The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 11, 2014

Darrell Moore Classic goes on despite rain

By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer

BECKLEY — Think a little rain is going to keep soccer away? Guess again.

The 14th annual Little General Stores Darrell Moore Classic was underway Saturday morning, with 55 teams from Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia battling on the pitch for supremacy.

Despite the at times torrential downpours of rain, the opening round went off without a hitch.

“We’ve been playing our first, round robin games and battling the rain a little bit,” YMCA of Southern West Virginia sports and recreation director Daniel Vass said. “But we haven’t had any stoppages. No delays. We’ve been able to play through.”

The fields at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex were able to withstand the rain, despite hosting close to 40 matches Saturday.

“The fields have held up great,” Vass added. “They still look really good. They’re in really great condition. So we’re just hoping we can finish out strong the rest of the day and have good weather on Sunday.”

Judging from the reaction to those on the fields Saturday, the rain was little factor in the enjoyment of the game they love.

“It hasn’t phased them at all,” Vass said with a smile. “You wouldn’t know anything different is going on. The parents are all covered up and hidden from the rain, but the kids haven’t slowed down one bit.”

“It’s fun,” WV Rapids midfielder Levi Pack, a junior at Shady Spring High School, said. “I like to slide tackle. You can slide tackle a lot further (in the rain). You can get cold, but it’s fun.”

It wasn’t just the boys who enjoyed getting a little muddy.

“I love it!” East River’s Kyndall Baker, a seventh grade student at PikeView Middle School added. “When you’re hot in the game, it helps you even your energy out.”

Playing in less than ideal field conditions, while fun, can provide its own seat of challenges and safety concerns. Vass, and assistant director Jason Logan feel the YMCA is prepared for any situation and are always ready to take the player’s well-being to heart.

“We have Jan-Care out here, we have EMTs on standby, and as soon as we see the possibility of an injury, we’re going to do what’s best for the kid,” Vass said. “We’re going to take their interests above anything else that’s going on out there. At the first sign of the injury, we’re going to treat it as serious until proven otherwise.”

Logan, a former player and coach, feels that learning proper technique in wet conditions goes a long way towards keeping a player safe, and allowing the game to be played with integrity.

“I would always explain to my kids to expect everything to be wet,” he said. “The ball moves faster and everybody has to take precautions to stop in a timely manner. If you’re blazing down the field and not stopping short, you’re going to carry yourself into somebody else. Always be careful of your footing and how fast you’re going to be moving.”

That being said, with over 1,000 kids playing the beautiful game in Soccer Town, W. Va. Saturday, injuries were minimal.

“We’ve had a few small injuries, but nothing major,” Vass said. “We’ve had some kids taken off for precautionary reasons, but we haven’t seen any major issues.”

The tournament will wrap-up today, with games starting at 8 a.m. and the championship matches happening later in the evening.

“Hopefully the sun will come out,” Logan said. “The weather is supposed to warm up, close to 80 degrees. We’ll finish up the rest of our brackets and get in to some semifinals and final games. Should be some good quality games. We look to have some good games and wrap this thing up a little bit.”

— E-mail: jrollins@register-herald.com and follow on twitter at @JDanielRollins.