SIKESTON -- Around 120 teams will begin to fill the Sikeston area come Friday evening as the 14th Annual Montgomery Bank Sikeston Bootheel Soccer Classic makes its way back onto the calendar. The tournament, which runs from Friday evening until Sunday evening, will see over 400 games played in various locations throughout the city.
"We've got fields spread out all over town," said tournament director Tim Rodgers. "Of course the main load of games will be played at the north end of the Sikeston Complex at the soccer fields, but we're spread out to several churches, schools, and we even have fields over at the Jaycee football field. But, the majority happens at the soccer fields out there at the complex."
"Our main sponsor is Montgomery Bank," he said. "They (Montgomery Bank) do a lot for us. It takes a huge effort to put this thing on."
Each of the 120 teams involved has from eight to 18 players on the roster. Rodgers said that the numbers indicate that a large amount of people will once again fill the city limits and will bring solid revenue to the area. He said that Amy King, the league director, and the rest of his crew have been up until 3 a.m. most nights just getting the schedule ironed out and ready for play.
"It's a big deal," Rodgers said. "It takes a lot of work. We encourage everybody to come out. We do our own concessions and we're pretty famous for our rib eye sandwiches."
Rodgers went on to say that all of the Sikeston hotels are booked for the weekend and a lot of teams have had to relocate to the Cape Girardeau area just to have somewhere to stay.
The tournament is broken up in many different formats. Each age bracket is divided up into flights and Rodgers said that depending on the amount of teams, the age brackets either go by points via a round robin format or they break into semifinal and championship games. He said that the differing amount of teams is what makes the tournament schedule so difficult to complete.
As far as the local teams are concerned, Rodgers said that folks wanting to take in a Sikeston game will have no problem doing so at any point during the day.
"A Sikeston team plays every hour somewhere in town," he said. "We've got 14 or more teams in the tourney from Sikeston."
The teams, ranging from Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri, have competitors from age six through 18. There are even five kindergarten teams involved in tournament action.
"We'd like to invite the town to come check it out and come see how big our soccer program is growing in town," said Rodgers. "If they really want to see some good competitive soccer, then come out. Of all the soccer teams in the area, ours is the biggest. There's over 400 games played, and the only other thing bigger as far as draw is the rodeo. We ought to be pretty proud to have such a good tournament in our town."