketing, to officiation to the organization of the play itself.
Along the way, and even with registration only recently opened, they've already learned some valuable lessons.
"Initially, we thought it would be a good idea to just have competitive, but looking back, I think it's better that we made it more recreational and coed as well, just so we can get everyone in the community involved," said Jack Sullivan, a student in the class who is handling the event's marketing efforts. "The big thing we're trying to push here ... our professor always says it's important to focus on the task at hand, which is building the community and fostering teamwork with all the players and participants."
Registration closes April 29, but until then, there will be an all-out push to find any area soccer player interested in checking out the event.
They've visited high schools to pitch the event to potential participants and setting up tables to attract attention during events at the always-bustling soccer fields at the Riverfront Sports Complex, as well. They've also been reaching out to schools within a 30-mile radius of Scranton gauging interest and looking for teams.
As days have passed, they've learned that social media platforms have been the preferred source of interest, with their website and direct messages beginning to pile up registrations.
"It started off really slow at first," Sullivan said. "In the beginning, we didn't realize how urgent it was to market it early. It was like, 'It's the winter. We've got time.' But then the last two weeks, it was, 'It's actually working.' We were marketing the event and people were actually responding to it, and it's going great so far."
The event costs $150 per team, and each team will be guaranteed to play in at least four games. Each participant will be given a T-shirt, and the tournament is for high school students only.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the event can do so on the Scranton Soccer Fest website.
"Our goal is to grow the community and bring people together for a fun day," Sullivan said.
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