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Tournaments Jul 27, 2012

Prince William Soccer (Va.) counting down to 17th Toys For Tots tourney

By Charles Boehm

The Mid-Atlantic region is immersed in the dog days of summer, but late-summer tournament season is fast approaching and with just one day until the registration deadline for their Toys For Tots Tournament, Prince William Soccer, Inc. is hard at work making sure that one of their signature annual events goes off without a hitch in late August and early September.

Toys For Tots, named after the highly-respected Marine Corps toy donation program it supports, takes place at several fields in Prince William County, Va. over two weekends, with Under-9 through U-12 age groups competing on August 25-26 and U-13 through U-19 play taking place September 1-2. The tournament is proud to revolve around a worthy cause, yet PWSI also focuses on drawing a strong lineup of participating teams to keep the on-field action attractive as well.

“So far everything seems to be going well. We’re on track for the numbers that we had last year,” PWSI Operations and Communications Manager Rob Cheshire told The Soccer Wire this week. “We’ve got a couple of state champion teams that have signed up, so we’re expecting a good turnout.”

Organizers request that each participating player bring at least one new child’s toy to donate to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s collection drive, which seeks to ensure that even the nation’s neediest children experience the joy of Christmas. That aspect of “T4T” has resulted in many thousands of toys being collected over the tournament’s 16 years of existence.

This year’s edition of Toys For Tots may also mark the debut of PWSI’s new synthetic-turf field at Howison Park, a long-awaited project which will be that facility’s third such field. Though the construction schedule is looking tight – Cheshire says “it’s coming right down to the wire” – he and his colleagues remain hopeful that the new pitch can be ready for the first weekend of T4T.

Effectively the club’s home base, Howison’s turf fields are lined to allow three full-field or six small-sided games to take place at once, though parking and traffic concerns may prompt the host club to schedule a bit more conservatively.

Other Toys For Tots games will take place nearby at Hellwig Park and Long Park, and the older age groups will also utilize the facilities at Valley View, Chinn and Tyrell parks.

“So all games should be on either Bermuda grass fields or artificial turf,” noted Cheshire proudly.

PWSI, who will also stage the annual Icebreaker and Summer Sevens tournaments, hope to draw a few more last-minute registrants from across the region. Cheshire readily lists the features that make the event attractive for those who take part.

“We try and gear the tournament as a warm-up tournament for the fall season,” he said. “It’s great facilities, and we’re close to Washington, D.C., but we’re not so close that traffic is going to be a tremendous nightmare getting to the fields.

“But we’re close enough – it’s a great spot to be in. We’re looking forward to having another good group of clubs and teams out this year to make it another competitive year of tournaments.”

[ +Learn more about Toys For Tots, and find registration info, at its official website ]

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