First weekend of PWSI Toys for Tots event unfolds successfully
By Roger Gonzalez
The 2012 PWSI Toys for Tots tournament has reached the end of its first weekend, with champions determined in the Under-9 through U-12 age groups.
Despite rainfall on both days, it has been quite the success, from a competition standpoint and even more so from donations to the event’s namesake charity.
Fans have enjoyed many exciting games, a competitive atmosphere — and at Howison Park, a brand-new Shaw Sportexe artificial-turf field which was completed mere days before the tournament kicked off on Saturday morning.
“The tournament has gone great,” said Mike Yeatts, general manager at tourney hosts Prince William Soccer, Inc. “We have been fortunate to have synthetic-turf fields for the entire event.”
[ +Click here to check out Soccer Wire’s full 2012 Toys for Tots coverage central ]
The new surface at the Coles, Va. facility, for now simply known as Field No. 3, is the most striking aspect of a range of improvements PWSI is making to its de facto home base, which sits a stone’s throw from the club’s office and headquarters. Other areas of the ongoing construction project include new bathrooms and upgraded infrastructure.
As you might expect, the name of the tournament represents the national Toys for Tots foundation, where gifts are collected to donate to less fortunate children. This year, like in years past, scores upon scores of presents were turned in.
“It’s been going fantastic,” Yeatts said. “Every year we get hundreds, if not thousands of toys. There are some unbelievable toys, some are really generous with their donations, and it makes us feel good that we have a small part in helping kids [enjoy] Christmas.”
Parents, and even many moms and dads, have enjoyed the valuable lesson of learning to give that the tournament stresses.
“It seems like it’s a well-run tournament, nice facilities, well-run facilities. Turnout has been great,” said Frank White, a father who came to see his son play. “It’s a great tune-up for the season…It’s a very positive thing for the community.
“The kids definitely learn something by bringing [toys to donate] and especially in a tournament atmosphere where they can compete with other kids and understand there are kids that are less fortunate in some cases, and they can give back to the community.”
Yeatts is happy that the tournament has again met its goal.
“That is really, at the end of the day, what it’s all about, for the kids to have a good time,” he said. “Hopefully we put on a good event: Great fields, some great competition, and to tie all that in with a great cause with the Toys for Tots foundation.”
Looking ahead to next week, where the U-13 to U-19 divisions will take the fields, Yeatts hopes it goes just as well.
“It’s a great start,” he said. “We are hoping that Hurricane or Tropical Storm Issac keeps heading west and doesn’t take a right turn. We definitely have one eye on the weather.”
To view Toys for Tots standings and results, click here, and be sure to join Soccer Wire next week for more!